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Mayor Land fears contamination of Willow Creek and environs. Pho to by Lou is Du bose dangers associated with landfills, Jim Hightower, in his campaign for agriculture commissioner, raised the issues of the loss of valuable farm land and the threat to sources of irrigation. Ironically, depressed farm prices were probably a factor in the Maxwell’s decision to convert part of their farm to a landfill. Stiles has introduced a bill in the house that would prevent the location of toxic waste disposal sites in flood prone areas. As Stiles explains H.B. 1909, it would assure that “no permit would be issued in any county where a flood hazard would make it unsafe.” Stiles considers the Envirosafe site a potential hazard to drinking water supplies in Jefferson County. Stiles also questions the fairness of establishing sites in areas where there are few generators of waste. Liberty County, according to Joeris \(using TDWR waste annually, a nominal quantity and within the weekly capacity of the proposed plant. Stiles’ bill was heard in an April 18 meeting of the House State Affairs Committee. It was sent on to the subcommittee for technical changes. Stiles is optimistic about the bill’s passage. He says Gib Lewis backs it and insists the powerful Texas Chemical Council has not shown any interest in lobbying against it. The freshman representative enlisted the support of Senator Carl Parker, who introduced a similar bill, S.B. 990, in the Senate. Parker is considered by many environmentalists to be an unlikely ally, a knock that rankles the Port Arthur senator. Questioned about his role in deleting special floodplain restrictions from environmental legislation at the end of the last legislative session, Parker argued that the amendments that he deleted were a result of demagogery of then South Texas Representative Arnold Gonzalez. Parker described one stricken amendment which would have allowed county commissioners to select alternate sites as “one of the most idiotic provisions ever heard of,” adding that it would have opened the door to graft, cronyism, and corruption. “A lot of people took that article as Gospel” \(TO, Parker complained, “and never looked at the substance of the issue.” Stiles, observing that the senator has proven a lot of his critics wrong, gives Parker full credit for drafting both the house and senate bills. Parker claims that there is no change in his course and that his hand in drafting and sponsoring the legislation is logical and circumstantial. “Right now I’m concerned for two reasons,” Parker said. “One, we’re at the end of four years of Clements appointments. Two, the state of the art is in flux, and the EPA hasn’t finalized their guidelines. And the EPA is in complete disorder in Washington.” Similar legislation has been introduced in Washington with Ganado’s Rep. William Patman serving as co-sponsor. The bill Patman is backing would ban disposal of toxic chemical wastes in landfills, forcing industry to use more costly incineration for disposal. Patman has become involved in a similar siting dispute in his district, where Waste Management, Inc., is considering locating a Class I landfill near Bay City. Patman is also working with organized opposition at Bay City. Fighting Rotarians At Liberty, opponents of a Rollins’ site and the Envirosafe site have formed People Against a Contaminated Environment response to Rollins’ acquisition of 1,000 acres at Dayton in the southwest corner of the county. When Envirosafe moved first into the permit process, it was there that PACE focused its effort. When in 1982 it became obvious that posturing and resolutions by local government were not going to make the companies go away, PACE retained the services of a consultant from Community Services Board of Dallas, who helped the group raise $540,000 in local funds \(a sum that Ralph Yarborough once described the environmentalists of Southeast Texas as “guerrilla fighters,” clustered in small bands on the edges of the Big Thicket fighting the good fight against timber interests. Guerrilla fighters the PACE members are not. The movement is as patrician and Rotarian as the city of Liberty can produce. PACE’s leadership includes members of the most influential families in the south of Liberty County. Does this represent the “greening” of the upper and middle classes? Hardly. PACE members are at best situational environmentalists. A good number of its leaders make annual pilgrimages to Washington to lobby for funding for the Trinity River project, an ecological nightmare. Despite a caveat from the Maxwells that “the less money a company has to spend on lawyers, the more that they will spend on community, and measures to assure that their site is the best and safest possible,” a protracted series of public hearings are a goal of the public interest group. Bill Daniel, the Liberty trial lawyer who is donating his services to PACE, has already won a few minor skirmishes, including retaining Stiles as a party to the air board hearings, then requesting and winning a legislative continuance. The air board hearings will, therefore, resume when the legislature adjourns. Similar procedural delays, along with the raising of substantive questions, will probably be employed when the Department of Water Resources hearings, considered to be far more important than the air board hearings, get underway. Over a year has passed since the Maxwells went public with their plans. During that year both state legislators representing the county, the county judge and commissioners, the mayors of the two largest cities in the county, the mayor and council of Devers, the Chamber of Commerce, and a public interest group of several hundred have become actively involved in the fight to keep Envirosafe out of the county. 12 MAY 6, 1983