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CONTENTS November 9, 1984 FEATURES 1 Lines Drawn in the Dirt Geoffrey Rips 5 Poisoned by Pesticides Terri Langford 6 “People” Equals “Power” Dave Denison 8 Trouble in Paradise Steve Long 11 Saving Utilities from Themselves Betty Brink DEPARTMENTS 15 Political Intelligence 16 Dialogue 18 Social Cause Calendar 20 Books and the Culture: Electoral Discrimination James C. Harrington 22 Poems Grady Hillman 23 Afterword: The Monster of Dinosaur Valley Georgia Earnest Klipple Hightower, shown promoting native plants earlier this year. Pho to by Alic ia Da n ie l Pho to by Alan Pog ue ban the use of any chemical, they do restrict periods during which persons may re-enter fields sprayed with certain chemicals. Any attempt to regulate chemical use in Texas is met with swift legislative reaction orchestrated by the chemical lobby, usually in the person of Harry Whitworth or Jon Fisher of the Texas Chemical Council, which claims to represent 90% of the chemical industry in Texas. When a first draft of the pesticide regulations was circulated for comment in August, Jon Fisher quickly rounded up opposition among farm commodity groups and solicited the support of the Texas Farm Bureau. On September 29, Fisher told a conference on pesticide use that “the regulations propose undue stress for farmers.” He did not mention any concern for possible stress on chemical manufacturers but, as a lobbyist for the Texas aerial applicators, Fisher did add that “sections discriminate against aerial versus ground [spraying].” But that, of course, is not all there is to it. Texas is a major center for chemical manufacturing with large production facilities owned by Dow, DuPont, Monsanto, Diamond Shamrock, Union Carbide, and other industry leaders. The chemical industry gravitated to Texas because of low cost petroleum and what the president of E. I. Du Pont de Nemours has termed “local and state policies . . . that have encouraged industrial growth.” The last thing these industries want to see is any sort of regulation of chemicals or their use. The chemical industry has poured large sums of money into statewide and local races in an attempt to shore up its influence. Among the recipients of money from the Free Enterprise Whitworth, in the past year have been new state Rep. Robert Earley of Portland and state Sen. Bill Sarpalius of Hereford. In addition to using FREEPAC as a conduit for contributions, a number of chemical manufacturers contribute money to campaigns through their own politcal action committees or indirectly through law firms that represent company interests. Robert Earley, for example, received campaign contributions from Dow Chemical, Monsanto, AG-AIR PAC \(the aerial and Jon Fisher. Then there are the notorious dove hunts in South Texas and Mexico, through which Whitworth entertains members of the legislature. Rep. Robert Saunders, D-La Grange, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture and Livestock, has been so entertained. Add to this the fact that, while Whitworth and Hightower have met on several occasions to negotiate various issues, Citrus grower and friends at House committee hearing on regulations. Whitworth is said to still harbor a grudge against Hightower for the latter’s role, while head of the Texas Consumer Association, in hearings on the Agent Orange Bill in 1981. Former Ag Commissioner Reagan Brown had considerable chemical company backing in his 1982 primary race against Hightower, as did Hightower’s 1982 Republican opponent, Fred Thornberry, on whose behalf Whitworth worked actively. It is not the issue of pesticide regulation per se that has the chemical industry upset. Rather, it is the fact that the industry perceives the regulations to be emblematic of a trend toward greater regulation of industries that for decades have been virtually free of government supervision. The chemical industry, for instance, is not nearly as wary of the implications of pesticide regulation as it is of recommendations TDA will propose in the near future for the management of hazardous waste disposal. Since legislators would have difficulty THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3