ANDERSON & COMPANY1 CO FEE TEA SPICES TWO JEFFERSON SQUARE AUSTIN, TEXAS 78731 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip Ni ,h and Associates 1117 West 5th Street Austin, Texas 78703 I REALTOR’`’ Representing all types of properties in Austin and Central Texas Interesting & unusual property a specialty. 477-3651 East. Dallas Printing Company Full Service Union Printing 211 S. Peak Dallas, Tx 75226 Congressman John Bryant got his MANDATE before the election. Whole Earth Provision Company Nature Discovery Gifts amaze, inform, delight Choose from our business or family gifts of lasting value, for all ages, price ranges and any occasion. Call or stop by and let us make suggestions. k 2410 San Antonio St. 4006 South Lamar Blvd. 8868 Research Blvd. trz,_ Alegtu tlic.. :;r:xxiv a tsLA f aagn.es. .1icsi.w.isiafis ..Qcler6i4or..4014,c.1.:44 4610,e:gawhW said ‘We hear you.’ ” But as violations continued through last summer, Fleming called a meeting on August 7, and the water department officials told Pilgrim and the Mt. Pleasant city manager that non-compliance could not continue and remedies would have to be found. Two weeks later, when the case was in the hands of the executive staff, Pilgrim called a meeting with the water department. Fleming was not able to attend, but, as he explains the meeting from what he learned later, Pilgrim presented a report saying the company had done all that it could and the situation had been corrected. “The water was again capable of supporting fish, and since the agency goals are to protect the environment, in that sense, we had won the case,” Fleming said. “The punitive action would have been the only reason to refer Pilgrim to the attorney general’s office. . . . If the pipe hadn’t broken in the rendering plant, none of this would have happened. Had we the power to assess fines, this would have been a beautiful case to step in [and do so]. And if we referred it to the attorney general, it would have taken six months to two years to clean up.” THE QUESTION still nags. Why didn’t the agency leave the case open so the Water Commission could assess fines? Wouldn’t the plant have complied even faster under that pressure? According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Water Commission could have ordered the plant to halt operation, fining it up to $10,000 a day if it didn’t. Water Commissioner Ralph Roming said that Nemir should have let the case ride and allowed the new agency to handle it to avoid the appearance of favoritism. “Whether or not there was anything done or not, and I’m sure there wasn’t, it just has the appearance that something was,” Roming told the Star-Telegram. “That could have been avoided if it had been left to the enforcement people of the new agency.” Stuart Henry, a lawyer and lobbyist for the Sierra Club, worked closely with the legislature on the agency reorganization and he disagrees with the presumption of innocence. “My suspicion is that the images are quite true. I think it looks very improper on the face, and the truth is how it appears. What do you do if you are Charles Nemir and Pilgrim is one of your board members? Do you enforce the law against him? I don’t think so. . . . One major impetus for the reorganization was [TDWR’s] failure to enforce the law.” Henry describes the old water department’s attitude toward polluters as “lackadaisical,” saying they were “notorious” for ignoring violators. Feathers may still fly. As of this writing, the Water Commission is drafting an enforcement order against the Mt. Pleasant plant for recent violations. And a Water Commission field officer has reported violations by a Pilgrim plant near the East Texas city of Nacogdoches, after improperly treated chicken wastes seeped into ditches ultimately leading to the Sam Rayburn Reservoir. At the same time, the Mt. Pleasant plant has applied for another permit from the Water Commission, to up sewage production by 200,000 gallons a day as Pilgrim Industries continues expansion. Two citizens have requested a public hearing to block the permit. One is Sargent Caldwell, a Mt. Pleasant native who lives downstream from the plant and has tried to close it before. Caldwell, a realtor, says the water in his yard is so polluted, it sometimes bubbles. But in a town with unemployment at 10 percent, many residents are reluctant to make a fuss about such a major employer; Pilgrim has threatened to pull out altogether if he doesn’t find the town to be a hospitable business environment. What Caldwell calls “the Bo Show” has entered a new season with the state’s agencies in Austin; time will tell if the show goes on in Mt. Pleasant. Stay tuned. El 8 FEBRUARY 21, 1986
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