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added weight and constant stress. \(Texas now leads the nation in trucking accidents: 2,585 in 1984 with 205 deaths and in the first six months of 1986, five major accidents occurred along the rail routes which will carry the waste from Houston to the PanhanSteve Frishman of the governor’s office said that Emergency Response Preparedness will cost the state between $4 million and $5 million and, because the DOE refuses to make contract haulers follow designated routes, refuses to color code the casks as is now required for hazardous materials such as hydrogen cyanide \(so that emergency responders will know what they are up in advance of shipments, the state “won’t even know where the [waste] is.” Emergency response will be a problem no matter where an accident may occur. In an urban area there will be more ER personnel and well-equipped hospitals, but there will be more victims and greater numbers evacuated; in rural areas hospitals are few and far between with even fewer doctors, and those areas will, in any case, not have facilities for radiation victims nor the money to train and keep emergency response teams. The DOE currently has no plans to guarantee to any state that it plans to use as a corrider or a dump site that the federal government will provide the money for emergency response. The DOE, like the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, refuses to address the emergency response issue since it believes the “worst case accident” simply will not occur. It took two major accidents, Three-Mile-Island and Chernobyl, before the NRC even conceded such an accident can occur. Some who testified in Houston believed restrictive state laws such as a $1,000 permit fee, for each shipment, would cause the DOE to rethink its Texas commitment. Most, however, agreed with Hightower, who said: “The DOE bureaucrats don’t respond to logic or reason .. . human health or environmental concerns. “It will take the support of the legislature, the governor, the Texas Congressional delegation, Houston, Hereford and all the cities and towns in between, to keep the nuclear dump out of Texas and to prevent the nuclear waste from being transported through our state to some other dump site.” Amarillo DELBERT DEVIN’S eyes crinkle in his ruddy face. The compact, energetic 66-year-old moves about jovially within the group of media people lingering after his Nuclear Waste Task Force press conference in Amarillo. His weathered hands pat a back or reach out in welcome. “Until I got involved in this nuclear waste issue I was a happy farmer,” he says. “I don’t know if there are many happy farmers today, but I was one for many years. Now,” he chuckles, “DOE, the Department of Energy,. says I’m an activist.” Devin and his co-volunteers in the task force have just announced that a congressional committee, meeting October 10 in Washington, has voted to freeze all funding of nuclear waste repository work by the Department of Energy for 1987. The task force sees the cut of $251 million as a victory, the result of their efforts in Washington. They are out to stop the burial of high level radioactive waste in the Texas Panhandle, where two huge under Pauline Durrett Robertson is a native of Amarillo, an editor and a writer of regional history and poetry. Her books include Panhandle Pilgrimage, Cowman’s Country, Eve’s Version, and Borrowed Moccasins. ground aquifers underlie some of the most productive farmland in the nation. The committee’s decision means there will be no exploratory drilling on the potential site for at least a year. “We’ve got to stop the sucker,” Devin says about the proposed waste repository. “I’m ready to pull out all the stops. I’ve been Mr. Nice Guy all along with DOE. I’m not going to be Mr. Nice Guy in the future. If I have to rant and rave, I’ll rant and rave. It’s not my way at all; I’d rather be very quiet. In fact, it’s not my cup of tea. I’d never been to a precinct convention before this thing started.” But in the five years since Delbert Devin began to divide his attention between his Tulia farm and the proposed dump he has become one of the state’s leading activists \(as the DOE would has become, by necessity, a master of the politics which surround the issue,” says Steve Frishman, the director of the governor’s Nuclear Waste Programs Office. “The Department of Energy and the Reagan administration have made it a political issue, and Delbert is beating them at their own game.” Devin and three of his neighbors formed STAND, Serious Texans Against Nuclear Dumping, in November of 1981. He has learned how complex nuclear issues can become central to the life of ordinary Americans, and he has learned a few things about the way the government sometimes does business. In the beginning, the STAND organizers were surprised to find that DOE was surreptitiously working in their area on the pretext of drilling test holes “to see what’s down there.” “In contacting this widow lady and her unmarried daughter,” Devin recalls, “they never once mentioned nuclear waste. It was never mentioned absolutely never. They got an elderly couple in their late 70s with the same pitch. Nothing about the Department of Energy. Nothing about high level nuclear waste was ever mentioned. They were going to pay for the water used in the drilling process, and then they were going to leave them a nice well. That was the entire pitch. “Frankly, I was shocked at the unprincipled manner in which ourgovernment was attempting to solve a national problem. I have always been very patriotic. Served in WWII three years as a navigator in the Army Air Force, bombing in the Pacific area on a B-24. Always believed that America was well, I was shocked at our government’s outrageously unfair manner. It’s not supposed to treat people that way. Others felt as I did. “We started moving ahead of the [DOE] land man. When the owners found out what it was all about, they were terrified. Now we did get those leases rescinded. That’s the only time we got anything out of the Department of Energy, but we did get that.” Devin’s roots go back to the early 1900s when his parents settled on the land he now farms. He was born there, and his two sons have been raised there. All graduates of Texas Tech University, Delbert, his wife Betty, and sons Mac THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13 The Education of Delbert Devin By Pauline Durrett Robertson