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Since he’s been in Congress, Bryant has received large campaign contributions from utility PACs and Leland represents oildepressed Houston, a district with one of the highest jobless rates in Texas. And Ralph Hall, who carried none of the political baggage of Leland and Bryant, became the man of the hour on clean air. In Tyler, Sue Barham, legislative action chair of the Tyler League of Women Voters who had been following the acid rain problems in East Texas for years, provided Hall with acid rain data that proved indisputable. EPA monitoring stations, set up in Longview in 1984, were showing a steady increase in acid rain precipitation each year; the latest readings for 1986 show a pH factor of 4.6, highly acidic. \(A level of 4.6 is the mean pH of acid fog in Vermont’s Green Mountains where the red spruce are dying and loblolly and shortleaf pine both species found in East Texas are also affected. Researchers at Texas Christian. University in Fort Worth told the Star-Telegram’s Lou Hudson in 1982, “we know, that at a pH of 4, the leaves [of plants] The real significance of the EPA reports, Barham told me, is that not only have the pH factors become more acidic, but the numbers of rains which are acidic have increased, meaning that in East Texas there are fewer normal rainfalls to buffer the effects of the acid rainfalls. The main sources of acid rain come from sulphur and nitrogen oxides from coal-burning plants and refineries. Throughout East Texas, lignite generating plants and mining operations are common. And along the Gulf Coast the oil and chemical industries add not only sulphur dioxides, but other dangerous pollutants, most not regulated at all, to the atmosphere. Information on acid rain, and American Lung Association reports, backed by congressional research claiming that sulfate pollution is a primary factor in over 50,000 premature deaths in this country, helped win Hall’s vote on the first crucial test for the Clean Air Act this session. On December 3, an amendment that would have extended the December 31 deadline for the offending cities to come into compliance for ozone and carbon monoxide pollution for another two years, was soundly defeated by a House vote of 257 to 162. The amendment was offered by John Murtha, DPennsylvania, and strongly supported by Dingell. The amendment would have effectively killed any clean air legislation this session and put the burden on the back of yet another Congress. A substitute amendment passed instead, extending the deadline for only eight months and guaranteeing that this Congress will have to deal with the clean air issue. Waxman, who with Silvio Conte of Massachusetts cosponsored the substitute said, “The vote is a clear message that an overwhelming majority of the members want to pass a strong Clean Air Act.” Ralph Hall voted against Murtha and so did Bryant. But Leland voted for the two-year extension. Other Texas Congressmen who voted for clean air were Ronald Coleman, Martin Frost, Henry B. Gonzales, and Jake Pickle, all. Democrats. The rest of the Texas delegation, Democrats and RepubliCans alike, went with Dingell and Murtha. Hall’s vote at This stage is significant, says Barham, who believes he will support getting a bill out of Dingell’s committee. Hall now is seen as a key vote in getting the bill to the floor, this session. “He was so convinced of the need for a clean air bill,” Barham said, “that he favored a three-month extension, instead of the eight-month [extension] that passed.” Hall’s constituents include a large number of fisherrnqn o Barham pointed out, and the fear of dead and dying lakes from acid rain is real. “In East Texas people take their fishing Seriously,” she said. The timber industry takes live trees seriously, too. The vote to save clean air legislation for this session is a “great testimony to grassroots lobbying and organizing,” the Sierra Club’s Burnam said. “It also proves what a little good money targeted right con do.” But he warned that the fight to reauthorize the act and pass additional legislation to tighten controls on acid-rain-producing industries has only passed one test. “We can’t let up. People all across this state need to write letters and call their congressmen. A lot of serious citizen outrage, is needed.” And in Fort Worth, the home of the powerful speaker of the House, the.. StarTelegram’s editorial page editor Tommy Denton reminded the Speaker of his persuasive powers, adding that Jim Wright “ought to pay. Mr. Dingell a little visit, sort of clear the air, so to speak. Tomorrow should be soon enough.” The speaker needs to extend that visit to John Bryant and Mickey Leland. Bryant is part way there, but the bill still has to get out of committee and one good vote by Bryant is not nearly good enough. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15