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PEOPLE Make a world of difference ! We’re proud of our employees and their contributions to your success and ours. Call us for quality printing, binding, mailing and data processing services. Get to know the people at Futura. FUTUM COMMUNICATIONS, INC P.O. Box 17427 Austin, TX 78760.7427 389-1500 Mission officials have said repeatedly that they do not intend to install the devices at the plant.’Nor do they intend to convert the plant to cleaner burning natural gas. Retrofitting the plant to burn gas instead of coal would be costly and a new pipeline would have to be built. The vast majority of Mexico’s petroleum industry is located in the south and few pipelines run to the northern part of the country. The state of Coahuila is believed to have substantial natural gas reserves, but they are not developed. Tom Reed, managing director of the Carbon II project for Mission Energy, says converting the plants to gas wouldn’t make sense. “The power plants were developed in Piedras Negras because of the coal fields. If we were to convert to natural gas, it would appear to me that we would have employment problems in Mexico.” Reed estimates that Micare employs some 4,000 workers in its mining operations: Many of those workers would be put out of work if the plant switched to gas. “Secondly,” Reed continued, “I am not aware of any surplus gas that is available in those quantities for that plant.” Michelle Foss, an energy economist at the University of Houston’s Center for Public Policy who has been studying the demand for natural gas in Mexico, says that the cost advantages of coal over natural gas will probably prevent the conversion of the plant. ANDERSON & COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES TWO .JEFFERSON SQUARE AUSTIN, TEXAS 78731 512 453-1533 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip “If you look at long-term coal and gas prices in the U.S., there is a consistent, margin of difference, with coal being less expensive than gas on a BTU basis,” she said. Clouding NAFTA’s future? As the Clinton Administration begins its hard sell of NAFTA, Carbon II has captured the attention of several members of Congress, including Representatives Cardiss Collins, an Illinois Democrat and the chair of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Competitiveness, and John Dingell, Michigan Democrat, chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and an opponent of NAFTA. Both have written to EPA chief Browner, asking questions about the project. Three House subcommitees are also looking into the issue. Congressional scrutiny of the project also might have discouraged a potential funding source for Carbon II. Until last month, the International Finance Corporation, a private arm of the World Bank, was part of the financial consortium backing the project. The United States provides 25 percent of the IFC’ s capital and controls 25 percent of the votes on IFC projects. With the Clinton Administration facing a tough battle with Congressional Democrats over NAFTA, the IFC wouldn’t have won any friends on Capitol Hill if it had provided financing for the project. As one official close to the fray said, “It doesn’t do us a lot of good to be in this project right now.” In addition to the pressure from Congress, Greenpeace and the Environmental Defense Fund lobbied IFC officials for several months. Mark Constantine, a spokesman for the IFC said, “Our position was that substantial envi. ronmental study would need to be undertaken before we could consider financing it.” The controversy over pollution at Piedras Negras has embarrassed SCEcorp. officials who pride themselves on the voluntary reduc tion of emissions at Southern California Edison plants. Warren Christopher was a member of the board of directors of SCEcorp. before he became Secretary of State. Daniel Berman, a San Francisco-based analyst for Greenpeace and other environmental groups, said that while SCE has reduced carbon dioxide emisssions by six million tons in California, Mission plants in Australia, Indonesia and Mexico will increase carbon dioxide emissions by 24 million tons. James S. Pignatelli recently resigned. as president of Mission Energy. Despite the pullout by the IFC, Reed says Mission still hopes to have financing for Carbon II in place by the end of the year, a date that he now says is “optimistic.” Reed acknowledges that Mission’s involvement has become a focal point of the NAFTA debate, but he sees their involvement as positive. “If we are a partner in the plant, we can bring our expertise to help this plant run more efficiently and more cleanly. Without us, that isn’t going to happen. We are not the bad guy.” Reed might be right, but the involvement of Mission portends further involvement of U.S. companies along the U.S.-Mexico border in projects that could negatively affect the environment north of the Rio Grande. And while some environmental groups, such as the National Audubon Society and the Natural Resources Defense Council, are supporting NAFTA, the Sierra Club and Greenpeace continue to oppose NAFTA and the much-ballyhooed side agreements have done little to dampen their criticism. On September 9, the Washington, D.C., office of the Sierra Club criticized the side agreements saying they provide “weak legal tools” for strengthening environmental enforcement. Sierra Club chairman Michael McCloskey says that NAFTA “jeopardizes our environment.” The side agreements have done little to persuade Kelly. “They don’t provide any mechanism to address problems like Carbon II,” she said. “The agreements say that three years down the road, there might be some recommendations. Why don’t we have those recommendations now?” Kelly believes the negotiations over NAFTA present an opportunity to address the problems created by projects like Carbon II. But she points to other problems along the Texas border that remain unresolved. From Brownsville, where illegal dumping of toxic materials continues and where babies continue to be born with neural tube defects, to the polluted skies of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, the Texas-Mexico border has become a testing ground for the environmental strength of NAFTA. And the smokestacks of Carbon II are just the latest test of the agreement. If the treaty is strengthened, it could help address the problems created by projects like Carbon II. If it is not, NAFTA will do little to improve environmental conditions on either side of the Rio Grande. 10 OCTOBER 1, 1993