pique: “We know there will be visibility impacts on Big Bend National Park; we just haven’t been able to determine how often and how much.” According to Flores, the wind at the park blows from the southeast from April to September, meaning that in summer, the park could have its worst visibility. Now in the process of installing new monitoring equipment at the park, as well as developing a new air modeling program, Flores wants to accommodate Mexican officials’ desire for more definite answers about the plants’ impact. In the meantime, he and officials from the EPA are hoping that a newly developed pollution control technology could be used on the . plants. Flores said the new technology, which goes by the name “Advocate,” costs less than scrubbers, but still removes a high proportion of sulfur dioxide from smokestacks. Meanwhile, the Comision Federal de electric monopoly, still has plans to sell Carbon II. The plant was put up for bid last year, and when the Mexican government opened the door to privatization of the electric power industry, Mission Energy, a subsidiary of Southern California Edison teamed up with GAN, a Mexican company owned by the Ancira and Autrey families of northern Mexico, to offer $1.8 billion for the project. However, public pressure on SCE forced Mission to withdraw from the project. Mission President James Pignatelli resigned, and project workers were reassigned. One Mission official, who asked not to be named, told the Observer that, despite past problems, Mission may bid on Carbon II again. “Sure, there’s no question about it. We’re probably the best qualified to [run the plant] because of all the work we’ve done on it.” According to Mission, the CFE will wait until after the Mexican presidential election in August to again put the plant up for bid. CFE is also considering selling the plant to a consortium of banks and then leasing the plant back from them. While Mexican bureaucrats decide on a selling price, a few Big Bend residents are encouraging ranchers and others to actively oppose the power plants. Lovika 1 De Konick, of Big Bend Shuttle Service in Terlingua, believes park users and neighbors should consider the prospect of acid rain. “No studies have been done on acid rain in desert environments,” she warned. De Konick, who says local raft outfitters now must be concerned about air quality as well as water quality, sees the ranchers as an important group to mobilize. “Until there is a study done on acid rain and the ranchers realize this is detrimental to them, nothing will happen, because they have the money and the clout to make things happen,” she said. It could be several years before any action is taken to reduce the volume of pollutants coming from the two plants. Kelly points out the NAFTA side agreements call for the creation of a tri-national environmental cooperation commission. But that commission has not yet been formed, and federal officials say it will be months before it is established. Once underway, the commission will have three years to develop recommendations on how to deal with trans-boundary resource issues. NPS scientist Flores says the bi-national work group will meet in Piedras Negras in June to visit the plants and analyze potential pollution control technologies. But he knows a solution will not come soon. Whatever happens with the plants, he said, “It won’t be anything immediate, that’s for sure.” Susan Rieff, Governor Richards’ director of environmental policy, agrees the plants won’t be fixed soon. But she says it is “critically important” that Mexico do something to stop the pollution from the plants. “If Mexico is serious about their commitment to improve the environment in the border area, this will be seen as a test of that commitment.” The Carb6n plants will also serve as a test for the free trade agreement, and of the Governor’s resolve. CLASSIFIEDS ORGANIZATIONS WORK for single-payer National Health Care. Join GRAY PANTHERS, intergenerational advocates against ageism and for progressive policies promoting social and economicjustice. $20 individual, $35 family. 3710 458-3738. TEXAS AIDS NETWORK dedicated to improving HIV/AIDS policy and funding in Texas. Individual membership $25, P.O. Box 2395, Austin, TX LESBIAN/GAY DEMOCRATS of Texas Our Voice in the Party. Membership $15, P.O. Box 190933, Dallas, 75219. SICK OF KILLING? Join the Amnesty International Campaign Against the WORK FOR OPEN, responsible government in Texas. 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