have a job. Some of us are seeing through that, and … are now trying to show the rest of the workers the truth.” Cook said he believes Chairman Allen made it evident he is predisposed to be friendly to industry and hostile to citizens. And he defended his analogy to drug-dealing: “Crack poisons people and it degrades our society, and that’s what they’re doing with their pollution: they’re poisoning people, and they’re degrading the neighborhoods.” Terry O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate for Harris County judge, obviously agrees with Cook. The former assistant county attorney has made environmental issues central to his campaign, and says he’s found a ready audience among the re finery workers and residents of the heavily polluted communities in East Harris County. “They used to say in the union movement,” O’Rourke said, “‘Where there’s smoke, there’s jobs.’ Now they say, ‘Where’s there’s smoke, there’s cancer.'” O’Rourke chaired a community-organized Citizens Panel on Clean Air which recently held public hearings in Pasadena and Channelview \(the TNRCC when he learned that the county commissioners were considering a $31-million tax abatement for Elf Atochem a company notorious for its bad pollution record in the county. O’Rourke said the state is rapidly becoming irrelevant in the face of federal law, on the one hand, and public outrage, on the other. “Texas is number one in the nation in putting toxics into the air, and Harris County is number one in Texas. This ‘volunteerism,’ a sort of exas es Southwestern Public Service ANR Pipeline Diamond Shamrock Union Carbide Western Gas Resources Huntsman Petrochemicals Colorado Interstate Gas Texas Eastman Koch Refining Clark Refining Coastal Refining Totals 249,237 12,781,370 8,855 16,208 20,537 8,163 76% 4,232 43% 11,036 28% 17,340 76% 23,357 52% 16,672 49% 1,315,952 163,533 162,467 146,988 136,199 124,852 124,607 123,789 120,417 88,425 87 3,633 5,556 6,542 14,718 6,004 3,203 4,777 4,884 17,840 8,628 640,099 3,189 3,168 2,866 2,656 2,435 2,430 2,414 2,348 1,724 emissions. These are conservative estimates, as not all company facilities were analyzed, so the grand totals are expected to be higher. Source: Grand fathered Air Pollution: The Dirty Secret of Texas Industries 12 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MAY 8, 1998
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