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POLITICAL INTELLIOFNCE MAIIAINNO VN1 MINIM New York Times veteran Sam Howe Verhovek has moved on from Houston to Seattle, leaving Governor Bush to break in the new regional correspondent for the nation’s most prominent newspaper. Bush is off to such a good start that even his hometown Austin American-Statesman took notice, lifting one endearing vignette by Rick Lyman straight from the Times and running it under the headline “Solo Performer.” “George W. Bush set down his peanut butter and raspberry jelly sandwich and wrinkled his nose, as though the aide on the other side of the tiny campaign plane had tossed him liverwurst by mistake. But it wasn’t the sandwich. It was that word someone just said. ‘Dynasty,’ he repeated with a sour edge. ‘In a dynasty, you don’t have to earn anything. In a democracy you have to earn it.'” This from a politician who raised millions \($15 to $17 million last former funders. Dad George H.W. Bush followed his own father, Senator Prescott Bush \(himself a scion of Old New England apparently have very short memories. WHAT HAZARD? Were petroleum coke dust gusting through your neighborhood, you might opine that it was hazardous, particularly in light of the fact that it contains cancer-causing polyaromatic hydrocarbons. But the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t see it that way, having failed to list petroleum coke and unleaded gasoline tank sludge two major refinery wastes as hazardous wastes under the Federal Resource ConTexas, twelve refineries with coker units produce 85,010 barrels of petroleum coke per day, mainly for use as fuel. A coalition of environmental groups, including the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, has sued the E.P.A. in federal court over the exemption of the two, uh, substances. According to Neil Carman of the Sierra Club, “Communities near refineries suffer from petroleum coke pollution that blows in to their neighborhoods coating homes and making people ill, and agencies have ignored this hazard for decades.” Bill Green, of Corpus Christi’s A On the campaign trail in Waco People Against Contaminated Environments, said, “Citizens in Texas refinery communities have complained to no avail … about the terrible dust, but the TNRCC just looks the other way.” NIX WU NAPALM, Also in earth-to-E.P.A. news, a legion of environmentalists from around the nation have signed a letter to agency director Carol Browner, calling on the agency to investigate emissions from Chemical Waste Management’s Port Arthur incinerator. The ChemWaste facility, located in a low-income, AfricanAmerican community, has lately been burning whatever arrives on the evening train most recently, the itinerant napalm that the Navy has been trying to get rid of, as well as DDT-contaminated soil. ChemWaste management claims that incineration is virtually complete, but during a recent tour by environmental and community groups to the site, visitors were nearly overcome by the fumes pouring from the incinerator into nearby neighborhoods. As the letter notes, the incinerator is emitting mercury and dioxin in a community already saddled with refineries, chemical manufacturing plants, petroleum coke processing facilities, pesticide plants, and other manufacturing sites. Jefferson County is one of the top ten counties in the Vic Hinterlang country for toxic air emissions \(nearly 16 and many residents have died from various unexplained illnesses. VICTORY PRIAM There may have been little cause for political celebration in Texas, but early on November 4, filmmaker Michael Moore \(Roger & Me, TV Nation, claimed an electoral triumph for the grassroots, as the national Democratic Party held the line against Republicans across much of the country, holding their numbers in the U.S. Senate and even picking up a few seats in the House. Moore had helped organize a national “Dump the Republicans” campaign, arguing that the only way to stop the Starr investigation and the Republican “coup” against Bill Clinton was to vote straight Democratic. In his early morning e-mail dispatch, Moore wrote: “History was made tonight. And all of you made it happen. From out of the blue … tens of thousands of angry citizens came out in droves and committed an act of civil disobedience, voting straight Dumbocrat, and whacking the Republicans like a Mack truck they never saw coming. Not since 1822 that’s not a typo! I said 1822! has the party in the White House picked up seats in the middle of the second term of a President. That’s 176 years! In 16 THE TEXAS OBSERVER NOVEMBER 20, 1998