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A Erin Rogers landowners, in coalition with environmental justice folks, Mexican activists, radical environmentalists and we’ve worked together. I think it shows that despite the ways the media and politicians try to divide us, there is a basic understanding about what’s happening to the earth, and a basic desire to protect the earth, that cuts across political ideologies.” Rogers and her colleagues also came up with alternatives to worn-out methods of resistance. \(If your fingers are covered with second-degree burns from frequent yet ineffective candlelight vigils, look to the Sierra Blanca fight as a case study in creative acWaste management program hosted a glittering media conference at an Austin hotel to promote the dump, entitled “Radiation: The Public Depends on You.” The Legal Defense Fund quietly reserved a meeting room across the hall, where it held its own counter-conference, featuring leaders from the environmental justice movement, an oncologist, and other educators. In a session called “The Banquet of the Rich Nuclear Industry,” activists sat at a table drinking “blood” and “nuclear waste” and then served baloney on silver platters. “The next day our counter-conference was news in papers across the state,” says R\(4 . i -s. “The Austin American-Statesman editorialized against the Sierra Blanca dump for the first time, and state officials were calling their conference a Alan Pogue disaster. And we all had a blast doing it.” The activists also took the offensive to elected officials who supported the dump, including Governor Richards. “We had a lockdown at the Governor’s mansion when Ann Richards lived there,” she says, recalling the time activists chained themselves to the mansion’s wrought-iron gates. “Then we ruined International Women’s Day for her, one year. We’ve had huge marches and closed bridges. In 1995, we stopped the [Maine-Vermont-Texas] Compact in Congress voted down by two-thirds, due to grassroots pressure.” On the state regulatory front, the Legal Defense Fund generated 400 requests for the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission to hold contested case hearings around the state. Those hearings concluded in Austin last summer, when the two presiding administrative law judges recommended against putting the dump in Sierra Blanca. They based their decision upon two issues: unresolved geological problems, and the potentially disproportionate impact of the dump on the low-income, minority residents. In October, the three T.N.R.C.C. commissioners ratified the recommendation of the judges. The unresolved questions that eventually derailed the dump had been researched, developed, and brought to public consciousness by the work of the Legal Defense Fund, led by Rogers and other activists. To carry the fight against the Compact, Rogers brought in such 14 THE TEXAS OBSERVER FEBRUARY 5, 1999 –,-NoMummiiiriamisamusamonommlinaiwrollial