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A Alan Pogue CAPITOL OFFENSES Chairman Chisum Goes Critical BY LOUIS DUBOSE Somebody should have sold programs and Texas State Directories, to cross-reference the lobbyists who recently worked for the government they are now lobbying. Standing outside the House chamber was Tony Proffitt, who followed his former boss Bob Bullock from the Lieutenant Governors office into the lobby. Proffitt works for Waste Control Specialists, which op erates a huge hazardous waste dump in Andrews County and is angling for a private permit to bury Department of Energy radioactive waste at the same site. Upstairs in the gallery was Rick Jacobi, who late last year left the executive director’s position at the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Authority to lobby for Envirocare, which purchased a low-level radioactive dump site in Andrews County, then declared it unfit because of hydrology problems. In the Capitol lobby behind Proffitt was former Speaker of the House Billy Clayton, who represents Envirocare. Behind him were three Waste Control Specialists lobbyists: former state Rep Hilary Doran, former Speaker Pro Tem Hugo Berlanga, and former Department of Agriculture legislative liaison Mignon McGarry. Leaning on the rail under the rotunda was Waste Control lobbyist Reggie Bashur, who has worked for Governors George W. Bush and Bill Clements. Waste Control’s former state Senator Carl Parker was absent. And Gib Lewis, the former Speaker of the House hired by Envirocare, was nowhere to be seen. But Eddie Selig the Gunga Din of radioactive waste and sewage sludge never left the building. Seated by the north entrance to the House gallery was LBJ look-alike Kinnan Goleman, who didn’t seem to have a dog in today’s fight but never strays too far from policy decisions involving sludge pits or smokestacks. So when Waste Control’s state rep Gary Walker said he was leaving the chamber “to talk to my people,” nobody expected to see a single constituent from the Panhandle. It was that kind of day. It was also a day of intense debate, a rarity this session but the sort of debate that ensures in the words of a public interest lobbyist who watched a similar fight two sessions ago “that all the shit floats to the top. Specious arguments, shouting matches, mis 14 THE TEXAS OBSERVER representations and outright lies, threats, bullying, armtwisting, points of order, and the inevitable floor speeches by Houston Representative Ron Wilson and Mauriceville Representative Ron Lewis two House veterans without whom bad environmental policy in Texas might be set back a decade. If the three guys in the green lobby Ratil Alvarez and Ken Kramer of the Sierra Club, and Tom Smith of Public Citizen didn’t feel overwhelmed, they were delusional. On the floor was House Bill 1910, drafted in response to what at least ten legislators and one W.C.S. lobbyist described as “eighteen years and $53 million dollars” wasted on a failed attempt to establish a repository for the state’s low-level nuclear waste. After the Legislature and the Rad Waste Authority failed to find a home for radioactive waste in Fort Hancock, Dell City, and most recently Sierra Blanca, House Environmental Regulation Committee Chair Warren Chisum had put together a bill that was the product of negotiations, committee hearings, and compromises. The one compromise Chisum would not consider was a provision that would allow private companies to hold licenses to dispose of radioactive waste. As the bill is written, the state will hold the license and can enter into a contract with a private company. But, Chisum has warned, there is a huge financial liability and a serious environmental threat associated with completely privatized nuclear waste dumps. So when an amendment that would allow a private license came up on the floor on the last Friday in April, Chisum dug in. “Members, I want you to listen carefully, he said from MAY 14, 1999