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Milagros, Retablos and Arte Popular 0 TRADING COMPANY FOLK ART & OTHER TREASURES FROM AROUND THE WORLD 209 CONGRESS AVEAUSTIN 512/479-8377 OPEN DAILY 10-6, FREE PARKING BEHIND THE STORE FIFTY YEARS OF +4.4/00S.ft r.D r n RY CilAit Mill EA 1,Nuclear, continued from page 11 WCS and its affiliates have sunk into political contributions to state and federal candidates, parties, and PACs over the years. \(According to Andrew Wheat of Texans for Public Justice, Harold Simmons, one of the company’s principals, was the state’s number four politi cal donor in 2004, paying out $548,250. From January 1, 2003, to late October 2004, WCS-related contributions totaled $843,200. Several members of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources have received significant contributions from It will be hard for a Republican senator, even one with a thoughtful take on the issue, to undercut a company that has dispensed favors so generously to Republican candidates. “Duncan has to realize that he’s up against some major donors,” according to Colin Leyden, the Legislative Director for Rep. Lon Burnham \(Dator from Lubbock finally seemed to get his colleagues to listen when he broached the topic of fees for the state. Under HB 1567, Andrews County and the state of Texas will each eventually receive 5 percent of WCS’s gross receipts from compact and federal waste, much less than the amount South Carolina generates for similar low-level waste. How ever, the Fernald waste stream would generate not a single dime for Texas under the current fee schedule. According to Cyrus Reed, a registered lobbyist with the Sierra Club, some lawmakers are considering imposing a 5 percent fee on the Fernald waste in order to generate revenue for cash-strapped state coffers. Considering the tremendous pressure the Legislature is under to come up with billions in new funding for public schools, it’s not unlikely that Texas may follow South Carolina’s example and use the fee money to fund public education. The appearance of a quick-andeasy fix may spur lawmakers reluctant to squeeze WCS’s profits into action, quickly setting up a fee system for the incoming radioactive waste while putting pressure on TCEQ and DSHS to expedite WCS’s applications. “Once [the waste] is a state revenue source you’ll never get rid of it,” says Leyden. Left out of the mix, of course, will be the shortterm and long-term health and environmental consequences of unloading millions of cubic feet of radioactive junk on future generations. Forrest Wilder is a freelance writer living in Austin. Fifty Years of the Texas Observer Edited by Char Miller Foreword by Molly Ivins “From Molly Ivins to Willie Morris, Jim Hightower to Larry McMurtry, no other against-the-grain publication in America has helped to nurture such a stellar array of writers.” Adam Hochschild For updated event information, go to TRINITY UNIVERSITY PRESS Distributed by Publishers Group West FEBRUARY 18, 2005 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19