By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
The "hump" the Downwinders at Risk can't get over is not one of money or slick public relations, but of facts. And facts contradict their unsubstantiated claims on every count. No other plant in the United States has undergone the level of intense scrutiny that TXI's Midlothian plant has. Time and again, the facts support TXI.
Such evidence--which the Observer has--includes three reports from the Texas Air Control Board, two emissions studies from the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, a 1996 Risk Assessment from the Environmental Protection Agency, a 1992-'94 study on Down syndrome from the Texas Department of Health, and independent studies conducted by the cities of Arlington, Cedar Hill, and Duncanville.
TXI is very concerned about negative claims related to our Waste Derived Fuels program. On many occasions, we've asked the Downwinders and the Sierra Club to provide more specific details to substantiate their claims. All our requests, as well as those from the public and regulatory bodies, remain unanswered. Sound public policy and corporate decisions cannot be based on how people feel, but must be based on scientific facts and evidence.
When people examine the evidence for themselves, most see through the Downwinders' smoke screen. As a result, the Downwinders' numbers have dwindled to a handful. They don't have facts, only a belief that everything bad must be blamed on TXI.
Think about this: If our operations were unsafe, wouldn't our employees be sick? They aren't. Plus, most of them live in the area with their families. Presenting the facts has gained TXI support for continuing our Waste Derived Fuels program.
Director of Communications
I read with great interest your article on the pollution from the TXI concrete plant in Midlothian. I agree that the emissions from the plant do pose a threat to our environment.
Also I have enjoyed your publication for several years. You have great investigative reporters such as Rose Farley and Laura Miller. I rarely miss a copy of your paper.
However, I do have one complaint. On the page next to your article is an advertisement for a toxic product that kills far more people than the TXI plant. It depicts a handsome young man blowing smoke rings as an advertisement for a well-known brand of cigarettes. It is not uncommon to see half-page or even full-page ads for tobacco products in the Observer.
The bottom line is that TXI wants to burn more toxic wastes because it means more revenue for TXI. This is no doubt why the Observer features tobacco ads in its publication. Please stop advertising this highly addictive, toxic product. Would it not be worth the loss of a little revenue in order to do the right thing?
The Cowboys: Feel their pain
You media people make me sick. I don't live in Dallas, am not a big Cowboys fan, and don't care about Erik Williams, Michael Irvin, or Nate Newton. Why don't you people let this situation rest? ["Big man, big mouth," June 19]
Don't you have anything else to write about? So what if these guys want to do drugs and have sex with willing participants, what business is it of yours?
Cover what happens on the field. If they break the law, report the facts as they develop from the courts, and stop holding these guys to some higher standard. They're human beings like you people are. I bet some dirt can be found on some of you people. Why don't you publish that?
A hit for Wonderland
Many thanks to Matt Weitz for a fine profile of Carolyn Wonderland and the Imperial Monkeys ["Going against typecasting," June 5]. This band should go on to greater fame in the future.
For now, in Houston, we are proud to have them. The article was balanced, thorough, and accurate. They just hit number one at WVLS in Virginia for the past two weeks with the song "Stuck in the Road."