By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Clearing the air
On behalf of Downwinders At Risk, I want to thank Rose Farley and the Dallas Observer for devoting so much time, energy, and space to covering TXI's burning of hazardous waste at its Midlothian cement plant, immediately south of Dallas ["Ill wind blowing," June 12, "Something in the air," June 19].
Farley's extensive independent research is to applauded. She is the first reporter in the history of this story who has bothered to go directly to the files and read the documents for herself. In two weeks' time, you've managed to explore this important issue more comprehensively than any other media outlet in this area has in the 10 years TXI's been burning hazardous waste. We hope your story serves as a wake-up call to all those in the Dallas-Fort Worth area concerned with the environment, public health, and good old-fashioned justice--as well as the other journalists.
But in your attempt to accurately describe our fight against TXI and the government as a David vs. Goliath struggle, you emphasized recent setbacks without balancing them against our victories. For example, you don't explore how our group has reshaped local politics in at least three southern Dallas County cities and helped elect city council members sympathetic to our concerns in Duncanville and DeSoto. While you mention the tabling of the 1995 state PTA resolution backing reforms for cement plants burning waste, you don't add that we won a hard-fought second round at the 1996 PTA convention. You also don't discuss the reforms we managed to win from state agencies in 1993 and 1994 that are still unfulfilled.
All groups like ours, especially in multi-year campaigns, go through spurts of progress and retreat. We think we've done better than most in keeping TXI on the defensive. After all, there must be some reason that Harold Green still has a job as TXI spin doctor and keeps spending tens of thousands of dollars on those full-page ads and DART bus signs.
We've been able to show overwhelming popular support for our goals time and again--including the most recent public meeting concerning TXI's new permit, where opponents outnumbered supporters four to one. Our frustration is that despite this, the political system at its highest levels refuses to implement the people's will.
For those who want to help us get over that hump and finally win this fight--either through help with the current TXI permit hearings or through nonviolent direct action campaigns, we urge you to contact us at our office in Cedar Hill at (972) 293-8300 or write us at 707 Wylie, Cedar Hill 75104.
Downwinders At Risk Education Fund
I commend you on your investigative reporting on TXI. I was appalled by the blatant disregard for public health in the name of money! How could this happen?
All who are downwind have been dining on toxic waste soup since the mid 1980s. Since this includes Dallas, this includes me; this includes my children.
Why can't this stuff be burned on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere? Or buried deep in frozen tundra? Even these answers are not great, but they are better than burning toxic soup in our backyards.
Watch out Harold Green, Maurice Osborn, and all other proponents of TXI's burning of hazardous waste material. There are universal laws, and one of them states, "What goes around, comes around." That law is called the Law of Cause and Effect. If I were you, I would start asking myself, "If I continue to support the polluting and poisoning of mankind and the air we all breathe, how might the universe turn around and 'karmicly' kick me in the ass?"
Perhaps you will one day wake up and realize your own personal lives, once as perfectly and sweetly in place, turned dirty and foul like our air; you poison our air, you poison your life.
Thank you, Rose Farley, for enlightening us all. By the way, my husband, who is a general contractor, thinks there is a very simple solution to all of this: Run a duct pipe from the top of the smokestack and into Harold Green's office. Then wait to hear how safe it is!