2000 - BUSH
PRESIDES OVER HAZARDOUS WASTE BARBEQUE
Industry Lobbyist Named as Top Environmental Official
Austin....Under policies initiated by Governor George W. Bush, the
state of Texas has promoted the burning of hazardous waste as fuel
with adverse public health consequences, according to documents released
today by Texas Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Texas
Under Bush, the state of Texas reversed previous policy in order to
conduct risk assessments at taxpayer expense to facilitate hazardous
waste incineration by cement kilns. Volumes of hazardous waste permitted
for burning have nearly tripled from 100,000 tons to 270,000 tons.
Scientists from the University of Michigan School of Public Health,
in a review performed for the American Lung Association, found 29
major errors, omissions or unaddressed public health concerns in the
official state risk assessment. Despite these concerns, Texas has
proceeded with plans to incinerate even more hazardous waste at TXI's
cement kiln in Midlothian, Texas.
Ralph Marquez, a consultant to Texas Industries (TXI) and Vice President
of Environmental Affairs for the Texas Chemical Council, was Gov.
Bush's first appointed commissioner to serve on the Texas Natural
Resources Conservation Commission (TNRCC), the state's chief environmental
regulator. Despite earlier promises to recuse himself, in January
of 1999, Marquez voted for the issuance of a hazardous waste incineration
permit for TXI.
"Industry sets the environmental agenda in Texas — when corporations
say ‘jump' our public agencies not only ask ‘how high' but then offer
to pay for the jump rope," commented Texas PEER Coordinator Erin Rogers.
"The pattern of corporate lobbyists being appointed as top environmental
officials sets the tone for decision-making based upon self interest
rather than public interest and, quite naturally, community health
concerns become secondary."
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