The Texas Truth Squad- AFL-CIO Contingent

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Aug 14 11:22:58 MDT 2000

>Tony, was Richards bad on the environment also?
>Michael Perelman

The Houston Chronicle, August 13, 1993, Friday, 2 STAR Edition

Environmentalists put coffin by governor's office


AUSTIN -- Placing a black coffin stuffed with a fish net in front of Gov.
Ann Richards' office, environmental groups Thursday charged that the
granting of a new state discharge permit to Formosa Plastics Corp. will
cause the death of shrimping in Lavaca Bay

"This is our only option to get the governor's attention about the possible
permanent closure of the bay to shrimping,'' said Diane Wilson, who fishes
in the Port Lavaca area and was one of about 20 protesters.

"She claims she's keeping the state clean, but maybe she needs a reality
lesson about what clean is, especially when you're dumping up to 15 million
gallons each day of waste . . . ''

The protesters argue that added pollution will force shrimp to leave the bay.

Although Richards could not be reached for comment Thursday, the governor's
staff said she has not reneged on her pledge to protect the state's

And Formosa officials dispute claims that the shrimping industry will be

"These people have never brought forth the evidence to back up their
statements, so they have now turned to theater with a script that is pure
fiction,'' said Joe Wyatt, a Formosa spokesman.

"This is a fabrication by environmental extremists trying to find an issue.''

The Texas Water Commission in recent months had granted a permit allowing
the discharge of waste-water from a $ 1.3 billion expansion of the Formosa
Plastics plant in Point Comfort. The new permit allows the discharge of up
to 15 million gallons a day in wastewater, compared to the current maximum
discharge of less than 3 million gallons daily.

Formosa repeatedly has been fined for environmental violations. Its plant
produces polyvinyl chloride, which involves cancer-causing agents such as
benzene in the production process.

The expanded plant is set to start up this fall once the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency signs off on the 15-million-gallon permit the state has

The operation of the expanded plastics plant would shut down oyster
harvesting temporarily while the state monitors the effects of the added
pollution, but state health officials have said that is a routine step.

However, opponents have argued that Formosa's record fines show that it
should not be trusted to abide by its permit.

Louis Proyect

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