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November 30, 1999 - BUSH ACCEPTS SEA OF NY SEWAGE SLUDGE


Austin...Texas Governor George W. Bush has quietly created the nation's largest dump for sewage sludge in the small town of Sierra Blanca on U.S./Mexico border, according to documents released today by Texas Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Texas PEER). Texas is now spreading more than 200 "wet" tons a day of human and industrial waste from New York City - nearly one fifth of all the Big Apple's sludge - on the ground outside of the town, prompting a rash of health and odor complaints from nearby residents.

The New York sludge flowing into Texas contains an estimated 60,000 toxic substances and is being cited in local outbreaks of respiratory ailments, rashes and childhood illnesses. In New York the wastes - which may total more than 1.5 billion pounds, enough to fill half of the Astrodome- are classified as too toxic for use as fertilizer and are considered too expensive for landfill disposal.

A former Bush staff member now represents the company bringing the waste to Texas while prominent Bush campaign contributors have various pieces of the sludge "action." Under Bush:

> the NY sludge contract for Texas tripled in size after the firm's five year registration was hastily renewed in 1997;

> the increase in Texas occurred only after Oklahoma and Arizona banned further sludge imports;

> Bush agency appointees blocking residents' requests for a public hearing on the dump expansion.

"We all know what flows downhill and Governor Bush has ensured that his own constituents are on the receiving end," commented Texas PEER coordinator Erin Rogers. "New York City has been searching for a state with weak environmental protections to serve as a dumping ground and they found the perfect candidate in Texas."

NOTE: More on dumping in Sierra Blanca. In the next issue we look at how Governor Bush is opening Texas up as the nation's future radioactive disposal site.




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