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 Downwinders At Risk - Articles: September 2002

Monday, September 23, 2002

Holcim, Not So Wholesome TNRCC Needs to Do More!

Dear Editor:

I think it is time that the people of Midlothian need to start speaking out about all the emissions that the 3 cement kilns & 1 steel mill emit. We have North Texas Cement burning tires and now TXI is burning them, also. Every evening that you walk out side you can smell them burning.

You can also smell sulfur odors, burnt metal, different chemicals, and etc. What is the city of Midlothian doing about this? NOTHING!!. For the last 2 years Holcim has violated their permit. What kind of health effects has this or will be caused on our health. What about all the children of Midlothian that have asthma? Has anyone told the employees & their families of Toys R Us or the new Target warehouse about what they will be breathing in Midlothian? For the year 2000, the 4 industries have emitted 1,502,123 pounds of air emissions in Midlothian In that Chromium 573 lbs, Lead 3923 lbs, Manganese 7998 lbs, Mercury 774 lbs, Sulfuric acid 1,416,045 lbs. Also, the worst of it all was 1.64 lbs of Dioxin. Holcim was fined very little for what damages they have caused this community. Out of this Midlothian will receive $111,562 for fire equipment. This money should be spent on the health care cost of the people that it has affected and enforcement by the City to stop this. Midlothian is a great town to move to if you want to increase your chances of cancer or other health effects on your life. If I was told all this,

I would have NEVER moved here.

Debra L. Markwardt

New Name, Same Game!

The Dallas Morning News deserves a special bravo for their recent editorial Air pollution: New name, same game! Thank you for taking a bold stance about the newly named state environmental agency-Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

Your editorial highlighted what environmentalist and air huggers have been saying all along “its time that the agency get serious about clearing our air and do something to address pollution coming from Ellis County.” According to agency data there’s enough evidence to suggest that Ellis County be incorporated into the four county clean air plan. In addition to being the home to the top industrial smog producers in North Texas, Ellis County has violated the three strikes law for ozone but yet the governor, nor the TCEQ, nor the EPA has taken the necessary steps to declare the region a clean air felon--even though it is.

The $223,125 fine and a perpetual pollution extension of more than a year and a half is a gift from the TCEQ to Holcim and a literal “gag” gift from the agency to breather’s in North Texas. If the agency were really serious about reducing pollution then Holcim’s fine would be closer to $3.6 million and they wouldn’t be able to operate until they complied with their agreement with the state.

Meanwhile, while they’re given another year and a half to reach their permitted levels Holcim has applied for a “permit amendment” to challenge the conditions of their agreement. TCEQ this is very simple, Holcim broke their agreement, they reneged on a formal process, the hurled additional smog forming pollution into North Texas, and it’s time that you as the state’s environmental agency enforce the law. Anything else is irresponsible.

Becky BornhorstSubmitted to the Dallas Morning News 9/23/02