Dumping on Texas for Fun and Profit

Originally posted at http://www.jimhightower.com/

Thank you, California. And you, too, Florida, Maine, Missouri, and the 32 other states that intend to send a very special gift to Texas – namely, their radioactive waste. Now there’s a gift that truly keeps on giving!

Of course, Texas asked for it. Well, actually, only two Texans. They had the clout to open a private radioactive waste dump in our state. First approved in 2003, the 1,300 acre site, which endangers fresh water aquifers that supply water to thousands of people in West Texas, was originally meant to take waste from just two states. But now – thanks to this pair of insistent Texans – the dump is being opened to 36 more states!

Who are these dump-on-Texas enthusiasts? One is a right-wing Dallas billionaire named Harold Simmons, who is chairman of a corporation named Waste Control Specialists. WCS’s “specialty” is hustling government contracts for its own fun and profit. Indeed, Simmons’ outfit is the sole company in the whole USA to be licensed by the Texas environmental agency to import this waste into our state.

Now, from stage right, enters Rick Perry, the Texas governor who rose from being a Texas A&M cheerleader to leading cheers for the Simmons dump. Why is Perry so peppy for radioactive waste? Because Simmons is his second largest campaign money man, having dumped $500,000 into the governor’s re-election effort last year alone.

Only two months after November’s election, the commission overseeing radioactive waste disposal voted on January 4th to increase the profitability of Simmons’ dump by letting him haul in waste – and profits – from 36 more states. All six Texans on the commission were appointed by Perry.

If you’re keeping score on this exciting game of quid pro quo, it’s $500,000 for Perry, untold millions for Simmons, and zero for the people.


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.