Static: Wednesday, May 15, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The Glow of the Green

Two years ago, the Texas Legislature killed ó barely ó a bill that would have brought trucks and trains full of radioactive refuse from aging nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons facilities across the country to an Andrews County dump owned by Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons and his partner, former legislator Kent Hance. Most of the deadly gunk would have traveled through, you guessed it, Fort Worth.

Static, ever prescient, warned then that, like plutonium, this proposal had a very long half-life. Sometimes Static hates being right.

Last week, with fewer Democrats to hold the line, the Lege passed an almost identical bill that will bring in the detritus from decommissioned nuclear plants in Maine and Vermont and a whopping 126 million cubic feet of nuke waste from the feds, all destined for Simmonsí dump ó because itís the only one in the state ready to be licensed. From the fedís waste stream alone, the owners stand to make more than $100 billion over the next five years, according to the Sierra Club and the Blue Skies Alliance, groups that fought the bill.

With such incentive, Simmons spent a cool $1 mil on lobbying this session, the two groups report. Since 2001, Simmons and Hance have given more than $475,000 in direct contributions and PAC money to state legislators.

North Texas notables to thank for bringing this gift to Texas include Sen. Jane Nelson with $2,500 from Simmons and Rep. Steve Wolens, who got $6,500 of the dump kingís money. (You know, Dallas mayor Laura Millerís hubby. ďHe taught me all I know about ethics,Ē she gushed at her victory party last week.) Tarrant County lone strangers Lon Burnam and Vicki Truitt were among the handful of House members who voted no.

Gov. Rick Perry could refuse to sign it, of course. But since the govís campaign netted $150,000 from Simmons and Hance, Static isnít holding its breath. The first time thereís a wreck involving this sludge, though, it may be Perry and the Lege who become radioactive ó in votersí minds


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