Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
The Different Types of Roommates You Might Encounter and How to Deal

The Different Types of Roommates You Might Encounter and How to Deal

College Guide 2013: If you’re going to be in a college dorm, a spacious apartment, a cramped shared bedroom or anywhere on a college campus for that matter, be prepared for your... By Mary Caithn Scott 8/20/2013
Sky High: Getting acquainted with Christopher Ware’s Paramour

Sky High: Getting acquainted with Christopher Ware’s Paramour

Food & Drink: Christopher Ware leads our group into a lofty conference space with mile-high ceilings, two giant wooden tables and possibly the comfiest... By Jessica Elizarraras 10/1/2014
Artist on Artist: Gary Sweeney interviews Catherine Lee

Artist on Artist: Gary Sweeney interviews Catherine Lee

Arts & Culture: If I ever found myself teaching an art class, I would pack up my students and drive them to Wimberley, where I would give them a tour of... By Gary Sweeney 10/1/2014
Bavarian Brauhaus Packs in the Brats

Bavarian Brauhaus Packs in the Brats

Food & Drink: Blame it on my love of accordions and early exposure to conjunto…but I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for German food. I was originally... By Jessica Elizarraras 10/1/2014

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The QueQue

The QueQue: Texas radioactive dump to open to nation, Mayor Castro passing the hat for education, infrastructure, Deaths behind Bexar County Adult Detention bars

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Texas radioactive dump to open to nation

In 1992, an earthquake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale struck Lea County at the Texas-New Mexico border, a stone's throw from today's radioactive waste dump operated by Waste Control Specialists in western Andrews County. While a Eunice dispatcher reported "minor damage to structures, but nothing major," a Texaco gas plant outside Eunice, New Mexico, was knocked offline, according to an Odessa American story at the time. Earthquakes are only one of the reasons to be concerned about the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission's vote last week allowing Waste Control Specialists to receive radioactive trash from across the country.

The site sits uncomfortably close to the Ogallala Aquifer (some say on top of the aquifer, but the company disputes this), the nation's largest aquifer that stretches all the way to South Dakota. It was this liquid proximity, and the multitude of application rewrites the company of Governor Perry's million-dollar donor Harold Simmons was allowed, that led to some within the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to resign in protest.

Even after the application was finally approved, WCS was allowed to slip a key provision regarding financial assurance should things go wrong. It's a point Karen Hadden, executive director of the SEED Coalition, brought to the TLLRWDCC meeting in a letter signed onto by a number of other groups, including Austin Physicians for Social Responsibility, Public Citizen, Environment Texas, and San Antonio's Esperanza Peace & Justice Center and Southwest Workers Union. "Serious environmental contamination problems have occurred at many existing low-level radioactive waste facilities and clean up cost will run into billions of dollars," Hadden wrote. Yet strangely, the TCEQ allowed WCS to exchange stock in a sister corporation, Titanium Metals, in exchange for financial assurance for its first five years of operations. Worse still: Liability related to the dump's waste reverts to the state of Texas after only 30 years. If only radioactive waste were as short-lived.

Hadden's letter notes that the history of radioactive waste disposal in the United States, marked by an untold number of leaks, includes instances where spent fuel rods — known to include some of the most toxic and longest-lived radionuclides, including Uranium-235's 700 million-year half-life — were illegally buried. In spite of the risks, the Commission's decision was a unanimous one. Perhaps because Perry re-stacked the commission and booted Bobby Gregory, who had voted against expanding the compact in the past, in exchange for a favorable vote cast by one of the Commission's newest members, former CPS Energy CEO Milton Lee.

Mayor Castro passing the hat for education, infrastructure

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