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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung Newspaper Archives

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 8, 1993, New Braunfels, Texas Officials call decision a local victory By GARY P. CARROLL Herald-Zeltung City and state officials hailed LaFaige Corporation’s decision to drop an appeal to overturn a ban on burning hazardous waste in New Braunfels, and called it a victory for New Braunfels residents. Mayor Clinton Brandt and City Councilmen James Good-bread and Paul Fraser, said that although the decision by LaFarge to pull out of the appeal process was a positive step, it doesn’t mean the fight to ban burning hazardous waste at the Balcones Plant is over. And Rep. Edmund Kuem-pel of Seguin said area residents must maintain their unity. “We have been united against the burning of hazardous waste in Comal County from the beginning,” Kuempel said. “I think it’s important that people realize that it still isn’t over." Kuempel said continuous monitoring of emerging technologies regarding the burning of hazardous waste is a must, and people should continue to oppose the process. Brandt said that although LaFarge’s decision showed a sincere concern for the community, people should remain aware of what is going on at the plant. ‘T’his problem has not disappeared completely,” Brandt said. “But LaFarge has recognized the fact that maybe they need to wait on some technology that will prove the process (of burning hazardous^ waste for cement production) works." Because of the possible economic benefits of burning hazardous waste, Brandt said LaFarge would not give up. If permitted, LaFarge would receive hazardous materials from other companies who would pay the local cement plant to bum them. Even if technology was advanced to ensure total safety, Fraser said he would still oppose the burning. Fraser said he did not believe technology could ever guarantee absolute safety. Even if it did, he said hazardous material should not be brought into such an environmentally sensitive area. “Bringing this stuff into New Braunfels is just not good business,” Fraser said. Fraser said New Braun-felsers should “savor this small victory at this point, but remain ever vigilant” in their efforts to prevent any fixture burning of hazardous materials. Even though such strong opposition was voiced against LaFarge, Goodbread, Fraser and Brandt stressed LaFarge is still a well-respected business in the community. Thursday, April 8,1993   . New BraunfelsHerald Serving Comal County • Home of Cash Hermes 50 Cents Daily, 75 Cents Sunday    Vol.    141, No. 90 Krueger: Decision was honorable “Lafarge must prioritize its projects in order to match their critical nature with realistic timetables and finite resources.” — Lafarge’s Southern Region President Duncan Gage LaFarge gives up Cement plant abandons effort to bum wastes Opposition groups urge vigilance By GARY P. CARROLL Herald-Zeltung By GARY P. CARROLL Herald-Zeltung The LaFarge Corporation has abandoned efforts to secure a permit for hazardous materials burning at its Balcones Plant in New Braunfels, citing a shift in corporate priorities and economic constraints as key reasons, officials said Wednesday. In a released statement, LaFarge’s Southern Region President Duncan Gage said, “Lafarge must prioritize its projects in order to match their critical nature with realistic timetables and finite resources.” Gage said LaFarge needs to concentrate on maintaining its economic viability and competitiveness in an increasingly tougher construction materials industry. “We have to reiterate that we’re the number one cement plant in North America,” Gage said. “We have numerous different projects that we need to look at and prioritize them accordingly." LaFarge’s efforts to receive a permit for burning of hazardous materials begut in 1987 when company officials announced their intentions to initiate the co-processing procedure ir. its Balcones plant. A state court denied the permit on a point of law banning hazardous-waste processing within one-half mile of residences. However, Balcones Plant Manager Hal Bartlett said the judgment was made on a point of law and not on the technical merits of the burning process. “We never got to show the benefits of the process,” Bartlett said. “All we were asking and all we ever asked was for the court to look at the process and let us state our case on a technical level.” Bartlett said l^iFarge’s efforts were directed at appealing a ruling on the siting prohibition made in December,1992 by United States District Judge Sam Sparks. LaFarge was in the process of appealing the decision in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans before ending its efforts on Wednesday. If the appeal had been successful, LaFarge would still have to go through the permitting process, something Bartlett said he was hoping would happen. LaFarge was seeking a permit that would allow hazardous-waste materials to be used to fire kilns used for cement production. Officials said the types of hazardous mate- New Braunfels environmental groups are celebrating a victory for their cause — and urged caution — following LaFarge Corporation’s announcement Wednes day it will not seek to appeal a court decision prohibiting the burning of toxic waste in New Braunfels. Toya Lindsey, president of Mothers Organized To Help Environmentally Responsible Standards, said she was thrilled at LaFarge’s decision to not continue its efforts to overturn the lower court’s decision. “I’m excited and I think it’s a wonderful turn of events tor us," Lindsey said. “We’re still cautious because I don’t think they’ve said they are through and they will never try it again.” Lindsey said New Braunfels citizens should maintain their vigilance in monitoring LaFarge, as well as other manufacturers in the region who may be involved with the burning of toxic waste. Paul Pennington, president of Securing A Future Environment, said even though LaFarge has not given any guarantees to permanently stop their appeal or permitting process, he still views this as a victory. “We’re very happy with the decision, but we must not let our guard down,” Pennington said. “We must maintain our vigilance.” Pennington said he feels LaFarge’s decision is consistent with the views of the majority of New Braunfels’ population, and that too man residents are concerned that not enough is known about the use of hazardous wastes in production processes such as those proposed by LaFarge. Sen. Bob Krueg«r By GARY P. CARROLL Herald-Zeltung U.S Sen. Bob Krueger called LaFarge Corporation’s Wednesday decision not to attempt to overturn a court ruling allowing the burning of hazardous materials an honorable decision by the company. The senator also hailed the move as a victory for the citizens of New Braunfels, and said attitudes will continue to evolve regarding the protection of citi zens against hazardous materials. “The movement toward protecting the environment is as irreversible in the 1990s as the movement for civil rights and for desegregation was in the 1960s,” Krueger said. Efforts must be made by scientists and citizens to fully understand the effects the burning of hazardous materials has on the environment, Krueger said. Without understanding what is being created by destroying hazardous materials, society could suffer the consequences, he said. Krueger said he had not seen clear scientific data that burning the hazardous materials was a zero-danger process, but the possible presence of the hazardous by-products following the incineration process was enough to cause him to doubt the safety of the procedure. “When there is doubt, I would rather err on the side of health — not err on the side of the company,” Krueger said. “People in this area don’t want to be human guinea pigs.” Krueger said he felt confident the tide of concern for the community was strong and irreversible. “New Braunfels is not a community opposed to industry," Krueger said. “But we are beginning to realize quite a number of very rich inheritances from nature including clean water and clean air.” New Braunfels’ Balcones Plant, pictured above, has been the target site for LaFarge's efforts to receive a permit for the burning of hazardous materials. Company officials announced their intentions to initiate the co processing procedure In 1987. Photo by Karla Wenzel. rials used would help provide the high heat necessary for the firing process, and would help alleviate the problem of disposing of the waste materials. However, some New Braunfels residents didn’t see it that way. Paul Pennington, New Braunfels resident and Board Member for Securing A Future Environment, a group dedicated to environmental issues, calls the decision by LaFarge a victory for New Braunfels residents. Although the decision not to pursue permitting is seen as a positive step >y New Braunfels residents opposed to LaFarge, Gage did not rule out the possibility of future efforts to secure permitting. Gage also did not rule out the possibility that LaFarge would seek legislative assistance in its efforts to bum hazardous materials. Gage said he was confident attitudes in New Braunfels toward burning hazardous materials would change over time, and LaFarge could attempt to gain permitting in the future. “We believe that as time goes on, more and more people will come to realize that this is a preferred way to handle hazardous materials,” Gage said. “Perhaps one day people will be knocking on our door saying ‘maybe we should reconsider* ” Gage said he did not feel LaFarge would be attempting to attain a permit in “the immediate fiiture,” but said he was confident of the hazardous material burning process. Gage said LaFarge was committed to the coprocessing procedure as an important part of the company’s overall strategy. For that reason, Pennington said opponents of the process would not back down their efforts against LaFarge. “As long as LaFarge is not prepared to categorically state that they will never bum hazardous waste at the (Balcones) plant, we would be foolish not to be vigilant in our efforts,” Pennington said. InsideStammtisch Lotto ACTIVITIES............ CLASSIFIED.......... ....10-12 CROSSWORD....... ...........3 COMICS................. ...........8 OBITUARIES......... ...........3 OPINION................ ...........4 SCRAPBOOK........ ...........7 SPORT8................. WATER WATCH.... WEATHER............. The New Braunfels HercJd-Zeitung invites its readers to submit items to Stammtisch. According to the Sophienburg Archives and members of the German community, "Stammtisch" represents a sitting place reserved for a group of special people — or a time set aside for members of a community to share the day’s happenings. For more Stammtisch, see page 6.Best wishes The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung sends Birthday wishes to Adam Hernandez, Leonard Castio, Kevin Wuest, Kristin Robertson and Elvira Hernandez. Belated Birthday wishes go to Angie E. Aguirre, Paula Paredez and Kendra Reimer Anniversary wishes go to Ruben and Sara Paredez. Belated anniversary wishes go to Inocencio and Paula Paredez.Cross Lutheran Egg Hunt Cross Lutheran Jr. Youth Group will host an Easter Egg Hunt from ll a.m. to noon on Saturday, April IO, at 169 S. Hickory St. Participants are asked to bring their own baskets.Parks and Rec Egg Hunt The New Braunfels Parks and Recreation Department is offering its annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April IO, at ll a m. The hunt will take place at the Landa Park Gazaebo area. The Easter bunny will be there to hunt eggs with the kids. For information, call 620-PLAY.Winning numbers AUSTIN — Here ara results of Lotto Texas winning numbers drawn last night by the Texas2-4-7-9-14-31 B Estimated Lotto Texas jackpot: $8 million I ;