TOXIC TOUR OF TEXAS
1988-1992
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DORIS McFADDEN
Brazoria County

      FIRST OF ALL, what you must do is take a good look at the situation and see if it’s something that’s going to be harmful to your area. If you decide it is, get opinions from people who know about the conditions of the land and the water, and what the effect of the proposed operation would be on them. We got a geologist to look at the faults around here. We did a lot of investigating. We hired a good lawyer.
      You can find out a lot of things by going to the county courthouse, and looking at records to see if there’s any adverse liens against the people proposing the facility. See what their business reputation is, and what experience they have. So many times you can talk directly with people, although I never talked directly to these folks. We just started having meetings here in the subdivision to discuss the situation; trying to get a sense of how the people felt about it. When we decided to organize, we got the information on how to start a non-profit organization. You don’t have to get a non-profit charter, but I think it is to your advantage. Then you apply to the federal government for non-profit status, and then all the donations you get are tax deductible for the people who give them. I think this helps.
      Raising money is the hard part. We held fund raising dances, auctions, accepted contributions, and sponsored a booth at the Harvest Festival selling hot chocolate and baked goods. Our membership cost $5 per person and $10 per family. We kept it low because we didn’t want anybody who wanted to be members to be excluded.
      At some point in time, and I think the time is now, we must start looking into the future. We don’t want to put the industries out of business. We desperately need the industries, but we do want them to clean up their act. We want a safer environment for the workers. We want a safer place for our homes and for our future generations. And remember this, industry may contribute the big campaign bucks, but the people elect the officials, and it’s time that we send out the signals about what we expect of them. We must have laws to protect us. We must have elected officials who will stand up and be counted, and we must have industries that will reduce, recycle, and neutralize waste, and properly dispose of the small amount that is left. These things we insist on, and these things we must have.