Daily Newspaper for Reeves County, Trans Pecos, Big Bend, Far West Texas

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Feb. 28, 1997


By Mac McKinnon

Behind-the scenes work

may improve area roads

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There's a lot of work that goes on in behalf of Pecos and West Texas
that I'm sure most people aren't aware of, mainly because there is
nothing newsy to report.

This work involves many things including getting better roads,
recruiting industry - and the list could go on and on.

I've been involved in meetings of the Midland-Odessa Transportation
Alliance for several years and a spin-off organization, the West Texas
Transportation Alliance.

Both of these organizations were started to help get a proposed I-27
extension from Lubbock to I-10 to go through the Permian Basin. I was
named to represent both Reeves County and the Town of Pecos City in the

Although we didn't have much luck on our stated goal, there have been
other objectives for the organizations including getting air and rail
transportation improved as well as having a number of highways upgraded.

One of the interests that I have in being part of the group was to get
Highway 285 upgraded to a four-lane road and included in the "trunk"
program by the Texas Department of Transportation. The "trunk" program
identifies highways that are major traffic arteries other than
interstates. When the first designation for proposals for "trunks" was
requested in the late 1980s, no one from Reeves County responded, and
thus 285 was not included in the plan.

Once this plan was announced, I contacted the state, found out what the
situation was and have been working with the assistance of others to get
285 improved.

Another situation that should give a push to upgrading 285 is the
opening of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, N.M. New Mexico
has been given a large sum of money to upgrade its roads for the
transportation of goods that have been contaminated by the exposure to
radioactive materials.

The government has spent money to make sure our emergency personnel
here are trained to handle an accident should one happen involving a
vehicle transporting these goods, but the roadways have not received
funding to be upgraded.

Now, to be sure, Texas roadways are far superior to anything in New
Mexico, but it would be much safer if 285 was a four-lane corridor. This
would also have an added benefit of attracting tourists through our area
either coming or going from Carlsbad Caverns to the many state and
national parks in this area.

Another effort by MOTRAN and WTTA has been to work with cities in
Mexico to promote trade between the areas. There have been a number of
meetings with officials from a number of Northern Mexican states and
cities as well as some on the West coast of Mexico.

This international connection has many implications for our area as
well as the entire state of Texas. We don't always get a lot of help
from Austin or Washington because we simply don't have the votes, so
that means we have to take care of ourselves. Thanks to the work of many
people, this is being done.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mac McKinnon is editor and publisher of the Pecos
Enterprise. His column appears on Friday.


Taking God's name very serious matter

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How dare people use the name of God to commit acts such as blowing up
buildings and threatening the lives of people exercising their rights as
a free people?

A group calling themselves "The Army of God" has claimed responsibility
for blowing up Planned Parenthood facilities in Georgia, saying they
want to stop abortions.

This kind of behavior cannot be tolerated from anyone; and anyone
believing they are Christians would not and should not act in this
manner, in our opinion.

We simply can't believe that God would want anything to do with such an

The use of God's name in any endeavor is a very serious matter, and
people should be aware of God's commandments in that regard.


The EPA's allergy to common sense

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Over the last 25 years, we Americans have greatly reduced the amount of
pollution in our air. The difference is amazing. That, however, is not
good neough for the EPA. It seems like the political appointees at the
EPA won't be satisfied until every county in America can pass the white
glove test.

The EPA is proposing to toughen existing ozone standards, automatically
tripling the number of counties that will fall out of compliance with
current clean air regulations. The EPA says that tougher air pollution
standards will decrease health problems. That sounds like a reasonable
goal. But the problem is that the EPA does not have the scientific
evidence to back up its claims. They just want to go full-force into
imposing one-size-fits-all mandates without thinking about the

In fact, the EPA's own scientific advisory panel recently concluded
that the new standards will not be "significantly more protective of
public health." That didn't stop the EPA from looking to strap the
American people with more federal mandates with an estimated price tag
of $6 to $8.5 billion.

The EPA has a bad habit of setting firm standards without a clear
understanding of how they impact us. For example, right now it is
difficult to measure the amount of fine particulate matter, like dust,
in the air. But in order to meet the new clean air standards, farmers
could face restrictions on when they can enter their fields for tillage,
harvesting or fertilizing. That's only the direct impact of the EPA's
plan. Farmers would also face indirect increases in equipment, utilities
and petroleum costs. Sure, farmers may put some dust in the air, but
they put food on our tables.

This allergy to common sense isn't new to the EPA. Some of you may
remember just a few years ago the EPA spent at least $800,000 of your
tax dollars to research the impact of cow belches and flatulence on
global warming. That's right - burps and, well, you know. I am totally
serious. The EPA even rounded up rangeland cattle to fit them with
special devices that measure the amount of methane cows release. Those
folks at the EPA are really amazing!

When the EPA starts worrying about the belching habits of cows, it's
hard to believe that they have really thought through what their schemes
mean in the real world. But maybe they have, and maybe that's why they
are refusing to release the details of its cost benefit analysis for its
proposed clean air standards.

We all want clean air and a clean environment and we're willing to work
to get it. But it seems that the folks at the EPA won't be happy until
every bit of dirt is out of our air. And remember, this won't solve
problems like the air pollution coming from Mexico that is clouding the
beautiful vistas of Far West Texas. The air knows no boundaires.

So far, the EPA's new clean air proposal is predicted to produce only
marginal results. That's just not good enough when businesses, jobs and
billions of dollars are at stake - not to mention common sense.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Henry Bonilla represents the 23rd Congressional District
in the U.S. House of Representatives.
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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