Friday, July 1, 2016

Learning from history (or not)

People are gullible. Why else would the PR industry be so successful. There are those of us who remember this campaign:


American farmers have been some of the most gullible of all. For over 20 years many have bought into the regulatory deception that “sludge is safe”. After all it’s “free fertilizer’, right? That would depend on the definition of ‘free” because while sludge is without monetary cost to the farmer there is the price of toxic contamination of the soil that will be around for a very l-o-n-g time. Sludge is turning farms into mini “Love Canals” with official Federal and State approval.

Just yesterday there was a story on the evening news about a General Mills recall of flour contaminated with E. coli. Is anybody reading this wondering if that wheat was grown on sludge?

If you have an interest . . . Toxic Sludge Is Good For You Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry by John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton from 1996 is the classic expose of how the American public has been hoodwinked by PR spin time and time again. You can read Chapter 8 - THE SLUDGE HITS THE FAN - here.

Why do we sludge?

The US has been sludging the land since the early 90s. Just how and why did the practice get started? Laura Orlando published Toxic Avengers in 1999. It tells the story of how the sludge industry was born and why it is so not-a-good thing.

Who is Dalton Wallace?

Tuesday’s meeting in Rockne had an unexpected guest - Dalton Wallace. The meeting had an overflow crowd that was standing room only and he walked right into the lion’s den. Have to give him props for that. He said he came to learn something. Well, maybe . . .

Or is something a little different going on. The first time I heard of Dalton Wallace was the previous day in Asher Price’s Statesman article - “Austin’s sewage sludge could head to Bastrop County”. The first sentence of that article begins:

“Twenty-five years ago, shortly after he bought his 3,000-acre ranch in western Bastrop County, Dalton Wallace . . .”

So just who was this Dalton guy? Before then, I had never seen his name despite having read the entire Denali Water Solutions application to the TCEQ and searching BCAD for information on the property. The owner on record in BCAD is Roger Donald Wallace who also executed the contract with Denali.

The first sentence of the embedded video solved the mystery. Dalton starts out by saying, “My son and I own this ranch . . .”. Well, maybe in spirit. And the land is still in the family. But certainly he has no legal ownership according to BCAD. Neither does he have a contract with Denali.

Yet, this affable old farmer is now the front-man touting the wonders of sludge for his ranch. Image is everything. And the picture of an old Texas farmer painted by Mr. Price is certainly more sympathetic than the reality of an absentee landowner/businessman living in Austin who’s making deals to dump Austin’s sludge in a neighboring county.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Denali is full of it!

This classic corporate-speak is most worthy of this blog title!