March 20, 2001
[download pdf version of this Lobby Watch]
Blowing in the Wind:
Lege May Put Cement Shoes
On Concrete Industry’s Foes

Legislators influenced by a ready mix of lobby and campaign dollars are moving another sweetheart bill for the dirty cement and concrete industry.

Cement kilns often cut their huge energy costs by burning toxic waste. Predictably, this produces toxic air emissions, which contain carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates, as well as heavy metals, dioxins and furans (the last two byproducts are linked to cancer, birth defects and fertility and endocrine problems).

Neighbors blame Dallas-area Texas Industries (TXI) incinerators for a litany of illnesses and animal deaths.

Cement itself can contain toxic heavy metals. Neighbors complain that noise and dust from batch plants (that make concrete from cement and gravel) damage their property and health.

The public can only voice its concerns at Texas Natural Resources and Conservation Commission (TNRCC) hearings on applications for new or expanded plants. By the late 1990s, permit opponents began using computer models to show how these plants affect them.

Heaven forbid that the TNRCC would allow factual distractions to influence delicate political decisions. In 1999, industry got the legislature to bar such modeling evidence from hearings. This session the industry wants to end public hearings altogether for many batch plants (Sen. Buster Brown’s SB546).

Concrete Lobby Contracts, March 2001
Lobbyist Client Max. Value
Lisa K. Anderson Texas Industries $100,000
Ronald K. Golemon Texas Industries $100,000
Linda S. Sickels Trinity Industries $100,000
Justin J. Howard N. TX Cement Co. $50,000
Neal "Buddy" Jones N. TX Cement Co. $50,000
Dan Pearson N. TX Cement Co. $50,000
Tristan Castaneda, Jr. HB Zachry $25,000
Pamela M. Giblin Capitol Aggregates $25,000
Chris S. Shields HB Zachry $25,000
Victoria J. Waddy HB Zachry $25,000
Gaylord Hughey, Jr. Hanson Concrete; N. TX Cement $20,000
Maurice O. Osborn Texas Industries $10,000
D. R. Jones Texas Industries $10,000
  TOTAL:  $570,000
Cement lobby
The industry, which already reports paying 13 lobbyists up to $570,000 this session, has lured powerful former state officials into its phalanx of lobbyists.

Concrete executive and then-state Rep. Mark Stiles sat on the legislature’s Budget and Criminal Justice boards when they oversaw the $1.3 billion doubling of Texas prisons in the early 1990s. Stiles’ Transit Mix Concrete (bought by Trinity Industries in 1991) sold concrete to half a dozen state prisons, quadrupling its operations in the first years of the prison binge.

Trinity made Stiles senior vice president after he retired from the House in 1998. Last year, Stiles reported that less than $10,000 of his $731,250 salary and bonus package paid for his lobbying.

Dan Pearson, whose clients include North Texas Cement, resigned as TNRCC director in 1998 to lobby with ex-legislator Neal Jones. Jones’ top client then was seeking TNRCC approval to sell $16 million of Colorado River water.

Before George W. Bush made him a TNRCC Commissioner, Ralph Marquez lobbied for TXI to kill a bill to limit incinerator fumes. Marquez (just reappointed by Governor Perry) later refused to recuse himself from voting for pollution permits for this ex-client.
Concrete PAC Spending In the 2000 Cycle
PACs $ Spent
Trinity Industries $334,100
TACA $171,000
Texas Industries $89,000
HB Zachry $42,200
Total $637,050

Gaylord Hughey, Jr., is a “Pioneer” who raised $100,000 for Bush’s presidential campaign. Hughey lobbied for Pioneer Concrete in 1999, when it tried to block a TNRCC hearing on whether to reopen an unpermited concrete plant.

Hard money
To trump the public interest, industry PACs spent more than $600,000 to soften up politicians in the 2000 election cycle. Meanwhile, the PAC of their chief critic, the Sierra Club, spent $120. The PACs of Dallas-based Trinity Industries (which made a $166 million profit in 2000 on diversified sales, including concrete and road construction products) pour the most industry money.

The industry's other PACs are run by the Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association (TACA), TXI and HB Zachry (which owns the subsidiaries Capitol Cement and Capitol Aggregates). •

Top TACA PACA Donors
Top Donors Money Business
Victor Lattimore $30,450 Lattimore Materials, McKinney
Keith Knox $8,200 Knox Concrete, Houston
Larry Parker $8,000 Alamo Cement, San Antonio
Ronnie Beall $8,000 North TX Cement, Midlothian
Carl Campbell $6,300 Trinity Materials, Ferris
Gary Bullock $5,750 Concrete producer, Irving
Eric Reinhart $5,640 Concrete producer, Dallas
Donna Bossert $5,000 Equipment sales, DeSoto
Frank Johnson $4,400 Concrete producer, Porter
Jim Ablowich $4,185 Aggregate producer, Dallas
Ronnie Finley $4,000 Aggregate producer, Dallas
James Rainbolt $3,000 Tarrant Concrete, Ft. Worth
Neil Ackerman $2,500 Aggregate producer, Victoria
Bo Bankston $1,400 Concrete producer, San Antonio
Mike Mauldin $1,100 Admixture producer, Houston
Marlin Smith $1,100 TKO Equipment Co., Gr. Prairie

TOP TACA Recipients
 Top Recipients  TACA $
Sen. Todd Staples $20,000
Sen. David Cain $12,500
Sen. Florence Shapiro $10,000
Gov. Rick Perry $10,000
Rep. Clyde Alexander $8,000
Sen. Jane Nelson  $6,000
Rep. Kim Brimer $5,000
Rep. Rob Junell $5,000
A.G. John Cornyn $5,000
Sen. David Sibley $5,000
Sen. Leticia Van De Putte $3,500
Rep. Barry Telford $3,000
Rep. Robert Turner $3,000
Rep. Brian McCall $3,000
Rep. Rick Green $2,500
Rep. Robby Cook $2,500
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Texans for Public Justice is a non-partisan, non-profit policy & research organization
 which tracks the influence of money in politics

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