How we got the dirtiest stream in America
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THE HOUSTON SHIP CHANNEL IS POLLUTED BY BOTH INDUSTRY AND THE CITY OF HOUSTON. ALTHOUGH A JOINT CITY-COUNTY POLLUTION CONTROL PROGRAM WAS INITIATED IN 1953, IT FAILED BECAUSE THE VARIOUS GOVERNMENTS FAILED TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL SUPPORT. HOUSTON'S OWN SEWAGE PLANTS WERE PRIMARY POLLUTION CONTRIBUTORS. VARIOUS INDUSTRIES ALSO CAUSED MUCH OF THE POLLUTION. TEXAS COURTS, HOWEVER, HELD THAT A CORPORATE EXECUTIVE COULD NOT BE LI SUBORDINATE MAY HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN RESPONSIBLE. THEY ALSO HELD THAT CORPORATIONS CANNOT BE CRIMINALLY PROSECUTED. HENCE, CORPORATIONS WERE FREE TO POLLUTE AT WILL. LEGISLATION WAS PROPOSED TO CORRECT THIS SITUATION, BUT IT WAS EMASCULATED THROUGH EFFECTIVE LOBBYING AND AMENDMENTS. THE TEXAS POLLUTION CONTROL ACT WAS FINALLY PASSED. IT CREATED A CONTROL BOARD COMPOSED OF MEMBERS REPRESENTING POLLUTING INDUSTRIES. THE FEDERAL POLLUTION PROGRAM HAS ALSO BEEN INEFFECTIVE, BUT PROSECUTIONS HAVE RECENTLY BEGUN UNDER THE REFUSE ACT. HOUSTON ITSELF HAS AN ENCOURAGING NEW ALTHOUGH STATE ACTION IS STILL INEFFECTIVE. AMENDMENTS TO STATE LAW AND REVISED FEDERAL WATER QUALITY STANDARDS ARE NEEDED. (HART-FLORIDA)
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