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Fruit of the Orchard

Environmental Justice in East Texas

Photographs by Tammy Cromer-Campbell. Essays by Phyllis Glazer, Roy Flukinger, Eugene Hargrove, and Marvin Legator

Publication Year: 2006

In 1982, a toxic waste facility opened in the Piney Woods in Winona, Texas. The residents were told that the company would plant fruit trees on the land left over from its ostensible salt-water injection well. Soon after the plant opened, however, residents started noticing huge orange clouds rising from the facility and an increase in rates of cancer and birth defects in both humans and animals. The company dismissed their concerns, and confusion about what chemicals it accepted made investigations difficult. Outraged by what she saw, Phyllis Glazer founded Mothers Organized to Stop Environmental Sins (MOSES) and worked tirelessly to publicize the problems in Winona. The story was featured in People , the Houston Chronicle magazine, and The Dallas Observer . The plant finally closed in 1998, citing the negative publicity generated by the group. This book originated in 1994 when Cromer-Campbell was asked by Phyllis Glazer to produce a photograph for a poster about the campaign. She was so touched by the people in the town that she set out to document their stories. Using a plastic Holga camera, she created hauntingly distorted images that are both works of art and testaments to the damage inflicted on the people of a small Texas town by one company’s greed. In the accompanying essays, Phyllis Glazer describes the history of Winona and the fight against the facility; Roy Flukinger discusses Cromer-Campbell's striking photographic technique; Eugene Hargrove explores issues of environmental justice; and Marvin Legator elaborates on how industry and government discourage victims of chemical exposure from seeking or obtaining relief.

Published by: University of North Texas Press


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p. vii

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pp. ix-x

My heartfelt gratitude goes to all the people who helped make this book possible through their encouragement, time, and support. My most sincere thank-you goes to Phyllis Glazer for asking me to photograph Jeremy. That photography ,,,

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pp. 1-5

In 1962, Rachel Carson vividly portrayed a hypothetical town in which “some evil spell had settled on the community.”1 Carson feared this town could one day become a reality, unless strong legislation dealt expeditiously with the runaway use of toxic chemicals by industry. Nearly four decades later, her hypothetical town emerged in rural East Texas—in a town called Winona....

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A Tear in the Lens

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pp. 7-10

The great educator Robert Coles was once showing the work of a number of Farm Security Administration photographers—those lean and rich documents of America in the 1930s—to some young students. One student in particular, Lawrence Jefferson, was drawn to the work of Marion Post Wolcott—one of the less well-known but perhaps the most ethically committed of all these federal photographers. Coles was curious to know why and Jefferson...

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Fruit of the Orchard

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pp. 11-18

Winona is a rural Texas community of 500 people living downwind of a toxic-waste injection-well facility built in 1982. Photographs of these residents reveal the tragic results many believe are associated with toxic emissions and contaminants from the American Ecology Environmental Services toxic-waste facility (formerly known as Gibraltar). The community was originally told that Gibraltar would install a salt-water injection-well facility and plant...


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pp. 19-121

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Preventing Future Winonas

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pp. 123-126

Concerns about environmental justice and environmental racism are usually focused on large population centers, and more specifically on the poor urban neighborhoods in which the majority of the residents are minorities, usually black or Hispanic. The Environmental Protection Agency is currently looking into ways to deal with these environmental justice issues, focusing on the identification of problem areas. In these surveys, industrialized sites...

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Toxicological Myths

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pp. 127-130

In the never-ending battle to clean up our environment and make our world safer for humanity, individuals and organizations that profit from polluting the environment have developed a series of scenarios to obfuscate the human effects of exposure to toxic substances. The underlying assumption of toxic waste facilities, and frequently state and federal agencies, is that they know more about the technical aspects of toxicology than the victims of chemical...

E-ISBN-13: 9781574413915
Print-ISBN-13: 9781574412154

Page Count: 144
Illustrations: 50 duotone illus.
Publication Year: 2006

OCLC Number: 666902480
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Fruit of the Orchard

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Subject Headings

  • Hazardous waste sites -- Texas, East -- Pictorial works.
  • Environmental toxicology -- Texas, East.
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