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- The Eagle: Opinion

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Posted: Thursday, September 6, 2012 12:00 am

I have some questions for M.A. Chambers (Eagle, Sept. 3) who wrote the letter about farming pollution. What do railroad tracks grow? Answer: nothing - not even weeds - because railroad tracks are very contaminated from chemical spills caused by the caps on the hopper cars left unscrewed. Need proof? I have pictures.

And can a person eat creosote ties and iron and survive? Don't think so. Can you make clothes out of creosote ties and iron? Don't think so.

What's going to happen to the land in Hearne when Union Pacific abandons the existing rail yard? Let me give you a clue: It will become a "brownfield" (land previously used for industrial purposes and not to be confused with a cotton field) that will need extreme remediation ever to be used for anything else because of the severe contamination. Did you know that Texas ranks first in tonnage of hazardous materials movement. Approximately 34.3 million tons of chemicals (396,000 carloads) originate in Texas, and 24.4 million tons (279,500 carloads) terminate in Texas.

One more question: Did you know that every day Union Pacific trains transport who knows how many of those carloads of chemicals through Calvert, Hearne, Bryan, College Station, Navasota and many other cities. And did you know that one of those chemicals, methyl isocyanate gas, is the same chemical that killed nearly 8,000 people initially and approximately 20,000 to 30,000 people in total in India in December 1984 in what's known as the Bhopal gas tragedy.

What's more dangerous to people: farming pollution or the contamination/danger caused by railroads? The answer is obvious.


The Union Pacific rail yard project announced in July not only will hurt the farming eco system of landowners, tenant farmers, small ag-related businesses and the residents of the community between Mumford and Muse Road in Robertson County but also will hurt area youth involved in 4 H and Future Farmers of America.

I grew up on a farm in this area. Today my husband and I own about 100 acres and grow cotton and grain in addition to Bermuda grass and alfalfa for our herd of registered Brahman cattle. In March, we are expecting our new calf crop. When these new calves are born, our goal is to begin working with 4H and FFA students in the area to honor the memory of our daughter, April, who would have been actively involved in 4H had she not died from cancer at 13.

If Union Pacific is successful in going forth with its project, a good portion of our land will become part of an industrial facility. If that happens, we will have no land on which to raise our cows and, therefore, will not be able to fulfill our hope and dream of helping our area 4H and FFA youth, our future farmers and ranchers.

We have nothing against progress and Union Pacific in general, but what we do have a problem with is Union Pacific forcibly taking our land, destroying a beautiful site and preventing us from doing what we love most: living on this land we love where birds sing every morning, butterflies are plentiful, fireflies glow in the evening, and the sound of cows mooing for feed provides a peace that makes us feel protected by the Brazos De Dios, which literally means the "arms of God."


Regarding the letter from Tom Kiske (Eagle, Sept. 3), which made me laugh out loud, folks probably should evaluate the network and cable "news" programs for those same "propaganda techniques."

I am so tired of "news" programs telling us what to think about the news instead of reporting the news. Just give us the facts (truthfully) and allow me to make decisions about them.

Stop writing "stories" and tell me the news.


I am moved by Tom Kiske's letter (Eagle, Sept. 3) to sugggest that all readers of The Eagle take a course in propaganda techniques before reading a single word.

A.D. PATTON College Statiion

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