The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, March 08, 1979, Image 1

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    lhe Battalion
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>sein|ta Vol. 72 NO. 112
not 10 Pages
in 3
Thursday, March 8, 1979
College Station, Texas
News Dept. 845-2611
Business Dept. 845-2611
Fashions to favor
fat-less females
A crowd of about 500 people
watched 38 Texas A&M University
students model spring and summer
fashions Thursday night in Rudder
Theater. Please see page 7.
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oil firms indicted
br overcharging
United Press International
OUSTON — A federal grand jury
dnisday indicted two oil companies
d fire officials accused of $4 million
irth [of illegal overcharges on crude oil
J Attorney Tony Canales said the
Mictments in an 8-month-old inquiry
Dt partment of Energy allegations of
billon in petroleum overcharges were
rt of a continuing investigation.
The 84-count indictment named Uni Oil
Co. of Houston, Ball Marketing Enter
prises of Lafayette, La., and officials of
both companies on racketeering, mail
fraud and conspiracy to violate DOE rules,
violate DOE rules.
Also named were Thomas M. Hajecate,
James E. Fisher and Charles R. Akin of
Uni and Charles Goss of Ball Marketing as
U.S. District Judge Robert O’Conor is-
on plans or terminate
Ij-CS mass-transit study,
ys official in charge
Battalion Reporter
hej College Station City Council, in a
shop session, heard a report telling
to move forward with plans to buy
..iasi-transit bus system or to terminate
U11 (ir fe study on Bryan-College Station mass
| Ron iiolder, in charge of the study, said
eg thetff P 10 J ec ^ I s at a stage where both Col-
11 go a»^B tat ' on an d Bryan should meet and
lying ■>"( a joint ownership agreement of a
;, i.e.’iB stem -
Holder said that if the council is not will-
igto try to agree on joint ownership, the
acesimiojeci which began in 1975, should be
/as netwhiiiated.
i a lonj^R'or Lorence Bravenec expressed
ddedtlionceru about any plan, saying that the
ing li lercentage of people without private cars
e str s heajvily in Bryan’s favor and College Sta-
ion may end up paying more than its
rionsh bare for a bus system-
out o: Hoi ler said traffic projections show the
uch a{t r yan-College Station area is losing
ind 1) ability. Right now, Holder said, the
^traffic in the area moves at the same
s Houston’s traffic did in 1972.
tions show that the traffic problems
| area will increase to the same point
i racing 18 Houston’s.
ing ini "Tb e local area has an opportunity to get
'line before an energy crunch sets in,”
lolder said. Al Mayo, College Station
to rti'RjlPlanner, agreed, stressing that the
Clul) £ back out of the project with no loss
ule”leJf any time until the equipment is or-
i spons^ed
Holder said the development time for a
ystem is two to four years and the
project should continue at least until a
final commitment is needed. A survey
showed that over 75 percent of the local
residents support a mass-transit system.
The proposed bus system would cost an
estimated $1.3 million to buy the equip
ment and $15 per hour to operate each
Difficulty in obtaining federal funding
for new off-street bike paths was also dis
cussed. D.D. Williamson of the Highway
Department said that funding is not avail
able for new projects. If the local area
would pressure the federal officials, he
said, it could help the problem.
“Apathy in the local area is the biggest
problem,” he said.
Off-street bike routes are envisioned
circling Texas A&M University.
City Forester Eric Ploeger told the
council of his problems with the city street
tree plan. “I have not found an area to
plant that is not within a few feet of a util
ity,” he said.
Utility lines have been laid along exist
ing streets, and trees cannot be planted
close to them. The highway department
has also said visibility would be impaired
at intersections by some of the trees.
Ploeger estimated he will not be able to
plant more than 30 percent of the area in
the city plan.
The council also heard a report on the
status of Holleman Street and the possibil
ity of widening it. The city engineer said
plans were completed, but the city does
not have the right-of-ways to proceed any
No action on any of the matters was
White claims ‘unconstitutional invasion’
government in energy commerce
sued bench warrants for the defendants
and said he would free each on $200,000
bond upon surrender to federal au
O’Conor earlier accepted the guilty plea
of Victoria oilman Albert B. Alkek on
charges he knew of the conspiracy to de
fraud the government but helped conceal
Alkek and federal prosecutors agreed he
would pay DOE $3.2 million and cooper
ate with the continuing inquiry into oil
pricing. O’Conor sentenced Alkek to three
years unsupervised probation for mispri
sion of a felony.
Canales said Alkek’s testimony helped
produce the indictments.
The bargained plea was the second aris
ing from an eight-month federal grand jury
investigation of companies suspected of
misclassifying oil in order to obtain higher
U.S. Attorney Tony Canales read
O’Conor a statement of criminal informa
tion accusing Alkek, who had waived his
right to grand jury review of the charge, of
“knowingly and willfully concealing” the
fact that Uni Oil Co., of Houston took ad
vantage of multi-tiered federal pricing to
increase its profits on crude oil sales.
Federal regulations established in 1973
limited the price of oil already in produc
tion to about $5 per barrel, but allowed
prices of about $12 per barrel for oil
brought into production after 1973. Alkek,
as a consultant for M&A Petroleum, Inc.,
knew old oil exchanged between the firms
was being sold for the “new” price.
A consultant for Uni, San Antonio attor
ney Jack Guenther, entered a bargained
guilty plea earlier. O’Conor ordered him
to make $842,000 restitution and placed
him on five years probation.
The judge Tuesday temporarily re
strained federal prosecutors from obtain
ing indictments of Alkek because heart
surgeon Dr. Michael E. DeBakey certified
Alkek was his patient recovering from a
recent heart attack and an indictment
might wreck his health.
Alkek agreed to testify for the govern
ment in grand jury and trial proceedings
and agreed to submit to a lie detector test
if necessary. In return federal prosecutors
agreed only income tax actions could be
brought against him. Canales said he ex
pected no further criminal prosecution of
The investigation began last July and
DOE has estimated that oil company
violations have netted excess illegal profits
of as much as $1 billion.
A Texas A&M University student cycles over the
train tracks on Wellborn Road. Each day, 13 to 15
trains may pass by the Texas A&M campus, on
y Scott Pendleton
tracks owned by Southern Pacific. On them could
be any of over 1,650 explosive, noxious, radioactive
or otherwise potentially dangerous chemicals.
Rail officials say railroads
safest for chemical transport
Battalion Reporter
Each day, 13 to 15 trains may pass
through the Texas A&M University cam
pus. And on them could be any of over
1,650 explosive, noxious, radioactive or
otherwise potentially dangerous chemi
Southern Pacific owns the tracks, which
are also used by Missouri Pacific. South
ern Pacific runs an average of six trains
through College Station and Missouri
Pacific about eight or 10, according to
Monroe Gilbert, Houston superintendent
of hazardous materials control for South-
Attorney General Mark White spoke Wednesday at a district and
unty clerks seminar at the Ramada Inn. He called for the federal
ve n government to end its “unconstitutional invasion in the right of Texas to
lake I degulate its OWn Commerce.” Battalion photo by Clay Cockrill
Battalion Staff
The federal government is forcing
Texans to lose money in energy
dealings with other states. State At
torney General Mark White said
White, speaking at a district and
county clerks seminar at the
Ramada Inn, called for the federal
government to end its “unconstitu
tional invasion in the right of Texas
to regulate its own commerce.”
The situation, White said, origi
nated because of two recent federal
government decisions concerning
coal and natural gas.
The first, he said, is a regulation
forcing Texas to burn coal instead of
natural gas in power plants to pro
duce electricity.
This move has resulted in a law
suit by the city of Austin and 10
other parties against the state of
The suit against Montana — filed
in that state’s district court in 1978
— claims the 30 percent tax levied
on coal imported by Texas is too
high, he said.
The second governmental regula
tion, White said, is the energy bill
passed by Congress last year. One of
the bill’s major provisions estab
lishes price ceilings for intrastate
natural gas sales in addition to in
terstate gas sales.
Previously, the price of interstate
natural gas was regulated by federal
law, but gas sold intrastate was not
White said the free enterprise
system in Texas forced the price of
natural gas and electricity higher
than most other states. But, he
added, the prices had recently
dropped and a surplus of natural gas
was appearing when the energy bill
The end result of the federal ac
tions and the Montana tax. White
said, is that private industry has to
sell natural gas to northern states for
a lower price, and buy coal for a
higher price.
White also pointed out that the
lower price cuts into tax revenue,
and the state is losing millions in
cash and royalties.
White said “rulemakers in Wash
ington” are the biggest source of
problems for states today.
However, he added, law
enforcement is one area where Aus
tin and Washington should work to
Federal funds and manpower are
needed to intensify law enforcement
in rural areas in south Texas near
the Mexican border, he said, as well
as along the Texas coast.
White mentioned funding for the
project would be available in federal
matching funds to go along with
state money.
In addition to money for drug
enforcement, the legislature. White
added, is sure to allocate money to
expand and update the state prison
The Texas prison system, he said,
with a population of 25,000, is
slightly overcrowded, but is still one
of the best-run in the country.
Although law enforcement and
punishment are important issues.
White said, crime prevention is one
area where the state needs to con
centrate its efforts.
“It’s too late to start a drug educa
tion program in high school,” White
said. The best place to start such a
program, he said, is at the elemen
tary level.
See related story, page 5.
ern Pacific. He said each train may have
no cars to six cars carrying hazardous
Southern Pacific Vice President Alan D.
DeMoss estimates that one of every 23
railroad cars in the nation carries hazard
ous materials. These chemicals, though
dangerous in the raw form, are essential to
everyday life.
Railroad companies and the Federal
Railroad Administration both hold that
even though the danger of derailment is
always present, the private rights-of-way
on the railroad provide much safer trans
portation than could be found on public
streets or highways.
The railroads are closely regulated by
the Department of Transportation, espe
cially when hazardous chemicals are con
cerned. Railroads and shippers must fol
low the Code of Federal Regulations Title
49, Parts 100-199, to the point of how
much a container of chemical can carry
and specifying what type of packaging ma
terial can be used. Each chemical requires
a certain grade of steel of lumber and type
of nails, screws or staples to its containers.
Federal regulations also control in what
order chemicals can be transported; for
example, liquefied petroleum gas cars may
follow one another but the may not be
placed next to a car carrying explosives.
Labeling is also controlled; even the
shade of the color on the placard found on
the car must meet specifications.
Wading through the regulations and
adhering to them is a job in itself, and Gil
bert said he must keep a copy of them on
his desk as a reference at all times.
Gilbert said the railroad is subject to
federal inspection at any time. He said
Southern Pacific has received citations as
recently as last year for not writing a sen
tence on a waybill as specified in the Code
of Federal Regulations.
The railroad or shipping companies can
be fined as much as $10,000 for a civil of
fense and $25,000 plus five years impris
onment for a criminal offense.
Gilbert said Southern Pacific has not
been fined for any accident in recent
the conductor on each train has a list of the
cars and what is on them, Tony Aleman,
cars and what is on them, Tony Aleman,
assistant public relations manager, said.
He has a waybill for each car carrying a
dangerous chemical, with the classificaton
of the chemical and instructions for han
dling it in case of an emergency.
He also has a “red book,” a list of the
materials classified as hazardous and how
to handle them. The conductor also carries
instructions for firemen on how to handle a
fire for each chemical, he said.
Derailments cause most of the accidents
with chemicals on railroads, but the cause
of the derailments is more obscure.
Gilbert said derailments cannot be at
tributed to any one cause and that poor
condition of the tracks is not the main
A Southern Pacific Bulletin states that
major tracks are inspected twice weekly
and lesser tracks without block signals are
inspected more often. It also says that
$100 million will be spent on track im
provements this year.
Most people do not realize that the rail
roads do not own any of the compressed
gas tank cars and railroad employees do
not load or unload those cars, a Southern
Pacific newsletter says.
“The vast majority of our emergency
situations involving tank cars are a result of
the shipper’s non-compliance with federal
regulations,” the newsletter says, adding
that this is a fact the government has over
looked in the enforcement of regulations.
Even so. Southern Pacific has initiated a
safety training program to handle the in
creasing number of accidents, Aleman
Including Gilbert, there are six
specialists in hazardous materials and ex
plosives along with six vans and four trail
ers equipped with emergency devices
which are on call 24 hours a day. This team
travels with the “Dome Mobile,” a tank
car designed to simulate emergencies, to
present safety programs to employees,
shippers and firemen.
The presentation has been given to over
300 fire departments in an effort to im
prove their ability to handle emergencies
Aleman said.
“People think we don’t know what’s on
our trains,” Aleman said. “We do know ...
and we know what to do in case of an
emergency. ”
March 31 is deadline
for funding applications
Profits from the Memorial Student Cen
ter Bookstore will be allocated soon, and
student organizations have until March 31
to submit their budget requests to the
Student Finance Center.
The Bookstore Allocation Fund
provides financial support for officially
recognized student organizations, exclud
ing sports, hometown or religious clubs.
Funds are allocated at the end of each
fiscal year by the Student Organizations
Board, made up of student services staff
members and students.
Carolyn Adair, director of Student Ac
tivities, said the amount of each allocation
is determined by the club’s budget and
available bookstore funds.
Adair said the board usually receives
about 250 budget requests. She estimated
bookstore profits used for allocations will
be around $120,000.
The funds, however, are not designed to
finance all of any club’s activities, and they
may not be used for social activities. Only
certain expenses such as travel, speakers,
film and publicity expenses are covered.
Sandy Booth, assistant to the director of
student activities, said that in the past, re
quests were accepted after the deadline,
but this year no late requests will be con
Budget request forms may be picked up
and returned to the Student Finance Cen
ter in Room 217 of the MSG.