Andrews voters narrowly approve controversial bond issue

May 11, 2009

LUBBOCK, TX - Big new developments after a NewsChannel 11 Investigates Report. Voters in Andrews, by a razor thin margin, approved a $75 million bond issue to help a company bury radioactive and toxic waste near Andrews.

Some critics say that the waste will sit above the Ogallala aquifer, which is the same aquifer Lubbock uses, in part, for drinking water. But not all the experts agree that the Ogallala is under that site; and the company, Waste Control Specialists, has given its word that hazardous waste will not end up in the ground water.

This bond election granting WCS with $75 million couldn't have been much closer. It passed 642 to 639 - that's only three votes separating victory from defeat. But as you might suspect with an election this close, the story is not over.

"Anybody who thinks their vote doesn't count, look at how close things are." Patricia Green supports WCS and she agrees with her opposition on at least this one point - every vote counts.

"We just never thought we could get the word out like this. And it shows that the common people could actually have a voice," said Peggy Prior who is against the WCS bond.

Stacy Anguish was anguishing just a little bit before Saturday's election - she has a very personal stake in the outcome. "It's very close but I am excited to keep my husband working," she said.

Although most of the folks who went on camera for the Midland NBC affiliate were gracious in victory or gracious in defeat, there was just a hint of bitterness. "We thought we could have won if we had done it in November like some of the people wanted. Some of the Commissioners thought we should wait until November. And so did some of the other city people. Look at what we could have done. We would have won in November," said Melodye Prior, who is against the WCS bond.

The opposition, a group called No Bonds for Billionaires, says a three-vote margin is too close for comfort, so they're calling for a recount.

According to the Texas Secretary of State's website they can get a recount if: 25 registered voters sign a petition within five days of the election and the item on the ballot wins by less than 10 percent of the votes. We'll get back to you just as soon as we have an update on the recount effort.

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