Ms. Woods is a classically trained musician living in Elgin, who has been active in organizing and leading a non-profit citizens group, Neighbors for Neighbors, in trying to improve the environmental performance of the Alcoa lignite mine and smelter near Rockdale. A recent settlement led by Neighbors for Neighbors exposed a multi-year pattern of Clean Air Act violations at Alcoa, and succeeded in securing major emissions improvements. Ms. Woods and Neighbors for Neighbors continue to work with Alcoa on groundwater issues. The utility plants powering the Alcoa smelter (later slated to close) were fed by 6 million tons of lignite (a low-BTU grade of soft coal) a year from its 14,000-acre lignite strip mine in Milam county. Alcoa had entered into agreements with the San Antonio Water Service to sell it 40,000 to 60,000 acre-feet of groundwater, drawn from the mines. Ms. Woods and other citizens were concerned that this pumpage would dry up local wells, draining this portion of the Simsboro aquifer, a section of the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer that runs through central Texas.
Interview InformationOctober 17, 2003
Reels 2263 and 2264