The group known as PODER - People Organized in Defense of Earth and Her Resources - is enjoying a renewed surge of energy these days. The environmental justice group is taking a lead role in raising city hall's consciousness about unfair zoning practices in industry-clogged East Austin. PODER organized in 1991 in response to fears that Austin's high-tech wave would bring chemical spills and hazardous waste dumping that would systematically destroy East Austin neighborhoods. PODER executive director Susana Almanza began meeting with high-tech officials on a regular basis to ensure their plants' vigilance in matters of public health and safety, and a few years back the group closed the notorious gasoline tank farm situated smack dab in a residential neighborhood. As PODER's influence grows, expect to hear more from this group in coming years.
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