Texas signed off on the restoration of this old coal mine. Now a leaky landfill is contaminating groundwater.
The town hasn’t recovered. School enrollment has dropped 17 percent over the last decade, and the proportion of economically disadvantaged students has increased from 53 percent to 68 percent. Bobby Dhaliwal, a Rockdale native who works at his family’s Shell gas station downtown, said business has fallen by half since Alcoa and Luminant halted operations.