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Report: Pollution spikes despite years of cleanup
Original post made
on Oct 4, 2010
Despite nearly three decades of clean-up efforts at a central Palo Alto Superfund site, groundwater contamination from a leaky underground chemical tank has dramatically concentrated in some small areas, according to a new water-quality report.
Read the full story here Web Link
posted Monday, October 4, 2010, 8:10 PM
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Posted by Kevin
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 19, 2010 at 1:38 pm
This witchhunt has a silver lining, because it provides, from the public record, the anatomy of a political shakedown.
This link to a 1996 SF Gate article shows the major players, as well as the strategies involved in getting monies to shakedown a major American corporation (HP).
Note that one of the early players was Susan Covey:
""It made me uncomofortable to know that there had been leaks," said Susan Covey, a Palo Alto attorney and association (Barron Park Association, BPA) member. "I wanted to find out the impact and to see how safe it was"".
Note: Sue Covey did not live in Barron Park at the time, she lived in College Terrace. I called a couple of friends who live over in CT, and they tell me that she was an activist in CT in the early 1980s. Thus it should be no surprise, that:
"Other residents felt the same way, and began exploring ways to become involved in the cleanup".
Activist groups tried to get the Stanford Industial Park, now the Stanford Research Park, to put unrealistic toxic limits on research corporations. For example, ALZA came under severe criticism, and it finally left Palo Alto, along with its jobs and tax base.
"State and Hewlett-Packard investigoators later (than 1982, when a leak in a tank and pipes was found by HP) determined that the contamination at both sites posed no immediate danger to resisents. But the sites had to be cleaned up to fulfill state environmental requirements."
This is the opening required for the shakedown groups: There is no real danger, but there IS a requirment to clean up the leak. Does anyone smell money here? Well, BPA certainly did, since they pressured the federal govenment to give them two 'grants' (aka shakedown payouts), to "monitor" the cleanup. What did BPA do with their booty?:
"The money was used to hire an independent technical consultant, who helped school residents in the intricacies of toxic waste cleanup". Another way to read this sentence is, "If the masses don't get scared about your witchhunt, then hire a professional witch, using U.S. taxpayer money".
Perhaps Bob Moss can tell us who the "independent technical consultant" was. Of course there should also be a public report issued for that kind of money. If so, Bob, please tell us where we can find it in the public record.
The more interesting thing is that HP wanted avoid the kind of fight that ALZA went through, so it did a 'community relations' response to the shakedown:
"There were times when the association and HP disagreed on how the cleanup should proceed. For example, residents asked the company build further extraction wells that HP technical staff considered unnecessay. Such issues were resolved, Thark (HP community relations specialist)said, becasue the residents believed in the company's commitment to the cleanup."
It got even better, because the BPA shakedown became a model for much larger shakedowns, nationwide:
"The federal program has distributed about $6M in grants to grassroots groups nationwide" (citing the BPA as the model for such largesse).
"Lenny Siegel, a Mountain View-based environmentalist, believes it could be a model for other communities dealing with toxic waste..."
Quite a model, where a relative non-issue, such as the HP leak, gets ginned up into a toxic mass scare, with neighbors fearing cancer and newborns with three heads, a small group of activists with agendas drive the shakedown directly into a by-off by the very businesses that they originally targeted. Then the model gets expanded nationwide into new levels of government power, controlled by the very same activists who created the witchhunt in the first place.
Neat trick. But a very costly one for those of us who live in Palo Alto, and who would like the the HPs of this world to come and stay here.
It is time that Bob Moss, and BPA come clean on this issue: Name the names of the original movers, the EPA investigaor who knocked on the door of BPA, the consultant hired with our money to "school" us, as well as proof (original sources only, Bob) that there is any realistic cause for concern from the HP leak.