Monday, October 29, 2007

Superfund site update meeting in Scottsdale on November 15

Earlier today, the East Valley Tribune published a story about an upcoming community meeting to be held by the EPA regarding the status of cleanup activities at the North Indian Bend Wash Superfund site.

From the article -
Federal environmental officials plan to hold a public meeting Nov. 15 on Motorola’s request to remove equipment that filters suspected cancer-causing chemicals from the air at a south Scottsdale Superfund treatment site.

Given that I live in the affected area, my interest was piqued, to say the least.

I contacted Vicki Rosen, the EPA community involvement coordinator handling the event for more info (her name and number is in the article).

Turns out that the article is accurate as far as it goes, but isnt quite complete.

After reading the article, particularly the part about Motorola wanting to be allowed to pollute the area more (not to save money and enhance their profit margin, of course :) ), I called Ms. Rosen for more info.

She characterized the meeting as a "common" community involvement meeting where emissions controls will just be a small part of the meeting agenda.

She later emailed the meeting notice to me, and yes, it does seem to be a "normal" meeting. The meeting's discussion will have a strong "trichloroethylene" (TCE) element, but that's to be expected - it's the primary pollutant contaminating the North Indian Bend Wash Superfund site.

These meetings have been held periodically over the last few years to provide information, address community concerns and answer questions.

Also done on a periodic basis is Motorola's attempt to wriggle off of the cleanup hook, and that's probably where Ari Cohn, the Trib reporter who wrote today's article, got the theme of the piece.

Ms. Rosen was clear on the EPA's position that it does not support the removal of carbon filters as Motorola has requested.

On the other hand, while the article may be a *little* alarmist, when you can read about ExxonMobil's efforts to get out of paying for the Exxon Valdez spill and how they are turning to the U.S. Supreme Court to get off the hook for billions of dollars in damages or how the White House censors scientific reports on global warming or that FEMA holds fake news conferences, well, it's easy to get alarmed when a government agency, a huge multinational corporation, and our health and safety all get tangled together.

Note: None of this is meant to be a dig at Cohn - he does a great job covering Scottsdale for the Trib. This issue just highlights one of the problems with the growing regionalization and/or centralization of the news media. The Trib only has a couple of people covering Scottsdale's happenings and there's no way a couple of people can completely cover a growing city of Scottsdale's size. Anybody doing the job, even someone with Cohn's ability, is occasionally going to miss some of the nuances and history behind a "current" story.

Anyway, the meeting will be at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 2nd Floor, 7384 E. Second St. on November 15 from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

If you live in or near south Scottsdale, this is a meeting worth attending.


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