This morning, I once again awoke indoors in Beaumont, CA with a scratchy throat and stuffy nose. We are miles away from any fire devastation yet are feeling the consequences. ‘Snow’ floats down onto housing tracts and farms from Los Angeles to Phoenix. An orange sky stretches seemingly forever north, south, east and west of Beaumont and the Inland Empire. At first it reminded me of the Southern California fire storm that hit a few years ago after my partner and I moved to CA.
Then, I remembered that those fires reminded me of the environmental consequences of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. You have the odors that are unexpected and ill-defined. You have the constant particulate matter in the air. And you have difficulty breathing and shortly will have Bush, the Bush Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, a Republican Governor, and Republican local officials lying to the affected citizenry.
More below the flip…
During the days, weeks, months, and even years following the terrorist attacks, Bush and his cronies lied constantly to the people of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Christine Todd Whitman, former Governor of New Jersey, and EPA Director under Bush, came repeatedly to New York to assure that there was no deleterious effects from the fallout. Gov. George Pataki, R-NY and Mayor Rudy Guiliani, R-NY chimed in similarly. As the New York-area firefighters and other workers at Ground Zero now know, these people were Liars, Liars, and Liars.
The Federal Government has the responsibilty through Executive Order and Congressional mandate that U.S. citizens and residents be protected during a National Disaster.
In 1970, a U.S. Senate report on Section 303 of the Clean Air Act stated:
“The levels of concentration of air pollution agents or combination of agents which substantially endanger health are levels which should never be reached in any community. When the prediction can reasonably be made that such elevated levels could be reached even for a short period of time-that is that they are imminent-an emergency action plan should be implemented.”
In 1972, the Clean Water Act extended the scope of the National Contingency Plan:
“With the passage of the Clean Water Act of 1972, the scope of the National Contingency Plan (NCP) is extended to cover hazardous substance releases in addition to oil spills.”
In February 1988, the Emergeny Planning and Community-Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA) stated:
“A final rule is issued on the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). The rule states a “community right-to-know” public notification must be issued whenever there is a spill of any carcinogen in concentrations over 0.1 percent.”
In 1992, The Federal Response Plan (FRP) is finalized and becomes Public Law 93-288. The FRP provides”
“a process and structure for the systematic, coordinated, and effective delivery of Federal assistance to address the consequences of any major disaster or emergency declared under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.”
The FRP can be enacted by the President in times of emergency. Once invoked, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) coordinates the efforts of any Emergency Support Functions (ESF) involved. In the event of a hazardous materials release, the EPA is charged with overseeing the federal government’s response. The Federal Response Team (FRT) and Regional Response Teams (RRTs) are charged with
“carry[ing] out their duties and responsibilities as put forth in the NCP [National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan] (see 1972) and agency implementing procedures.”
Given the loss of 1,700 or more homes, businesses, and other structures, the destruction of countless vehicles and storage containers, and the burning of about 500,000 acres of Southern California, I wonder how much hazardous material has been released into the air over Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada? During the Santa Anas of Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, October 21 – 24, 2007, the prevailing winds pushed a significant amount of the pollutants several hundred miles out over the Pacific Ocean. Since the Santa Anas ceased, the prevailing wind currents have pushed the pollutants back ashore, across the San Diego and Los Angeles basins through Orange, Ventura, Imperial, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties and into Arizona and Nevada. Apparently, the pollutants have even extended as far north as Silicon Valley. Residents of Southern California are cautioned to stay indoors, to avoid exercise outdoors, and to wear masks outdoors.
Given the evisceration of the Environmental Protection Agency under Bush and his business cronies, I wonder to what extent, the EPA will be in the forefront to protect the health and lives of millions of people. Given the history of lies from the Bush Administration and their incompetent and avaricious minions, I doubt that we can trust them at all in this arena.