Saturday, September 7, 2013

Where Others Fear to Tread

This very insightful report about the leak in the Oleum line at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant on July 1, 2012 needs to be seen and saved somewhere. The TV station where it was originally broadcast WDBJ7, is a CBS affiliate owned by Schurz Communications. The station manager there has reportedly gotten "push back" in phone calls from the Pentagon. It seems this particular reporter's "tough questioning," of the U.S. Army is not to their liking, so they called this news station to advise them on how to choose reporters to cover news about their dirty deeds. WDBJ7 has since deleted this and other videos showing RAAP in their true colors from their public access. The reporter (Orlando Salinas) who had the cajones to ask the U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command the obvious, pointed questions about how much danger our community was in the night of July 1st  deserves to have his REAL JOURNALISM seen far and wide. At the very least, you would think CBS News would be interested in the story about the story...Please share this video link because someone needs to answer for what happened at the Arsenal that night and why no one bothered to warn or protect our community. No one alerted the people living all around the plant that night of an emergency in their midst nor the next day or into the holiday when the ~8,000 gallons or so of acid washed into the New River. Nor did the Virginia DEQ or the EPA issue any violation. It's almost as if the whole incident never really happened, but it surely did happen and people in power know the truth.

The shocking record of how the U.S. Army responded to this reporter might be lost to obscurity, except for the Sun Sentinel link and the intrepid data accumulators at the Right-to-Know Network. This stellar run non-profit (formerly known as the Office of Management and Budget Watch,) puts environmental facts at your fingertips truly enabling citizen participation. The report of the major chemical leak at the Radford Arsenal is a bit of a bug-a-boo to find, though. It does appear under the list of accidents at all BAE facilities in 2012, but for some reason the location given was the Bradford Army Ammunition Plant. Go figure.

Someone - perhaps the former head at Homeland Security who now serves as Chairman of the Board of BAE Systems, should step up and take responsibility for assuring our community this will never happen again. You might think his focus would spur him to want to reassure our community that all safety precautions are indeed being followed at his ammunition plant down the road. Perhaps not. He has not taken the initiative to address the press, including the PBS Newshour. It may be that neither he, nor BAE, nor EPA, DEQ, Senator Mark Warner - non of the people in power seem to have any concern that this could become a public relations issue. I wonder why they're so self-assured?

Could it be that BAE Systems, who became a major corporate underwriter of the PBS Newshour earlier this year, fears no press? He does not seem to be compelled by anyone to be any more accountable for his corporate activities than say, Tony Hayward of British Petroleum. Mr.Chertoff has not been asked by any journalist about how he intends to keep BAE Systems following the law - corporate and environmental - at this plant in Appalachia. No, even Judy Woodruff failed to note his association with their new corporate underwriter when she interviewed Mr. Chertoff on August 1 of this year. An email response from the senior producer of the Newshour informed me that this oversight was being addressed by new policy which would have producers "cross check biographical information..." Really, when was that essential integrity check taken out of the job description for producers?

Seriously, folks this is one dirty, down low operation we're dealing with here!

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