Maybe it’s the good kind of uranium that turns you into Spider-Man or the Incredible Hulk and not the bad kind of uranium that turns you into Thyroid Cancer Man – one of the lesser-known Marvel superheroes. ProPublica has come out with an investigation entitled “The Cold War Legacy Lurking in U.S. Groundwater.” After World War II, the Cold War started between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. because the rich needed to stop the damn Communists from pushing their furry hats on everyone! There was a feverish need to build loads of nuclear weapons. To do that, the U.S. needed uranium, and its ruling class didn’t care how they got it. More than 50 uranium mines popped up across the Western U.S. But they didn’t just turn our weapons radioactive.
As a retired U.S. Army colonel with 29 years of military service, I am very disappointed at the military’s continued lack of transparency on the 2021 jet fuel spills at Red Hill — and now, the lack of sensitivity on the recent spill of 1,300 gallons of a toxic firefighting foam. The AFFF (aqueous film forming foam) apparently billowed up inside an entrance tunnel of the underground jet fuel storage complex, and the foam tide flowed over 100 meters along and into the ground outside of the tunnel and down the hill. Just as with the Navy initially stating there was no video of the 19,000 gallons of jet fuel spewing jet-fuel spill. There are many photos of the release of AFFF/PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as “forever for 34 hours in November 2021 and then having to admit there was a video when it was released by a whistleblower, causing public outrage, the holding back from the public of the video of the 1,300 gallons of AFFF is going to cause even more outrage.
Toledo, Ohio (WTVG) - The Toledo Lucas County Port Authority board has approved a $400 million bond for a salmon fishing facility in Williams County, but many locals are not happy with the decision. A group of advocates attended a Port Authority board meeting Thursday morning to talk about how they believe this facility could harm drinking water. The AquaBounty facility will be allowed to take more than five million gallons of water per day out of the Michindoh Aquifer, a large freshwater source. The water will then be dumped back into the St. Joseph River. Those two sources provide drinking water for thousands of people. Sherry Fleming is the chair person of the Williams County Alliance and says this is a huge concern for her community. “Fresh water is such a critical, essential resource for survival for all life,” says Fleming.
Many military and civilian families living on military bases around Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i have been outspoken that they felt ill before the November 2021 massive Red Hill jet fuel leak…and they were right! Recently released data shows that their water was contaminated by jet fuel in the summer of 2021 and they were feeling effects of poisoning long before November 2021. Interviews with ten families published in an extensive December 21, 2021 Washington Post article “Military families say they were ill months before jet-fuel leak brought scrutiny to Pearl Harbor’s tap water,” record that family members shared physicians’ notes, emails and visual records documenting symptoms that, in some cases, dated back to late spring, 2021.
The U.S. military’s massive public relations machine produces news releases, articles, films and spends millions of dollars on civilian media contractors to create content for recruiting and selling national security priorities to the American public. Yet, with all the media assets available to the Department of Defense and each of the military services, the actions of senior civilian and military leadership make it impossible for one of the world’s biggest media conglomerates to dig itself out of the hellhole of the Navy’s Red Hill jet fuel contamination of the drinking water of 93,000 in Hawai’i and lack of medical resources for those poisoned by jet fuel. For example, on September 29, 2022, the Secretary of Defense, retired 4-star Army general, Lloyd Austin, arrived on the island of O’ahu to take a tour of the 80-year-old underground jet fuel tanks that in late November 2021 spewed for 35 hours 19,000 gallons of jet fuel down a tunnel hallway, under a raised door and directly into the Red Hill drinking water well and into a part of the aquifer of Honolulu.
When it comes to environmental toxins, many of us conjure images of industrial smokestacks, but unfortunately, they aren’t in just the most obvious places, but they’re everywhere in our daily lives – in the water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we eat, the products we use on our body, in our homes and our gardens. These toxins with enough concentration can wreak havoc on our health with major threats that include cancer-causing carcinogens, and other substances that upend cardiovascular, endocrine, and respiratory functions, as well as, lead to chronic illness. As scientists and healthcare workers are understanding more and more about the effects of these toxins and not only how they affect us, but how they may trigger other problems within our bodies, the need for us to figure out how to limit our exposure is becoming more important.
The City of Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, is in crisis. Its 150,000 residents lack access to safe drinking water. Many have not had enough water to bathe or flush their toilets. Those with enough water pressure are being instructed to shower with their mouths closed. Public schools have been closed. The immediate crisis was brought about by severe flooding, which caused a water treatment plant to fail. But the problems with Jackson's water supply date back decades. The integration of public schools in the 1960s prompted an exodus of affluent whites from Jackson, eroding the city's economic resources. Jackson's declining economic fortunes also prompted the departure of middle-class Blacks, causing an overall population decline. The city went from over 200,000 people in 1980 to less than 150,000 people today. More than a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line. Mississippi is the poorest state in the nation, but Jackson is even poorer than the state as a whole. Per capita income is just $21,906.
Jackson, Mississippi - Residents of Jackson, Mississippi, a city of 150,000 that is 82.5 percent Black, have not had reliable access to clean water for five days. On Monday, the Pearl River flooded from extreme rainfall, and caused the main water treatment plant to fail, resulting in low to no water pressure. A second treatment plant has simultaneously been having issues with its water pumps. If residents are getting any tap water at all, it’s brown. All this is happening while Jackson is facing extreme heat. Residents have faced long lines in order to get cases of bottled water, of which the city is running out. All schools have switched to remote learning since Tuesday.
New York City - Adjacent to the Hudson River, along the west side of Manhattan, are some of the world’s most valuable commercial and residential properties: townhouses and mixed-use developments like Hudson Yards and much-loved public spaces like Hudson River Park and the Hudson River Greenway, which unite city residents and visitors with the river. But those civic and private investments often end at the water’s edge. Just offshore lie neglected and largely dysfunctional shallow water habitats. The Hudson River Foundation, where I serve as president, has long sought to address the myriad problems plaguing this vital waterway. Despite substantial progress over the past 40 years, the river continues to carry the burden of polychlorinated biphenyl compounds, or PCBs, that were frequently dumped into it during the 20th century and are likely carcinogenic to humans.
A dramatic video hidden for 6 months by the Navy of the 34 hours showing 20,000 gallons of jet fuel spraying into a Red Hill tunnel and disappearing into a floor drain that sent thousands of gallons into the water supply of 93,000 residents surfaced on July 5 after an undisclosed Navy employee made public a video that the Navy continued to maintain did not exist. What little good will for the Navy that was left in the civilian and military community of Honolulu has disappeared as the Navy continues to lie about the Red Hill jet fuel contamination of the drinking water of 93,000.
It took the Department of Defense (DOD) 3 years to begin work on shutting down the tanks after the decision was made. The decision to close and remove the original 33 underground fuel storage tanks and construct six new above-ground tanks was made in 2018 but work did not begin to close down the facility until July 2021. Each of the six new, above ground tanks will be able to contain 5.2 million gallons of JP-5 carrier jet fuel or F-76 marine diesel fuel in 64-foot-tall, 140-foot-wide tanks constructed of welded steel columns with supported fixed cone roofs. Approximately 75 million gallons are stored at Manchester Fuel Depot now. At that rate, it would take eighteen+ years to defuel and close Red Hill, assuming it holds 180 million gallons of fuel.
On March 7, 2022 Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered the defueling and closure of the 80-year-old leaking 250 million gallon jet fuel tanks at Red Hill on the island of O’ahu, Hawai’i. The order came 95 days after a catastrophic 19,000-gallon leak of jet fuel into one of the drinking water wells operated by the U.S. Navy. The drinking water of over 93,000 persons was contaminated, including the water of many military and civilian families living on military bases. Hundreds went to emergency rooms for treatment of rashes, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea and seizures. The military placed thousands of military families in hotels Waikiki resorts for over 3 months while civilians were left to find their own accommodations.
Bobby Jones has been fishing on the Neuse River since he was a young boy but he doesn’t fish in the river anymore because he says the fish are poisoned. It’s a hell of a thing. Bobby says PFAS are bad, but it’s only part of a larger story of the contamination of the Neuse River and its fish. The four of us met, along with my brother Mike, at the local Starbucks over a cup of coffee and blueberry muffins. We discussed exactly where to collect samples of the Neuse River as close as we could get to the careless use of fire-fighting foam near Building 4735 on the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. These pursuits are always logistical challenges. Obviously, we wanted to get as close as we could get to documented releases of the carcinogens on base.
In late November, military families were sickened by fuel ingestion, including babies with rashes, after the tap water source for some 93,000 people in the Pearl Harbor area was contaminated. The military initially denied any problems, then confirmed that recent leaks at the Navy’s underground Red Hill fuel storage facility were to blame and promised to clean up the mess. It suspended operations at the World War II-era tank farm but spent months fighting efforts to close the facility altogether, fending off criticism during public hearings and arguing the state lacked the power to enforce an order to drain the fuel. Then last week, the Department of Defense reversed itself and agreed to shut it all down.
The slow roll has begun. With transparency thrown out the window, the Navy’s announced on January 26 that it would release only the summary of the report on how jet fuel got into the water supply. “When the review is complete, we expect the Navy to provide a summary of the conclusions in a public release,” the chief of information for the Navy declared. The Navy has released full reports of previous leaks from the Red Hill tanks. The full report was given to the Commander of the US Navy’s Pacific Command, 12 days ago on January 14 and the completed report was only acknowledged on January 24. The Sierra Club’s attorney David Kimo Frankel said, “The Navy continues to stonewall the public.”