Archive for air quality

VIDEO: Parallels between 9/11 & BP oil disaster: Government collusion with big business to cover up health effects

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The Big Fix - New Orleans Premiere - Hugh Kaufman from Jason Berry on Vimeo.

The Big Fix - New Orleans Premiere - Press Question 1 from Jason Berry on Vimeo.

I've relied on my longtime pal and excellent source Hugh Kaufman , (senior policy analyst with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response) for many a post, as you can see here. Now you can see why.

The Big Fix Press Conference, in New Olreans, LA, October 14, 2011. EPA Whistleblower, Hugh Kaufman, discusses the parallels between the 9-11 disaster and the BP oil disaster in regards to the government's collusion with big business to cover up the health effects.

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Health Problems Persist Among 9/11 First Responders

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One of my best sources for environmental stories is Hugh Kaufman, (senior policy analyst with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response). He's a fierce advocate for protecting this planet, so when he contacts me, I pay attention.

Hugh sent me this link to the Environment News Service's report on the cover-up of the toxic air quality after the 9/11 attacks, the health problems that continue to plague first responders, and the battle to get them help:

Thousands of rescue workers from across the country are still experiencing respiratory illness, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder, and many of them may be at increased risk of developing cancers, particularly thyroid cancer, melanoma and lymphoma.

In 2002, the National Ombudsman predicted this would happen after looking into the EPA's response to the attacks.

However.

The EPA got rid of the Ombudsman, right in the middle of an investigation of... the EPA lying about the deadly environmental effects of the attacks. So much for accountability. No Ombudsman, no investigation. No investigation, no accountability. As the Staples commercial says, "That was easy."

The EPA promised a trusting public that the air was safe. Well, guess again, EPA and public.

My buddy the whistleblower, and former Ombudsman Chief Investigator Hugh Kaufman, has been trying to restore the office of said Ombudsman, and of course, resume nosing around for the truth about the garbage that passed for air back in 2001:

At a public hearing with scientists, residents, and small business owners in February 2002, Ombudsman Chief Investigator Kaufman directly accused the EPA and other government agencies of deliberately not testing the air quality around the World Trade Center properly and covering up the reasons why thorough tests were not conducted.

"I believe EPA did not do that because they knew it would come up not safe and so they are involved in providing knowingly false information to the public about safety," said Kaufman.

Hearings revealed that EPA officials refused to follow rules to protect residents of Lower Manhattan from carcinogenic asbestos. They also found that the EPA knew that the outdoor and indoor air was unsafe, and insurance companies got out of paying claims.

In 2003, The EPA Inspector General "found that the Bush White House skewed EPA press releases and that 'the desire to reopen Wall Street' factored into EPA statements." Once again, corporate people trumped real people.

But Hugh isn't one to give up or give in:

Chief Investigator Kaufman was placed in another job but he kept up his legal fight to restore the Ombudsman office through the Bush years.

After the Obama administration came in, it continued to resist Kaufman's legal action. The case is currently before the Department of Labor Administrative Review Board.

President Obama did sign a law to help 9/11 workers (one that the GOP tried to filibuster) that allowed payments up to $2.8 billion, but it doesn't cover post-traumatic stress or cancer.

Last week a petition was filed to add cancer, which IMHO should have been a given from the beginning.

A whole lot of people owe Hugh a whole lot of gratitude.

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Feinberg: Clean-up workers will be compensated, even when they get sick years later

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As Hugh Kaufman just said to me an in e-mail, "Hooray for Nadler and Feinberg!"  He rarely says things like that. What could be the reason for such joy? Positive news.

It's so novel to hear good news these days. Why, here's the hooray-worthy story now!

Kenneth Feinberg, in his new role overseeing compensation for oil spill victims, told a congressional committee Wednesday that he believes BP PLC should be made to pay for injuries that occur during clean-up.

The question has come up before, as lawmakers wondered about the long-term health effects of chemical dispersants used in the Gulf of Mexico.

As for Nadler, please check out my earlier posts on his efforts to get answers here (scroll down).

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said that flexibility to allow such claims is important because, as happened after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, it can take years for people to develop health problems after a disaster.

Without accurate and honest air contamination testing by EPA and OSHA for baseline and preventive actions, Feinberg's system to compensate folks for health damages will not work.

Hugh wrote in his e-mail:

As of now the EPA and OSHA air testing, like in the 911 WTC, is part of the cover-up. EPA Head Lisa Jackson admitted this in a tv interview, when she said EPA was testing the air so they could tell the pubic that the air is safe (not to identify the magnitude of the problem):

Most of my Hugh Kaufman-related posts are here, but please, please, watch him in this video. It's a great overview of much of the information I've passed on to you from him.

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