Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"We're from the Government. We're here to help you."

I suspect those living on a former US Navy station in California might gag at hearing that.  The Bay Citizen reports:

Radioactive contamination at the Treasure Island Naval Station, where San Francisco plans to build a high-rise community for 20,000 residents, is more widespread than previously disclosed, according to a new U.S. Navy report and other documents obtained by The Bay Citizen.

Although the Navy and one state agency say cleanup has been effective and remaining radiation levels are low, the state Department of Public Health expressed alarm as recently as May, saying earlier studies showing fewer radioactive sites led to a botched cleanup effort and the potential spread of contaminants both on and off the island.

. . .

The draft report, dated Aug. 6, marks the first time the Navy has fully acknowledged that the island, created from landfill in 1937, was used as a repair and salvage operation for a Pacific fleet exposed to atomic blasts during the Cold War. The report came in response to state regulators, who pressed for details after cleanup workers found radioactive waste in unexpected locations.

Known potential sources of radiation on the island included a nuclear training ship intentionally doused in radiation and even glow-in-the-dark buttons handed out at the 1939-1940 Golden Gate International Exposition held on the island.

. . .

Treasure Island was a 1940s ground zero for repairing, scrapping, recycling and incinerating material from ships that might have absorbed radiation from atomic bomb tests in the Pacific. One shop repaired cannon sights containing radioactive glow-in-the-dark material. And, the Navy has acknowledged, the training ship sites might not be radiation-free after all.

There's more at the link.

The problem here is, we're dealing with not only California, which is bad enough, but San Francisco itself (a.k.a. Moonbat Central).  Many of those raising objections may be vehemently opposed to nuclear programs on principle, and using this issue to gain publicity and/or whip up public fear when that's not justified.  On the other hand, it certainly looks as if the US Navy and its contractors have been less than forthcoming about the history of the base and nuclear-related issues there.  There's also the possibility (far from remote, IMHO) that the city and state agencies involved are all trying to get their oar into the dispute in the hope of getting federal government funding to use for their parts of the puzzle.  The result is a miasma of claims, counter-claims, fear, uncertainty and doubt, in which it's probably too late to ascertain the whole truth.

I submit that this mess is what happens when government departments - local, state or federal - think they can simply ignore the public and deal with such problems in their own way.  Accountability is key!  I certainly expected better than this from the US Navy.  I'm profoundly disappointed to see that at least some of its departments don't appear to have learned the lessons of recent history in that regard.



B said...

Yeah, but how radioactive is is it, really??

"radiation levels found on the island are too low to endanger human health – only slightly higher than natural radiation found in ordinary backyards.".

This is, after all,California we are talking about, where the Barking Moonbat is given credence.

zdogk9 said...

Hell! Mr. B, the Barking Moonbat has usurped the California Grizzly as the state animal.

Rev. Paul said...

Come to think of it, the background radiation might account for the whole "barking moonbat" thing ... :)

Old NFO said...

Meh... If "I" remember correctly, the EPA came in around 1991/92 and surveyed Mare Island, Treasure Island and NAS Moffett Field for contamination and declared all three EPA Superfund sites. The Feds were supposed to clean em up, since the Navy had NO money appropriated for that, nor could they get any. I 'know' Moffett never got cleaned up, which is why NASA Ames is still there and now footing bills. Mare Island and TI, I have no clue on.