Where's the West Dallas RSR Lead Poisoning Superfund?Mon Sep 24, 2012 09:46220.127.116.11Where's the West Dallas RSR Lead Poisoning Superfund?
With 11,000 Dead, and 15,000? Dying, is the U.S. Gov'ts Work Done?
If We Can Give $1 Trillion to Wall St. We Can Give a Few Billion to Dallasites Suffering and Dying!!
Presented to the Dallas City Council by Richard P. Sheridan, P.E.,N.Y.-Activist www.RichardPSheridanPE@gmail.com
Lead is a poison to human beings, and children are the most susceptible to its toxicity. Most people who are lead poisoned initially present no symptoms at all, and can seem healthy. However, in time, lead poisoning can show itself, and can cause some major neurological problems, mental disorders, hearing, and speech problems, and learning disabilities which some Whites’, to deflect responsibility, would interpret as just a characteristic of the Black race, and not caused by any disease. Yes, there is a major racist aspect of the RSR case. Lead poisoning can also lead to hepatitis, osteoporosis, bone disease, cancer, damage to kidneys, heart, intestines, and reproductive systems, and also can cause major weight loss, abdominal pain, vomiting, or nausea, and seizures. Unless a doctor knew the disease was from lead, another cause could be assumed. Lead doesn't have to be found in the blood to be present in the body. It wasn't until the latter half of the 20th century that we began to realize how just a small amount of lead can be bad for our health. As we have learned the lead standards have changed. In 1986 the US Environmental Protection Agency established 50 ppb as the maximum allowable level of lead in drinking water. Five years later the EPA, in 1991, dropped this number to 15 ppb because they found that 130 million people were exposed to the unacceptable level, former standard of 50 ppb.
The RSR Lead smelter facility operated for about 50 years from 1934 to 1986, on a 50 total acre multiple location site in West Dallas, with the smelter itself at the intersection of Westmoreland and Singleton on 6.5 acres, next to the Thomas A. Edison school. The total area of lead contamination from the plant's lead air pollution, and the size of the Superfund site is about 14 square miles, and is almost totally included in Councilmember Alonzo's District 6, and partly included in Councilmember Griggs' District 3, with a population today of about 30,000, with about 34% Blacks, and 45% Hispanics. It wasn't part of the Dallas until 1954 when it was annexed. It had been primarily a Black, poverty stricken area for many years. In 1956 a 3,500 unit HUD public housing complex was built just north of the lead smelter, 50 ft from the smelter's property line. In 1968 the City enacted an ordinance prohibiting no more than 5 micrograms per cubic meter in the air surrounding the plant. (Today's EPA standard is 0.15 micrograms per cubic meter, 33 times lower than Dallas initial standard). This went unenforced because in the 1960s RSR Corp released more than 269 tons of lead particles into the air each year, and it would have been a great expense to RSR to install pollution control equipment. It wasn't until 1972 that Dallas Officials learned that lead could be finding its way into the blood of children who lived in West Dallas. The City sued RSR in 1974, requiring the installation of air pollution control equipment. In 1983, 9 years later, RSR had still not installed the lead removal equipment. In 1984, the Dallas Alliance Environmental Task Force, empowered by the Dallas City Council to investigate the lead pollution, found the following, "We believe the city had missed many opportunities to serve and protect the community at large, and two neighborhoods in particular in relation to the lead problem. It is clear that the state and federal governments have also failed to regulate an industry of this type with regard to the general welfare of its citizens." In 1983, Dallas filed a lawsuit against RSR, and the plant closed in 1984. In 1987 Dallas completed the courts public health program.
In 1985, an out-of-court $20 million settlement was reached between RSR Corp and Attorney Fred Baron who represented 370 children and 40 property owners. In 1991 a community group called the West Dallas Coalition for Environmental Justice brought a Class Action suit against the EPA. As a result, in 1993 the Clinton Administration declared that West Dallas was the largest lead-contaminated Superfund site in the United States. Up to a 16 square mile area, including the RSR site, the Nations largest housing complex, and 5 schools were initially slated for cleanup. By project completion, 400 residential properties, and over 300 acres of commercial properties were cleaned up. In 2005 the EPA declared the RSR site and all of West Dallas safe, and ready for reuse or redevelopment. (Most of the above is from Wikipedia). West Dallas may be physically safe and clean of lead today, but like the Town Crier he's been, William Hopkins has been coming before the City Council about 14 years saying that people are dying in West Dallas from the lead poisoning by RSR. Otis Fagan has also been coming before the City Council stating that about 11,000 have died, and about 15,000 are dying of lead poisoning. Mr. Fagan also claims that the City of Dallas is refusing to comply with a court order which requires Dallas to facilitate a financial settlement in a case with the people Mr. Fagan represents, which represents a small portion of the total number of claims or the total number lead poisoned. Mr. Fagan has stated that the total possible financial settlement to ALL dead, poisoned, debilitated, or dying from lead poisoning could be as much as $26 billion.
Here are some very disturbing allegations about the West Dallas RSR lead poisoning Superfund case:
1. The FBI broke into someone's home and stole important records on lead poisoning claimants.
2. There is not a death certificate in Dallas County for anyone who has died in West Dallas stating the cause of death is from lead poisoning.
3. Years after the smelter closed, when people were applying for compensation and health care, a person was denied compensation, denied coverage in the lawsuit because their blood tests did not show the presence of lead. In time, lead in the blood stream will be absorbed into various body organs. Someone can be lead poisoned without lead showing up in their blood.
4. Part of the reason for Texas Tort reform in the '90s was the RSR Superfund site, at the time it was going public, and the lawyers were beginning to really get involved. The purpose of the Tort Reform was to reduce the liabilities, the financial payments of industries getting multi-million dollar personal injury claims against them like RSR had, and would be receiving. Karl Rove, former President George W. Bush's political mastermind, orchestrated this Tort reform which significantly reduced the financial settlement to the plaintiffs, to the victims of Texas industries/businesses.
5. In some of the legal settlements, Church pastors compromised the settlement, excluded some church member claimants from compensation, and in exchange they received compensation in the form of church "improvements". Claimants that received compensation were the "best" church members, the best tithers.
6. In some of the sites cleaned up virtually no cleanup was done, but hundreds of thousands, if not millions in bogus charges were paid to contractors, and to lawyers.
7. Many of the 15,000 people now ill, and dying of lead poisoning are receiving no health care benefits, no "pain and suffering" compensation, no funeral costs, and they are living at or below the poverty level.
I am a degreed Engineer, with a Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering 1970, and a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering in 1969, both from Manhattan College, N.Y. I received a Professional Engineers license from New York State in 1974. I was the project manager on one of the biggest hazardous waste contaminated sites in the San Francisco Bay area in 1980. When the story of GEs Oakland, California PCB contaminated site broke the news in 1981 you'd think there was a Martian landing. What I found from that General Electric project, and many other industrial waste projects, and from my Dallas business, and political experiences since, is that it is usually always the intent of industry/business to maximize profits by minimizing the cost or liability in cleaning up industrial pollution by passing this cost on to people's suffering, or environmental degradation. The State of Texas has been cited by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., one of the Nations best Environmental Defense lawyers, as the most polluted state in the United States. This, according to Kennedy, is the clear manifestation of Fascism. Major industries don't want to pay all the costs of cleaning up their water and air pollutions. Texas "business friendly culture" means our governments are soft on polluters. Former Region 6 EPA director Al Almendarez was forced to resign because of his intent to be hard on Texas polluters.
When a contaminated site became a Superfund site it meant our Federal Government, it meant ALL the people of the United States, WE THE PEOPLE, assumed the responsibility for the cleanup In EPA’s regulations they state that a Superfund site is cleaned up until it ensures and provides for the long term protection of human health and the environment. With an alleged 15,000 lead poisoned people now dying is EPA’s, is We the People's work done? Have the 15,000 poisoned health been protected? How can anyone say yes?
Much work needs to be done to save the lives, and improve the health of 15,000 people, people who are dying everyday! We must not get bogged down, or diverted from the Big Picture, in local, segmented lawsuits. We must join together in the. The Big Picture approach which is that the RSR lead poisoning case IS STILL A SUPERFUND PROJECT, and must be brought back to the EPA, and perhaps to the Supreme Court of the United States for true justice to be served because of the massive corruption of this case at the city, county, state, and federal levels. West Dallas is an in completed U.S. Government Superfund site, and therefore a responsibility of WE THE PEOPLE, the will of WE THE PEOPLE, and to executed through our elected officials. The money is there to do what is necessary, and this is a major moment of decision, and judgment on the City of Dallas. Will the City of Dallas IMMEDIATELY do what is necessary to bring health care to the 15,000 now dying of lead poisoning, and to bring justice, and financial compensation to ALL those who have suffered dearly? God is watching, and per Revelation 20:12, He will be judging...soon, very soon.
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