Last week, Tiffany Kelly reported on community concerns about a proposed five-year-long project to remove debris and mud above Devil’s Gate Dam.
Kelly reported that neighbors have said that the project “could be environmentally destructive and affect the health of a neighborhood that includes several schools.”
The real concern is not the traffic, not the dirt and not some imaginary worry about “the environment.” The elephant in the room is cancer.
As a La Cañadan, I adore JPL. I’m in favor of space exploration. I love technology. I am in favor of the future. But we must remember that in 1997, JPL was sued by neighbors who alleged that “the lab's past chemical disposal practices caused cancer in dozens of local residents.” (Riccardi, “JPL's Toxic Waste Caused Cancer, Suit Says” Los Angeles Times, Sept. 23, 1997.) Many of the plaintiffs (or their deceased relatives) had been students at St. Bede School. Others lived in neighborhoods served by a specific water company.