Saturday, May 23, 2015

32 Years Ago Tonight -- I Cross-Examined Oak Ridge DOE and Union Carbide Nuclear Officials On World's Largest Mercury Pollution Event At Meeting of Oak Ridge, Tenn. City Council

As Appalachian Observer Editor, and soon-to-be Memphis State University law student, I was happily cross-examining Department of Energy nuclear weapons plant officials at Oak Ridge, Tennessee City Council. Transcript available on request in PDF.
No three minute limit.
It was in East Tennessee, by God, where men are men, women are women, and government officials are held accountable. It was a place where free people talked back to their government officials, asked questions and demanded answers -- our God-given right as Americans, for which my father jumped out of C-47's and machine-gunned Nazis in North Africa, Sicily and Normandy.
The cleanup of nuclear weapons plants began after that night, when I asked, "Does being DOE mean never having to say you're sorry?" and "If the Soviet Union had dumped … mercury all over Oak Ridge, would that not be considered an act of war?"
(4.2 million pounds of mercury into the workers' lungs and brains, into creeks and ground water, no warnings, no protection, threats of prosecution against anyone who broke the Atomic Energy Commission's and successors oath of omertà.)
Total cost by 2057, my 100th birthday, of cleaning up all U.S. nuclear weapons plants: may exceed $300 billion.
Total payout in flawed workers' compensation system enacted in 2000: $11 billion.
Total days served in prison by miscreant mendacious managers exposing workers and residents to toxics: ZERO.

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