Boiling Frogs-Intel vs. the Village

"Boiling Frogs - Intel vs. the Village" recounts the story of Intel Rio Rancho's impact on the air and water in the Village of Corrales from the mid-1980s to the present day. Updates to this ongoing saga will be posted here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Chinatown - New Mexico Style

Intel is taking three billion gallons of water out of the declining Rio Grande aquifer each and every year - and on top of that, New Mexico is in a serious years-long drought. How long can this go on?
There is an answer - and that is Intel going to the new clean SCORR method invented at Los Alamos National labs in 2001 that would use 95% less water. Intel has pushed this off until at least 2010, the latest excuse being that it would cost from $100 to $200 million to convert from their current toxic, water-wasting technology. Intel expects to modify and upgrade their processes about every 18 months because their products change so frequently. The $200 million figure they quote to convert represents around 1.25% of the $16 billion industrial revenue bond (RIB) that Intel was granted last year by Sandoval County where their Rio Rancho flagship plant resides. The conversion to the clean method would easily and cheaply fit into one of their major upgrades. Intel could do it if they wanted to - and if we had a State government with the courage and commonsense to demand it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Ignoring Science on Clean Air

New York Times, January 17, 2006: Every five years, the Clean Air Act requires the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to revise federal air quality standards for smog and soot. It is a stressful moment. When Carol Browner, President Bill Clinton's administraator, tightened standards in 1997, industry and its friends in Congess erupted in protest, and a federal appeals court said the rules were unconstitutional. The regulations did not actually take effect until Justice Antonin Scalia ruled in 2001 that Ms. Browner had the right to issue them and had done so properly.

Now it is the turn of Stephen Johnson at the EPA, only this time it is the scientists and environmentalists who are upset, and not without reason. Last month, Mr. Johnson proposed new rules governing fine particulate matter, known as soot. The most dangerous of these are microscopic specks that can cause significant inflammation and arterial damage in the bloodstream and the lungs.

At best, Mr. Johnson's proposed rules represent only a modest tightening of the Browner rules - despite considerable additional researchover the last few years, some 2,000 studies altogether, expanding the list of adverse health effects associated with fine particles (especially among children) and, collectively, pointing to the need for stronger standards.

Industry has complained.... for the full story, visit:

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Dismantling the Public's Right to Know

"Under the Bush administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is slowly dismantling its flagship environemtnal information tool - the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). The program has been protected and improved for over the last 15 years, since it was put in place during the Reagan administration. The TRI database enables the public to learn about the envirnomental risks in our workplaces and communities by providing informtion about hundreds of toxic chemiclas relased into the environment. Moreover, the TRI program has served as a constant example of the vital role information plays in a democracy, and the importance of the public's right to know. Unfortunately, the program's success has made it a target for those that seek to reduce corporate oversight and accountability." Source: OMB Watch

See the full report at DocuTicker:

"We have no idea what's coming out of that plant...." Quote from a New Mexico Environment Department official who must go unnamed, January 2006

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Excerpt from Fred Marsh's Review of "Boiling Frogs"

"Intel is allowed to release chemicals far more lethal than phosgene, more lethal even than methyl isocyonate that killed 4,000 and hospitalized 50,000 in Bhopal, India."

Monday, January 09, 2006

A Nation of Lab Rats - Reversing the Politics of Pollution

Excepted from the December 14 edition of Crosswinds Weekly, Carolyn Raffensperger, "perhaps the most creative and insightful explorer of the relationships among our legal system, public policy, public health and the environment. Carolyn is an environmental lawyer and the executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, which is a vitally important national consortium of environmental organizations dedicated to the use of science in the public interest" (Kenny Ausubel)
The Foresight Principle
So, what is this precautionary principle? It's the foresight principle. It's the foreaction principle. It's the grandmother principle. It's the principle that says, "We are going to look out for future generations for their well-being and their sanity'...One version of the precautionary principle says, "When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken, even if some cause-and-effect relationships have not been fully established scientifically.'...We know what these pesticides do to rats. Do we want to do this to our children? No. We know what we did by ignoring lead. We knew what would happen when we ignored asbestos. I could go on down the line. Heed early warnings ...
Reverse the Burden of Proof
Then let's reverse the burden of proof. Do you know what happened to places like Love Canal? Business and government would say, "oh, you're fine. There's no problem. It's not making you sick." The residents would say, "We've got a problem. This is not good for us. This is not good for our health. Business and government said, "Prove it. You prove that this is toxic. You prove that it's doing harm." Business didn't even test it. They didn't even test their chemicals when they said, "There's no evidence that it causes problems." So we need to reverse the burden of proof. I should not have the responsibility of proving that your chemical or genetically modified organism is causing me harm if you haven't even tested it. If you don't know, how come I have to know? Your ignorance is not my problem. But in many cases, it has turned out to be my problem.
What it means is giving the benefit of the doubt to human health and the environment. It means giving the benefit of the doubt to the child's brain that's in the mother's womb..."

Testimony given by Corrales resident Carol Merrill at the June 2003 Task Force meeting:
"Time and again, what I read was, 'No test data available.' I would like to know, seriously, why Intel is not required to offer proof, absolute proof, that the chemicals they are using are harmless. Why am I required to prove that they have harmed me and my family?" Boiling Frogs, pg. 274