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.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

History of Intel from a Neighbor's Perspective

The following is excepted from a commentary written by Roberta King and published in the Corrales Comment in November 2006. Roberta built her home 33 years ago just below the fence line that separates Intel from Corrales. Here is her story:

"Back then there was no Intel. Except for Sky View Acres and a few scattered homes, the land between the Main Canal and the escarpment was open mesa land. The air was fresh and invigorating.

All of that changed once Intel became established, fired up production, and began emitting the industrial chemicals of the chip manufacturing process.

Unlike other Intel locations in the U.S., the Rio Rancho plant overlooked a village spread out along the river valley below. The hilly contours between the Rio Grande and the escarpment create pathways for ground level breezes to travel. That's a perfect setting for chemical gasses heavier than air to move along arroyos and irrigation ditches.

The emission stacks are not very tall. Consequently, the heavier-than-air emissions fall to the ground instead of dissipating and stay trapped in that level of the airshed where living creatures are breathing.

Corrales Residents for Clear Air and Water (CRCAW) came into being because residents living close to the down drafts filled with Intel's dense toxic emissions were getting splitting headaches, congested sinuses and constricted air passages. Over time, they developed itching skin rashes and other debilitating symptoms NOT EXPERIENCED WHEN THEY WERE IN OTHER AIRSHEDS.

In those early days, these health conditions appeared in connection with an intense, strong, heavy dosage of acetone (also found in fingernail polish remover). You know it well.

Affected residents gathered together to see what they could learn about what was happening to them healthwise. The Village of Corrales had a generous population of scientists, chemists, hydrologists, engineers, medical professionals, computer analysts and others who were challenged to investigate and learn all they could about what was coming from Intel's stacks and how those chemicals affect the health of living creatures.

CRCAW crafted a Mission Statement in 1993 which can be found on page 207 in Barbara Rockwell's book, Boiling Frogs: Intel vs the Village. The statement reads: "Our mission is to educate the community on Right to Know issues, to encourage Intel to be a good corporate neighbor by releasing information to the public and by adopting first class, state-of-the-art emissions controls in the short run and reduction and/or substitution of toxic chemicals in the long run."

To that end, several of us have participated in the original Citizen Advisory Panel (CAP) paid for by toxic emissions and not as CRCAW spokespersons.

Intel's CAP was mediated by Pat Delbridge of Delbridge Associates of Canada. We have attended numerous community meetings held by Intel to supposedly interface with the community, and now attend Community Environmental Working Group (CEWG) meetings which are open to the public. You can attend too. We speak as individuals affected and I know for a fact that chemicals used Intel's manufacturing process are getting into the tissues of living creaatures. My dog's lung tissue was analyzed by Accu-Chem Laboratory and showed 50 parts per billion (ppb) of Toluene, 14 ppb of Ethylbenzenes and 18 ppb of N-Hexane. The postmorten report indicated adenocarcinomas in epithelial cells of her lungs, not related any other organ in her body. The nature of them suggests to me they could be caused by breathing silica which could have caused so many nodules. Silica is a particulaate Intel is permitted to emit. (You can read Ellie's story and the reports at CRCAW's link at

Another dog in the neighborhood was tested by the same lab when she died with traces of Ethylbenzene, M.P-Xylenes and O-Xylene. If these chemicals are getting into the lung tissues of dogs, might they also be getting into our lungs as we breathe the air surrounding Intel?

Intel is a political football in the hands of the Governor and his appointees. NONE OF THEM will say anything against the toxic emissions. They act as if such health hazards did not exist.

The emperor is loudly proclaiming "see how beautifully green my environmental suit is!" And the people know how many hours Intel employees have contributed to community needs and how much money has been given in the name of Intel to worthy projects. Intel does so much good they couldn't possibly be polluting the air! Look at all they do for the environment!

But the people ignore what is seen coming out of the stacks, settling over the Village and nearby terrain. The reality is that "the emperor has no clothes!"

Eyes have they, but they choose not to see.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Neighbor's Report to the Environment Department

Here's a typical report sent in by one of Intel's neighbors on almost a daily basis. This is a company that was allowed by the State of New Mexico to locate in a residential neighborhood with NO Environmental Impact Study ever done.

Friday, December 22, 2006, 7:30 p.m.
Wind: Calm with burning fumes saturating the atmosphere. Steam can be seen from Loma Larga as well as from our backyard. We have noticed these plumes for several nights and during the snow storms in the past days and week. You would think the air would clear while it was snowing but that's not the case.

Tonight, a Windover neighbor called to inquire about what's happening. The smoky fumes came into their bedroom while they opened the window for a very short time. She and her husband experienced a burning sensation in the throat with coughing/choking.

I too had a reaction to something coming in through the vents. Felt groggy and had throat and sinus irritation. My husband who was in bed, got up to see what the problem was and fell. It took me a long time to get him off the floor because of the extreme weakness in his legs. I would like an answer as to what is in the atmosphere around here and what Intel is doing.

I have asked Frank Gallegos for the name/names of the bacteria they admit is in those cooling towers. So far, no answer. I doubt if Intel will disclose it.

We do have a right to know what we are being forced to breathe.

Please inquire yourself or find someone else to do the research regarding these matters.