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, June 09, 2010

More on the Latest Tragedy

This a message from Rosemary Keefe, who was recently diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis:

Because Intel has provided intermittent and summary reports (self-regulated) of toxic wastes, none of us living in the shadow of Intel will ever know what we inhaled.

Were we unlucky one day when clouds or rainbows over the Sandias drew us out to feel a cool breeze on our skin, to take a robust power walk up the hill or work in our garden?

Was that the fatal moment when the scrubbers were being cleaned or a leak occurred or the heat in the stacks was too high or too low to destroy the worst pollution? Was it a day of accelerated productivity, when Intel won awards for speeding up operations, for taking risks with new toxic chemicals?

Was it then that we took a deep breath of killing daggers into our most delicate and essential living tissues and destroyed them forever?

How can we know the day and time when the killing began? Does anyone at Intel care?

All of Intel's graphs and numbers showing EPA or NMED compliance can't answer these questions. And I don't expect a reply.

Compared to Intel's giant profits those of who live downwind are simply "collateral damage" in Intel's race to the top.

All of this has been said before by many of you and in Barbara Rockwell's Boiling Frogs.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Another Tragic Story Brought to You by Intel Rio Rancho

This is taken from an email to Fred Marsh from a retired English professor who moved to Corrales in 2006 and settled below the Intel plant in Rio Rancho:. She is the latest victim of pulmonary fibrosis, a relatively rare disease that has already claimed the lives of five locals.

First, how advanced is my pulmonary fibrosis? Could my lungs have gone from being healthy, as I believe they were when I moved here, to severe interstitial damage in 30 months of heavy breathing huffing up the hill toward Intel at high pollution times?

Second, what kind of air conditioning and air filtration system is safe enough to filter out silica and other Intel pollution and cost effective to put in my home if I'm selling it in six months or in six years?

As I've promised to some of you, I will talk with Peter Kowalski at ATSDR when I have a definitive diagnosis after my lung biopsy. Then I will write and speak widely about the cause of my lung damage in various media. I know that others before me have told similar stories, but maybe the time is ripe for hearing.

Here's my brief story for those on this distribution list who haven't heard it: My partner and I moved to Corrales in July 2006. I was on sabbatical from the Univ of Wisconsin where I was Professor of English and Dean of Faculty. We bought a spacious home with a gorgeous view of the Sandias--so gorgeous that I never looked at the monster spewing toxic particles and gas behind us. I've been blessed with robust health and have a habit of taking a vigorous daily walks--up and across the hill directly under INTEL or down across Loma Larga along Applewood to Corrales Rd. From July 2007 to the end of that year I was partly out of the country --in Australia giving lectures and then teaching fall 2007 in Scotland for Univ of Wis as my final service before retiring in Jan 2008. Early in 2008 I developed a dry cough that wouldn't go away. It felt like a chemical irritation in the back of my throat. I believed then INTEL pollution was causing it, but I counted on my general good health to ward off a throat irritation.

Now about two and a half years later, I've been diagnosed (from chest X-rays and a CT scan in April 2010) with pulmonary fibrosis. I'd never heard of it. Initially the doctor thought the cough was caused by asthma, which I'd never had. A lung biopsy will give the definitive diagnosis.

Not everyone breathing INTEL toxic waste develops a respiratory illness. Perhaps my lungs were more sensitive. I've been breathing freely all over the world for 70 years.

I am convinced that INTEL is responsible for my current lung damage--whatever it is. My quality of life has already been diminished--not to mention my self-image as a spontaneous person who grabs a last minute cheap flight to a distant destination (can't do that on oxygen). I've had to discontinue much of my work as a lecturer and performer because of shortness of breath and my dependency on oxygen. I've attached my program for my one-woman show for NM Humanities Council "living history" Chautauqua series, in case you'd like to hire me while I'm still breathing. Some of you on this list may have seen me perform recently for Compadres de Corrales, Meadowlark Senior Center, or Spanish Colonial Arts Society in Santa Fe. I've agreed to perform in a solo fest in Albuquerque in July--if I can breathe.

Meanwhile, consider me an advocate for clean air in Corrales. I must, however, give my immediate energy to my creative work as writer, and so I rely on others still deeply breathing to carry on the fight for social justice.

Rosemary Keefe, PhD