Monday, January 30, 2012

Official calls reporters 'criminal' for coming to school to cover illness outbreak blamed on chemicals

A mysterious illness resembling Tourette's Syndrome has swept through the high school in LeRoy, N.Y. (Wikipedia map), about 20 miles southwest of Rochester. Fifteen cases of a neurological disorder have been reported, and environmentalists, led by activists Lois Gibbs of nearby Love Canal and Erin Brockovich of movie fame, say the illness could have been caused by chemicals spilled in a 1970 train derailment or by hydraulic fracturing of five natural gas wells circling the school that are owned by LeRoy Central School District. The district has tested for environmental contamination, and ruled it out as cause of the symptoms, but Brockovich's team says testing wasn't thorough enough. Local reporters from the Batavia Daily News and The Batavian, an online publication, have followed this story long before it gained national attention.

Howard Owens of The Batavian reports Brockovich sent environmental Robert Bowcock, investigator with California-based Integrated Resource Management, to conduct tests. Bowcock told Owens the report released by the district "wasn't even close to science" and he came to LeRoy at the request of affected students' parents, who said government officials hadn't been transparent with them at a Jan. 11 meeting. Bowcock's team wanted to collect water and soil samples from various sites suggested to them by residents. One site was of the 1970 train wreck, which the Environmental Protection Agency is charge of cleaning up. Bowcock said he was "shocked" by the site's condition, which included leaking barrels of contaminated water and soil. (Batavian photo)

Bowcock and others tried to walk onto school property last weekend, but were stopped by local police and told they didn't have proper permits to gather soil samples. Superintendent Kim Cox said the district has worked "very closely" with professionals to keep the community "involved and up-to-date," but she should have been notified ahead of time about the team's arrival. She said any samples collected by Bowcock would be invalid because "they would have been collected in an unprofessional manner." District lawyer Bill Albert labeled the presence of Bowcock and reporters at the school as "criminal activity." (Read more) The Batavia Daily News has dedicated an entire page on its website to the LeRoy mystery illnesses here.

1 comment:

Jack Reylan said...

In Manhattan, thanks to histrionic preservation, we have neighborly fecal matter back flowing making drinking water unpotable unless extensively purified and these idiot hypocrites complain about fracking? They should be made to pay for the ridiculous environmental mandates they impose on others by finally building their own Manhattan Bruce Gilchrist Chappaqua water purification system instead of keeping Westchester under environmental occupation so that they and not upstate has the right to police their drinking water. Think of all the green jobs building a New York filter? Why is that bad and all the solar panels good? What good are all the new engineering schools if they can’t purify the water.