To say the building of a new Harding on a former industrial site owned by GE has been controversial is an understatement.
Even though the proposed site is undergoing a thorough and public vetting process by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, some in the community remain unconvinced that the city, GE or the state can be trusted to clean the site to standard.
Much of the fear surrounding the construction project has been stoked by misinformation and an almost paranoid distrust of state and local government.
Tuesday night the EPA held an information session run by independent environmental consultants. During the meeting, one local activist said he didn’t believe GE when they said the soil was removed, asking how the public could verify that the contaminated soil didn’t make its way back to the proposed school site.
Separate companies run the laboratories used by the state-licensed contractors who did the soil testing at the GE site. In other words, if there were some kind of conspiracy going on it would involve dozens of professionals who would lose their licenses and livelihoods if such a scandal came to light.
Terrie Boguski, the Senior Environmental Engineer at Skeo Solutions, the independent environmental firm hired by the EPA’s Civil Right Office to put on Tuesday’s presentation said criminal action would have to be “pretty wide spread.”
“That means your laboratory is conspiring with the property owner who is conspiring with their contractor who is licensed by the state which is a big deal to do this type of work,” said Boguski.
The sad part is that Boguski isn’t the only one who had to explain this to the audience on Tuesday. Here is EPA representative Deborah Brown explaining how unlikely a conspiracy would be:
Harding High School students deserve a new school to replace the crumbling 90-year old building that is currently in use. It would truly be a tragedy if unfounded speculation and misinformation prevented these students from having that school.
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