A lot has happened since my April 1, 2009 blog concerning what started as the United States Navy’s four-decade-old initial state of—perhaps—naiveté, but which has (as of this date) culminated to the point of sheer arrogance and gross negligence on behalf of this force. Be reminded that the United States Navy is a permanent or regular naval force under the authority of the Department of Defense. Hence, we are dealing with a faction of the federal government. The federal government is not going to yield to a state’s nor a local government’s demands; not even when United States New York Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, along with Congressman Tim Bishop, “demanded,” that the United States Navy stop insisting, as it has done for more than a decade as the plume spread, that the toxic chemicals found in the Peconic River are simply going to go away. The United States Navy has taken a firm stand that the contamination (it loves the use of euphemisms) will eventually dissipate, via “natural attenuation.”
When will these volatile organic compounds, VOCs, derived from solvents that were used to clean airplane parts at the now defunct Grumman naval weapons plant in Calverton, and that have already leached into the groundwater, trifle away? When hell freezes over? Perhaps during the next ice age as the Navy has moved at glacial speed in order to address the matter seriously. The United States Navy insists on more testing in lieu of an immediate cleanup. How inane is that in light of the fact that the toxic chemicals found are already as high as two hundred (200) times the state’s drinking water standards? How irresponsible is the United States Navy? Allow me to answer that succinctly. It is criminally irresponsible.
According to recent tests conducted by Suffolk County health department, the toxic plume is heretofore, conservatively, a quarter of a mile wide and a 115 feet deep, and that is only because it is as deep as workers can dig. A geologist for the health department, Andrew Rapiejko, said, “Typically, you would like to see the end of the plume; you drill until you get a couple of wells that are clean, and that’s when you know you’ve found the end. We haven’t done that yet.” All of the wells tested, fifty-two of them, all contained volatile organic compounds.
Want to know where I find fodder for my novels? Look no further than the facts surrounding a story as such. In this way, you can educate your readers as well as entertain. In my novels titled The Teacher and The Author, both of them award-winners for 2006 and 2007 respectively—receiving “Best Suspense Thrillers” recognition—I traverse such territories. The cancer rate for Suffolk County, Long Island, New York, is certainly alarming. On a more personal note, I have locked horns with the United States Navy for over forty years, begging a thorough investigation to correct an egregious wrong, later, demanding such—all to no avail. Let us applaud the three lawmakers cited above and wish them success in toppling a criminal force. I use the term judiciously. One day soon, I trust, when I'm on a national talk show, I'll elaborate, clearly differentiating between factual accounts and fictional prose. Hopefully, official naval heads will roll while their bodies reel.
Causes Robert Banfelder Supports
Breast Cancer Research Foundation