Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
If you make a contribution of $150 or more, you will become an official “Friend of the Planet” and receive a Friend of the Planet T-shirt or water bottle. You can also submit opinion essays to us for our consideration for posting on our new “Bright Ideas” op-ed page.
Reuters reported yesterday that the Trump Administration had planned to open a new detention center at Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas to house up to 7,500 unaccompanied migrant children, but the site may not be safe. Earthjustice issued a report yesterday in which it raised concerns with this site because the organization has identified Superfund sites on base in proximity to the proposed housing site, including a former landfill, artillery range, fuel depot, and fire training areas. While some areas have been cleaned up not all have been remediated, thus Earthjustice argues in the report that more extensive testing is warranted to ensure the site is safe because the clean up may not have been sufficient to house children there. According to the Report:
“If allowed to happen, approximately 7,500 migrant children will be detained in an area contaminated with lead, arsenic, benzene, PFAS, and myriad other harmful chemicals associated with increased risk of cancer and permanent neurodevelopmental damage.”
“These bases are known to be riddled with toxic hazards from past military operations, spills, storage of toxic chemicals, unexploded ordnances, and firing ranges, to name a few.”
“Other contaminants detected at the site include volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, which contaminate the air and threaten human health through vapor intrusion causing nausea, headaches, and damage to the nervous system, kidneys, and liver.”
Ecowatch noted that the report found that lead levels in the soil in the past exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency safe levels for children’s play areas by 27 times and that lead in the groundwater exceeded safety standards by more than 20 percent.
The Department of Health and Human Services, which runs the detention centers for kids, said it had visited Goodfellow AF Base, along with several other sites, but that it is not under active consideration for a detention center right now. But Earthjustice is concerned that if President Trump were to declare a border emergency, then the government could announce that as part of the emergency they will construct the detention facility on an expedited basis without any further environmental testing or reviews.
Why This Matters: It is hard to predict what the Administration will do on border detentions, especially if the President declares a border emergency to “build the wall.” Earthjustice may be sounding the alarm about potential health impacts to migrant children there because the possible border wall emergency is making news this week. But the real question is what about all the current occupants of Goodfellows AF base? According to DoD, there are approximately 5000 service members and 800 civil servants working there, and 12,000 family members living on the base, including the children of service members stationed there. Those people may all be exposed to toxic chemicals and susceptible to the health impacts described in the Earthjustice report.
This week we sat down with Tom Steyer who is currently serving as the co-chair of California’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery. We asked him about how California is handling the COVID-19 recovery and how the state can continue to be a climate leader despite the hit to its budget. Some excerpts: […]
President Trump decided this week to take on Twitter. It’s just another distraction. He wants to us to forget all the lives the pandemic cost, all the pollution his policies have caused, and all the ways he has undermined the public’s faith in government. Tweet on. The truth matters. Even on Twitter.
In a well-researched and thorough story, Vox reporter David Roberts explains why Democrats should finally be hopeful that the numerous factions and “green groups” that make up the Democratic coalition are coming into alignment on climate change policy and that this growing sense of unity bodes well not only for the election but also for governing in the event that Democrats retake the White House.
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.