Posted by David Rodriguez on May 13, 2002 at 16:15:16:
This is a rather long article but I encourage readers to pay special attention to this and others because they portray some of the darker incidences of pollution cover-up within your community. Cover-up I say? Yes, as unbelievable a term at it is, cover-ups do happen. When they do, it’s up to citizens to break the cycle.
Matt Cooper, he was the last Register Guard reporter I met with. In that meeting in July of 2000, a Professor from the University of Oregon and I described to Matt why the Weyerhaeuser Groundwater Clean-Up Plan and the Springfield Drinking Water Protection Plan relating to Weyerhaeuser in Springfield were flawed. The professor’s expertise is in fluid mechanics. We pulled out the data for Matt. We explained clearly just how both plans and their respective models omitted both westerly flow of contaminants from under the facility and the large industrial area on the north end of the plant site. An industrial zone that happens to be the closer to Springfield’s wells then any other part of the facility. Using Weyerhaeuser’s own maps, we demonstrated exactly where large gaps also existed (up to 1,200’ in width) where no test wells were installed and a plume could exist without detection. We clearly explained just how the models used by DEQ and Weyerhaeuser were flawed. Did the RG share those years of evidence gathering or our concerns with you the general public in subsequent news articles on the subject? No! Matt was presented with well-grounded evidence but the RG chose NOT to share it with the Eugene/Springfield community. They silenced the contradictory evidence, and the public was misled.
Then focusing on the Springfield Utility Board/Rainbow Water District wells, we showed him aerial photos of the infamous orange slough that DEQ and Weyerhaeuser publicly claimed was caused by "naturally high levels of iron in groundwater throughout the region". We brought out the adopted groundwater flow-path models by these various agencies. We posed to him the ominous question of: why given this flow-path, the City wells, not 200 yards IMMEDIATELY down-gradient from this point, showed absolutely zero iron in the groundwater? How can this be? We know how, its because "naturally high iron in the groundwater" was NOT the true cause of this phenomenon. Weyerhaeuser and Oregon DEQ lied to this community and they have gotten away with it to this day. The true cause of the phenomenon is being kept from all. Sad to say, even the EPA has failed to compel the truth. I suppose doing so would turn Oregon’s only environmental agency, the DEQ, on its head. Oregon would be left without its own environmental agency if EPA were to expose what was really going on. Instead, the DEQ Director resigns, people move into different positions. The issue is assimilated into chaos. The public gets shafted.
Anyway, we explained to Matt about how certain things just didn’t add up. We displayed clear aerial photos showing the ugly orange slough, where the RG’s other reporter on this issue, had also misled the public. In that article, Lance Robertson quoted Tim McFettridge stating these were "isolated ponds" and "not connected to the river". (SEE AERIAL PHOTO http://www.pacinfo.com/~daverio/File/Frontpage2-1) I had met with Lance Robertson back then too and showed him the evidence to the contrary, just days before he ran his misleading story. Photos showing a clear and open connection right to the river, one half mile above Eugene’s EWEB water intake. It was already clear that the DEQ inspector was lying. Lance wouldn’t even investigate this charge. Of course, the Asst City Editor at the RG was the brother of that same DEQ inspector.
One of the ugly truths being kept from the public by Weyerhaeuser is the fact that Weyerhaeuser was dumping biocides into their raw river water, otherwise known as "non-contact cooling water". These biocides were then entering the Cooling Ponds and then into the McKenzie where they freely flowed downstream towards the City of Eugene’s intake. Biocides are intended to kill all organic organisms. Oh yeah, we’re an organic organism too. I’m sure nobody has to worry though, it must have been well diluted by the time it reached EWEB. Well these biocides (and the large tanks containing them at the ‘River Pump House’) were NEVER disclosed in ‘ANY’ DEQ or EPA NPDES permit. It is only now being addressed as a result of my persistence, and after levels have been altered. EWEB did test this out-fall, but their schedule left open plenty of opportunity for abuse. EWEB’s limited tests did reveal the presence of Trihalomethanes (THMS) where there should have been none. Ironically, Lance Robertson, who would not share the original evidence with the community, is now helping to protect the public’s water supply at EWEB as their spokesperson.
Last year, Matt Cooper made what appears to be a conscious decision to go after my credibility. One morning he called me asking me to comment on a bogus lawsuit against me preventing myself, as an ORM officer, from accessing files from our own attorney that belonged to ORM. Of course, Matt was one of the first to know about this suit. I wonder how? Heck, I didn’t even know about it yet. Would he fax me a copy so I could know what I was commenting on? NO! But he wanted a quote right then nonetheless, no second chance. So I gave him a quote with what little he would reveal to me. Well, even with that, I gave him a pretty darn good quote to quell any false rumors. Did he print my quote in that sleazy article tailored against me? NOT A CHANCE! That was highly unethical behavior on his part!
Matt Cooper has demonstrated very biased reporting that only strengthens my concerns that the RG is being motivated by non-altruistic goals. Even though the RG buys all its newsprint from Weyerhaeuser, I do not fully understand the RG’s motivation because it has betrayed this community in a far more substantial level. Sadly I will find it difficult to ever trust Matt again! I will be forced to record any of our conversations should he want a quote on any issue.
So what is going on at the RG that is causing these reporters to lie and mislead the public? Should a reporter be held responsible when they mislead the public over health issues? I believe so. There definitely needs to be some form of discipline when this occurs. Obviously this won’t happen if someone upstairs in the RG is calling the shots however. Even certain agency officials should be prosecuted, but how often do you see this happen? With EPA being just upstairs from DEQ, and everybody having lunch together, I’ve learned to not expect much more from even EPA’s Compliance Division. But I digress.
Is the RG’s irresponsible behavior here because it just so happens the DEQ inspector’s brother is the Asst City Editor at the RG? Is it because the RG buys all its newsprint from Weyerhaeuser? Two solid reasons for community concern surrounding their biased reporting on the issue. Under no uncertain terms, the RG has actively censored me for my trying to inform the public of this pollution scandal. Tony Baker, when are you going to clean things up?
This community must come to understand just how you are being lied to by Weyerhaeuser with their puppets. These lies have been furthered by the agencies after many years of manipulated data and false reporting. If you’ve gotten this far in reading this article, I ask that you please contact your local news media to voice concern about the one sided coverage. I have also sent a copy of this article to many at the RG.
REGISTER GUARD POLICY: "The Register-Guard‘s policy is the impartial publication in its news pages of all news and statements on news. … A newspaper is a CITIZEN OF ITS COMMUNITY." From my recent experiences, the RG has not lived by this oath.
Sadly Eugene Weekly nor KVAL seem willing to touch this issue. Why? Because the rats who must keep the truth from you, are doing their job going after my credibility. The RATS know how it works. Yet with limited financial means, a few others and myself have tackled one of the largest timber corporations in the world. No easy task I tell you. I personally have been victim to what the covert rats have pulled on me, but I stand my ground in spite of them. But it is the rats who remain afraid of the truth coming to light. Unfortunately until this happens, the community will continue to have the wool pulled over their eyes because certain other news media won’t believe that an upstanding company like Weyerhaeuser, would ever do anything so sinister. Kind of like the way other large corporations were viewed before they were eventually caught. A company that lays off all those employees in Springfield, the day after the union voted is not very upstanding! Everyone knows it was about retaliation.
Everyone in this community should at least wonder why the Register Guard refused to present the public with the evidence that the government adopted plans were flawed. If so, then I ask that you help do something about it.
87984 Heather Drive
Springfield, Oregon 97478