The White House and Environmental Protection Agency have spent a month pushing to prevent the release of a sprawling health study detailing the scope of the contaminated water supplies that resulted in cancer and birth defects at nearly 126 military bases across the country — and lawmakers are fucking pissed.
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Tuesday demanded the Trump administration release the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) study on the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in firefighting chemicals used by base emergency personnel to put out aircraft fires.
A March DoD report to the House Armed Service Committee revealed that at least 126 U.S. military installations — 50 Air Force, 49 Navy or Marine Corps, 25 Army, and two Defense Logistics Agency facilities — tested at "higher than acceptable levels" of PFAS concentration, Military Times reported in April. An eye-popping 61% of nearby groundwater wells tested by the DoD yielded the same results.
PFAS contamination of water sources can yield, among other horrifying consequences, "developmental delays in fetuses & children; decreased fertility; increased cholesterol; changes to the immune system; increased uric acid levels; changes in liver enzymes; and prostate, kidney, and testicular cancer," per the HASC report. Good thing the DoD's been using those chemicals since the 1970s!
"Given the wide use of PFAS and presence of these chemicals in communities across the U.S., it is critical that this report be released without delay and that EPA act immediately to update its guidelines to ensure Americans are informed of and protected from the danger of exposure to these toxins," the lawmakers wrote in the June 12 letter. "We are especially concerned since PFAS have been discovered in community water systems as well as on multiple Department of Defense installations."
This is all well and good, but it's not like a strongly-worded letter is going all of a sudden induce the DoD to get its contaminated shit together. The Intercept reported in February that while the Pentagon plans on shelling out a hefty $2 billion to address the widespread water contamination, that plan involves replacing "older foam with a newer formulation that contains only slightly tweaked versions of the same problematic compounds" that "pose many of the same dangers."
NEWPORT — The explosion and sinking of the ship in 1943 claimed at least 1,138 lives, and while the sea swallowed the bones there were people, too, who also worked to shroud the bodies.
The sinking of the H.M.T. Rohna was the greatest loss of life at sea by enemy action in the history of U.S. war, but the British Admiralty demanded silence from the survivors and the tragedy was immediately classified by the U.S. War Department.
Michael Walsh of Newport is working to bring the story of the Rohna to the surface with a documentary film, which includes interviews with some of the survivors of the attack. Walsh has interviewed about 45 men who were aboard the ship when it was hit.
Editor's note: this story originally appeared in 2018
How you die matters. Ten years ago, on Memorial Day, I was in Fallujah, serving a year-long tour on the staff and conducting vehicle patrols between Abu Ghraib and Ramadi. That day I attended a memorial service in the field. It was just one of many held that year in Iraq, and one of the countless I witnessed over my 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Like many military veterans, Memorial Day is not abstract to me. It is personal; a moment when we remember our friends. A day, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “sacred to memories of love and grief and heroic youth."