I couldn’t agree more with Jon Mendelson’s column, “A raw deal for Tracy,” in the Jan. 5 paper. I, too, was labeled a “fearmonger” several months ago by a letter writer regarding the proposed bio-lab facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Site 300.
I prefer to think of my position on this issue is not one of fear, rather one that I learned many years ago that it doesn’t make good sense to defecate where you eat.
I have no doubt that the lab has hired experts who believe the risks of exposure to radiation and the possibility of bio-hazard leaks to the citizens of Tracy are low. However, experts have been known to be wrong. Accepting the risk of such a facility near a densely populated area is wrong when there are already other locations because they are far more remote and considerably safer that make much better sense.
You could argue Mendelson’s point that there is no benefit to the people of Tracy for explosive testing with the fact that it could bring the potential for more jobs to the community. But I don’t know too many people who are willing to risk the health and lives of their families (no matter how low the risk is reported to be) in favor of creating a few more jobs. I’m not suggesting that the facility doesn’t serve as an important component in the research of bombs and biologicals, but the public might be better served if a safer location were found. If there were no other alternative to the explosive testing or placing the bio-research facility at Site 300, I might be more inclined to accept that risk, depending on the overall benefit it would have for humanity.
At least this way, if the experts are wrong, they won’t have to carry that burden around with them for the rest of their lives, and folks like Mendelson and I will have to shoulder the burden of being common-sense mongers!
Larry Hite is owner and operator of a Tracy home inspection service.