Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Suspect is..US!

    I've suspected for a long time that The Montgomery Advertiser played a part in the "Montgomery Plume", the stretch of contaminated groundwater underneath Downtown Montgomery. I said to any number of people over the years the the building's location, up high on Washington Avenue, and its raw materials: ink and chemicals, made it a prime suspect.

     This morning, The Advertiser itself has the story that the EPA has reached the same conclusion. The agency also points a finger the State Board of Education because of it's large printing operation.

     It is especially interesting to read the Advertiser's official comments...virtually meaningless babble. Reporter Jill Nolin did the "interview" though it's little more than press-release quotes. She's a good reporter, but most of her story is information from the EPA.

    Nolin writes:

The EPA believes the Advertiser could have poured "trade wastewater" down floor drains that were connected to the sewer system or washed soiled rags on site...(from the 1940's till the 1970's.)

     The old Advertiser building is now owned by Montgomery County, which spent millions renovating it.

     A few questions:
  • Will the EPA seek financial damages from the the paper or the state (both of which are already suffering from The Great Recession.)

  • Will the County (i.e. taxpayers) sue the Advertiser to compensate it for the loss of value in the building?

  • Will the Advertiser appoint an outside reporter to write stories about the plume and give that reporter access to question management, the way the paper would on any other story? Let's face it, you can't report on yourself in a controversy without appearing to have a bias.

  • As Jill's story asks, will the new plume developments hurt the city's Dexter Avenue developments?

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