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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Let Oak Ridge, er, Hollywood Clean Up the Mess! July 13, 2008 12:04 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Environment, News, Of Interest, Touchy Subjects
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Right now there is a huge ecological disaster happening in Tennessee. An 18 wheeler tanker has a spill of highly volatile material, titanium tetrachloride, and has caused an evacuation of everything within 10 miles of the accident as well as totally shutting down Interstate 40 near Crossville and having some people stuck in traffic 6-12 hours. This sounds similar to the train wreck that evacuated much of Farragut a couple of years ago.

So here is the scenario: Truck containing hazardous materials traveling on Interstate 40 has a problem and substance begins leaking. Nine people get sent to a hospital. Area is quarantined and evacuated for a radius of ten miles. A hazmat team is sent in, cannot contain the leak, and determines contents of truck to be producing heat (ie. explosion pending). To make matters worse, water mixed with this hazardous material produces hydrochloric acid. Winds are currently blowing strong. Storms are forecasted in less than twelve hours and the special cleanup team from New Jersey will take twelve or more hours to arrive. Sounds like an out of work script writer is trying to pitch Paramount.

My question: Why isn’t Oak Ridge responding to this? Certainly the labs are prepared for a worse ecological disaster than this. Between Becthel Jacobs, SAIC, Perma-Fix, and the dozens of other contractors that regularly do work at Y12 (in particular cleanup and handling of dangerous materials), you would think we could have a crew to Crossville in one hour instead of twelve. Are lives at stake for bureaucracy? Is this Katrina on a smaller scale?

How would Hollywood handle this? Simple! Tommy Lee Jones would come barking in to establish perimeters and control the choas while Will Smith beats some people into cooperating/doing actual cleanup and Chris Tucker smack talks the red tape out of the way. Of course we don’t get to learn the outcome because Hollywood is poised for a second strike (See Return of the Bad Television – Guild Strike Part Deux).

And would someone teach the AMPTP about permalinks?

Our final offer to SAG members includes more than $250 million in additional compensation, important new media rights and protection for pension and health benefits. The refusal of SAG’s Hollywood leadership to accept this offer is the latest in a series of actions by SAG leaders that, in our opinion, puts labor peace at risk. SAG’s Hollywood leaders have already pursued a time-consuming, divisive, costly, and unsuccessful anti-AFTRA campaign. Any further delay in reaching a reasonable and comprehensive agreement does a disservice to the thousands of working people of our industry who are already being seriously harmed by the ever worsening de facto strike. [Source, AMPTP, Breaking News, July 10, 2008, Statement of the AMPTP] (See also July 8, 2008, AFTRA Ratification Statement and June 30, 2008, Statement of the AMPTP)

Any increase for the benefits of health insurance, pension, or residual gains made by the WGA are also likely to be demanded by other entertainment industry labor unions when their contracts expire. This is a practice known as pattern bargaining — the first union to reach a contract with the AMPTP usually sets the template for the agreement with other unions. The contracts for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Directors Guild of America (DGA) expired on June 30, 2008. [Source, Wikipedia, Other 2008 industry-wide strike threats]

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1. LissaKay - July 13, 2008

Most simply, the reason why one or more of the agencies in Oak Ridge that are qualified and able to handle this kind of hazardous material spill aren’t responding is, they haven’t been asked to.

Most companies that transport such material have their own spill response teams and/or have standing contracts with other agencies to do so. They might not have such a thing with anyone in Oak Ridge. And no one in Oak Ridge is going to go where they haven’t been asked … the labor unions generally tend to frown heavily on that sort of thing.

I will spare you my generally disdainful opinion of labor unions as they are today …