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Letters to the editor

City needs to take action to protect residents

It has been nearly two months since the Boulder City Review broke the story about naturally occurring asbestos being found in our community as the front page article in its Nov. 21 issue. Although this is the most important event to have taken place in the 30 years I have lived in Boulder City, to date there have been no reassuring words from our mayor, not even a whimper from the mayor pro tem, and not so much as a whisper on the subject from the other City Council members.

On the day after Christmas, the headline on the front page of the Las Vegas Review-Journal read “Boulder City coated in asbestos.” After that article ran, I received no end of questions and statements of concern from acquaintances who live outside of Boulder City. …

The scientific journal article mentioned in both the RJ and BC Review has been posted and is available online (http://bit.ly/1b0Mpvd). Clark County has at least admitted that there may be a problem and posted information about asbestos on its website, http://bit.ly/1b0LZFo.

There is an active open pit mine just outside the western entry into Boulder City. The focus at the local landfill has gone from burying trash to building a mountain with it.

I have a right to know, from a credible and impartial source, if either operation poses a threat to my health. I deserve to know how much asbestos I may have been exposed to during the construction of the various solar plants and the city’s two newest golf courses, how much asbestos is being put into the air by the city’s practice of allowing off-road vehicle use on the dry lake bed and elsewhere on public land, and what my potential exposure is going to be if the bypass follows the currently proposed route.

The question is fairly asked as to when the city knew, should have known or at least suspected the presence of naturally occurring asbestos. The permitting process for the city’s solar leases is very involved including both soil studies and analysis.

In 2010, the city allowed SolBio to default on its solar lease and to walk away without paying a penny in penalties or toward the considerable expense incurred in preparing the lease.

When another solar company, Tehan Techran, took over the lease, Mayor (Roger) Tobler was quoted in the weekly paper saying the lease site was “dirt we can’t even use.”

A strange statement at the time, but no stranger than the city’s response to the crisis today, assuming the position of an ostrich and shoving its head into the contaminated sand.

Dick Farmer

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