Posts Tagged ‘Erin Brockovich’

Erin Brockovich in Fridley, Minn.

Reader Dave Westheimer writes, regarding a news item that we briefly noted earlier:

Guess who’s coming to the suburb where I live? Erin Brockovich. She’s here and in the news.

Of course she’s not hearing “Fridley’s concerns” — she’s hearing the concerns of novices who’ve never heard of the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy.

FWIW, “one of the worst Superfund sites in the country” refers to the old FMC plant in the southwest corner of the city by the Mississippi, well away from the closest residential neighborhood and more likely to affect Minneapolis than Fridley, if it affected anything at all. Fridley’s biggest industry is Medtronic’s headquarters. It’s a typical postwar residential suburb, mostly built in the 50s and 60s.

The neighborhood newspaper ran what I thought was a fawning article about her appearance here, written by an intern, along with a separate article about how the intern who wrote the article was so excited to meet her. So much for objectivity.

As the city’s water report (PDF) says, Fridley has never been in violation of the cancer causing agents standards in the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to pour myself another tall glass of city water.

Environmental roundup

  • Nebraska Sen. Johanns proposes bill to curb EPA surveillance overflights (which, contrary to some erroneous reports going around, are manned flights) [Daily Caller, earlier]
  • “Time to Discard the Precautionary Principle at the CPSC” [Nancy Nord]
  • Victimology beats science with 9/11 dust fund [Point of Law, ACSH] Two NYC plaintiff’s firms fight over $50 million in 9/11-responder fees [Reuters]
  • “Court dismisses climate change ‘public trust’ suit” [Katie Owens, WLF]
  • Erin Brockovich promotes Fridley, Minnesota cancer cluster, local man “eager to hear” her spiel [StarTrib, earlier]
  • Jonathan Adler guestblogs on environmental policy at The Atlantic [Volokh]
  • Businesses’ donations on environmental advocacy? Never trust content from “Union of Concerned Scientists” [Ron Bailey]
  • Talking back to “Gasland,” the anti-fracking advocacy flick [Ron Bailey and more, Mark Perry, Business Week on local economic impact]

Environment roundup

  • “A loose coalition of eco-anarchist groups is increasingly launching violent attacks on scientists.” [Nature]
  • “Jury Blames ‘Erin Brockovich’ Doc For His Patient’s Illness, Not Defendants” [Daniel Fisher, Forbes]
  • “Judge declines to toss Chevron RICO case against lawyer over $18bln award” [Reuters, Folkman/Letters Blogatory] Videos tell Chevron side of story in hotly disputed Ecuador Lago Agrio dispute [“Amazon Post“]
  • NGOs’ bag of tricks: Greenpeace helped pack International Whaling Commission thirty years ago by paying dues for small states to join [Skodvin/Andresen via Spiro/OJ]
  • Distinguishing the areas of clear vision from the blind spots in Chicago Tribune’s flameproofing series [Coyote, earlier]
  • Wilderness regs prevent town of Tombstone, Ariz. from rebuilding water pipes destroyed in fire [Daily Caller]
  • Look! Over that factory! It’s a plume of (shudder) … water vapor! [Coyote]
  • National Science Foundation grantee: “Tort actions may impel industry to … redesign chemical molecules … to be less toxic.” [David Oliver, Ted Frank]

The twitching teens of LeRoy, N.Y.

Susan Dominus explores an outbreak of tics and other neurological symptoms among teenage girls in a town near Rochester, as hyped on outlets like “Today” and CNN. Roving Tort-Finder Erin Brockovich, who parachuted into the town to blame possible chemical spills, does not come off well either: “Things only go wrong,’ [King’s College London epidemiologist Simon] Wessely wrote in 1995, ‘when the nature of an outbreak is not recognized, and a fruitless and expensive search for toxins, fumes and gases begins.’” [NY Times Magazine]

Brockovich meets Tourette’s in Leroy, N.Y.

“In non-Western countries, demons and witchcraft are still sometimes blamed for outbreaks of fainting and fits [PDF]. Pollution, poisoning, chemical weapons, and other environmental concerns are dominant in the West (a fact that makes Brockovich something of a mass hysteria machine). Some bloggers are now claiming that the upstate New York girls fell ill because of the HPV vaccine or fracking.” [Ruth Graham, Slate]

January 5 roundup

Below-average cancer rates found in town of Brockovich fame

After alarmist coverage about how the water supply of rural Hinkley, Calif. is laced with carcinogenic chromium 6, it may have surprised some L.A. Times readers to learn that the town’s cancer rate is actually a bit below average. One interviewed local family blames the pollution for a variety of ills ranging from stroke to cognitive deficits to miscarriage to tumors in a pet dog. When the movie “Erin Brockovich” came out, it was pointed out that workers at the utility plant where the contamination originated had a life expectancy exceeding the California average.

P.S. I see that Tim Cavanaugh of Reason is on the case too.

November 23 roundup

  • Growth of regulatory state makes lobbying more attractive path than innovation [Morris Panner, WaPo]
  • Long-awaited Norma Zager book flays Erin Brockovich role in Beverly Hills High School controversy [CJAC]
  • Colorado high court: no need to limit medical fee awards to sums plaintiffs actually paid [CCJL, Law Week Colorado]
  • Please, law firm marketers, don’t assume we’re in need of your services [Popehat]
  • Updates on prosecutorial silencing of pain treatment activist Siobhan Reynolds [Sullum, more, yet more, Balko]
  • Comments of NTSB official notwithstanding, riding motorcycle without helmet is no “public health issue” [Boaz, Cato] Watch out for more paternalism premised on government health care expenditures [Coyote]
  • No contracting out? Can California really be this screwed up? [Coyote]
  • Claim: railroad should have warned against walking on the right-of-way [six years ago on Overlawyered]

July 28 roundup