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In-Depth Interview: Journalist Dahr Jamail and Expert Dan Hirsch Fear that Angelinos Were Exposed to Toxic Emissions from Woolsey Fire

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As state officials deny any risk to the public from the devastating Woolsey fire near Los Angeles in November, 2018, reporter Dahr Jamail and expert Dan Hirsch offer strong evidence of health risks, including nuclear contamination.Jamail is a veteran reporter for Truthout, and the author of an important new book about climate change, The End of Ice. PBC will interview Jamail about the book on Saturday, February 2 at 7:30 pm at the First Presbyterian Church in San Anselmo, Marin County.  Jamail wrote this story about the Woolsey fire in late November.

Hirsch is retired as lecturer at UC Santa Cruz who also taught at UCLA in the 1970’s and ’80’s.  At Santa Cruz, he was director of the Program on Environmental and Nuclear policy.  As he explains, with the help of students in 1979, he exposed the dark history of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory(SSFL), the abandoned facility where the Woolsey fire started.  The history includes a partial nuclear meltdown in 1959 and the residual affect of tens of thousands of tests of rocket engines at SSFL.  Hirsch is also president of the Committee to Bridge the Gap, which fought for the cleanup of SSFL–which was supposed to be completed by 2017, but in fact has not even begun.

Jamail describes the fire–which ravaged 100,000 acres in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, killing 3 people and destroying 400 structures.  He pinpoints the start of the fire at SSFL, and is critical of most corporate media outlets for ignoring the story and accepting government assurances of “no risk”.

Hirsch shares his deep knowledge of SSFL, and is sharply critical of former Gov. Brown for personnel moves he made to the obscure Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), which Hirsch describes as a classic “captive” regulatory agency.  The SSFL cleanup plan was derailed after Brown took office in 2010.

Both guests indicate that independent studies are underway to measure any toxic residue from the fires, and from rains that put out the fire and dispersed the toxins in a radius that’s not yet known.