Ashland, Kentucky Big Run Land Fill Methane Spill

I am notorious for working the shadows of causes.  To date, has never had a single article published about us – other than three poorly worded, venemous, and very confusing posts written by an elderly wannabe blogger in Virginia named Roger Bianchini (so sad when the mind goes) with six readers and no degree in journalism  –  which both benefits us but damages me at the same time.

The benefits are that I’m able to continually fly under the radar, virtually unknown to the public consciousness.  This benefits in that since no one knows who I am, I’m able to walk into a town, go completely unrecognized, and I can acquire inside information about toxic incidents from locals.  If I was famous, like Erin Brockovich, my social engineering tactics would no longer work.  I would walk up to a resident of a city or town, they would recognize me, and they’d immediately change the way they approached our conversations.

At the same time, since I work to stay hidden, as much as I can, it damages me because we have no media articles to source the work we do.  However, the media fails to write about a lot of people, like the guy who flew the gyro-copter onto the front lawn of the White House, because the media wouldn’t write about him.

Another person I can immediately point out is a man in Oregon named Dan Larsen, who has been at the forefront of the military bases as toxic waste sites, for the last ten years.  He’s battled for a decade to educate the public about the 150+ bases that are Superfund toxic waste sites, and the media has wholly avoided his work, as well.  Therefore, using the logic that just because the media hasn’t written about a person or organization means they are not legit is flawed logic.

The best example of us working in behind the scenes was in Ashland, Kentucky, where the States of New York and New Jersey had dumped 45 million tons of trash into the Big Run Landfill, via their infamous garbage trains.  The trash piled up so high that it collapsed and spilled trapped methane into the atmosphere.  I first learned of the spill when I visited Ashland, the city where my daughter was born, and smelled what I thought was a giant gas leak.

The woman at the hotel desk told me the story of Big Run Landfill and I was shocked.  I lived in Ashland in 2007 and when I had been there previously, the air was not poisoned.  Shortly after I met this woman, Denise, I left Ashland and headed back to California.  I was tempted to go and capture film of the garbage trains, but thought better of it.  It would have been much easier for me to hire a local who could obtain the footage for me, because they would have more knowledge of the location of the trains.

I still have the footage, but I have never released it, because I’m using it in a coming film about how the mainstream media treats toxic incidents.  However, I contributed a sizeable amount of time to fighting for the community of Ashland, by acting as a publicist for the cause, which helped for two reasons:  First, I contacted roughly a hundred media outlets about the ongoing battle.  Second, none of them wrote about it, giving me a large list of mainstream media outlets that virtually abandoned the town of Ashland, which is a great living example of mainstream media’s continued refusal to fully address environmental causes.

Yet, I was told by people in town —  who were close to the cause — that Envirosolutions, the company that hauled the trash and operated Big Run Landfill, were inundated by media requests, which partially led to all rail operations into Kentucky being divested.  I can’t take all the credit, though.  Local coalitions did great work joining together to fight, along with a few attorneys who threatened litigation.  Together our efforts toppled the very powerful people who had caused the spill with their carelessness.

I’ve often paraphrased the above story and said we toppled Chris Christie, but the reality is that The State of New York was involved, too.  In the end I was able to be a part of the battle, while gaining no public attention, which is the way I prefer it.

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