Is Pollution the Snag in El Toro Plans?
Re “Pollution at El Toro Said Not a Threat,” April 26:
That is good news for those who have been hoping for the end of the El Toro fight. Sale of the land for homes, business and a Great Park and educational center for Orange County will begin this year.
But the article gives too much weight to the contrary opinion of lawyer Greg Hurley, characterizing him as an environmental watchdog and failing to fully identify his role. Hurley, and his law firm, work for the Airport Working Group. This Newport Beach organization is still pushing for an airport at El Toro, to reduce use of John Wayne Airport.
In the near past, any reference to an El Toro airport aroused visions of massive contamination that would ruin life for South County residents. Now South County is willing to accept the residual pollution on El Toro and incorporate it into daily life without even knowing the extent or nature of that contamination. The Navy and Irvine say the residual contamination from 50 years of airport operation is minimal and can be cleaned up within three years at a cost of only $70 million. The Navy bases its rosy assessment on the lack of any records that actually show where any toxic materials were actually stored or dumped at El Toro.
In contrast, Hurley, an environmental attorney who has spent more than eight years quantifying the pollution at El Toro, points out that on the eve of the airport transfer, new hazardous materials are still being found. He bases his statements on measurements rather than lack of records.