Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Paul and Ellen Connett came down Sunday night, arriving close to midnight after the drive from upstate New York. They are full of stories, people who have travelled the world fighting against trash burning, recently in Mauritius, but big in Italy. Breakfast with Susan and me around the kitchen table with the kids still asleep upstairs, preparing for the Title V appeal hearing. Paul was my witness. They lived in Camden Town in the eighties, met as Biafra activists, then he got a PhD in chemistry at Dartmouth and began lecturing on the dangers of incineration, the dioxins, fine particulates. He is a tall man and once in Spain was approached by an old man who told him he looked more like a priest than a scientist. He stood and blessing the old man with the sign of the Cross said "God recycles, my son. The devil burns," translated for him by the Greenpeace translator at the event. The audience loved it.
Not so much the Air Resources Council, sleepy industry representatives who didn't want to hear his lecture on dioxin formation and fetuses. I suppose it assumes a certain level of interest. I gave them a run for their money, debating with the silverhaired lawyer for Wheelabrator on the statutory basis for my appeal, which I insisted was the primary legal duty to protect public health, not monitor emissions compliance, and of course he insisisted on the process, intended to narrow the focus so that citizen participation is minimized to non-existence. After five hours the hearing was adjourned. Katy Lajoie hugged me. You broke it f...ng wide open, she said. Then we gathered outside, laughing and recalling some of the exchanges, releasing pent up nerves. After a celebratory lunch downtown in Concord, we said goodbye, vowing to meet up again soon. Then I saw the front page story in the Monitor and bought the last two copies from the machine on the corner. They sound-bited me, typical dumbing down story. I felt like I'd been through the shredder, and this somewhat false version of me, like the coffee grinds from the morning breakfast in the sink at home, was all that was left. Thank God for the blog, letting me digest it, filter it through my own words
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