Erin Brockovich part 2

George AFBErin Brockovich, the movie. Erin was a bit of flake until she found herself involved in a pro bono law case involving Hinkley, California and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). PG&E has a plant in Hinkley which is a small, desert community on the western outskirts of Barstow, California. PG&E had polluted the water table in Hinkley with hexavalent chromium and was attempting a coverup. Erin and the lawyer she worked for gathered documentation from the residents made ill by the PG&E pollution. Finally they were awarded $333 million which was a record at the time.

Just 30 miles to the southwest in Victorville, California, sits the former George AFB, which was a government facility with similar problems. Residents in a small residential area of California tract homes on the base were developing health problems from hazardous waste dumped on the surrounding land. Those homes were evacuated and now constitute a modern California ghost town. I visited the area recently and the homes present a post-apocalyptic appearance. Graffiti everywhere, windows broken, trees starting to grow in the cracks in the pavement, as the homes start to melt back into the desert. That case has not been settled yet as the government denies responsibility.

Please see Erin Brockovich