*This clip is from a previously recorded episode of America’s Lawyer*

Via America’s LawyerMike Papantonio and Trial Magazines Editor Farron Cousins discuss how the EPA may be lowering pollution standards to accommodate the widespread use of PFA’s among U.S. military bases. This despite 172 military sites having been confirmed to be contaminating neighborhoods nearby, with a potential cleanup costing nearly one billion dollars. The chemical is popularly used by firefighters and manufacturers of non-stick cookware, and has made its way into over 90 percent of Americans’ bloodstreams. Plus, lawsuits against Boeing over the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash have been filed as Ethiopian investigators say the pilots did everything they could to stop the plane form nose-diving. Mollye Barrows, Legal journalist with the Trial Lawyer Magazine, joins Mike Papantonio to discuss.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             The EPA is trying to weaken the rules for the Defense Department so they can pollute communities without the fear of any kind of oversight at all. And so where we’re really seeing this is the topic on PFOA, I mean C8. You know, the case, The Devil We Know, how do you get a better documentary? This documentary is winning every kind of award you can possibly win. It’s called The Devil We Know.

It talks about the tragedy of C8 and how it’s killing people in your, it’s in your drinking water. It’s killing you with, with cancer. It’s killing with neurological disease. It’s causing birth defects. And the public has barely paid attention to it until we tried that case in the Ohio River Valley. Remember I tried, we tried four one behind each other and punished DuPont, and then all of a sudden, now all this information’s coming out, except the DOD and the Pentagon want to keep it quiet.

Farron Cousins:                  Right, because this, these PFOA chemicals, it’s not just C8, this stuff is, is everywhere. It’s in firefighter foam and that’s where a lot of the contamination from the Department of Defense comes from. The firefighting foam, they use it all the time on military basis. It’s in rain coats, it’s in any kind of nonstick, slick coating. PFOA’s are in 98% of our bodies in this country and it stays there for years and years.

Mike Papantonio:             Teflon pans, you go to your kitchen and you’re going to find it all over your kitchen Teflon pans. Okay, so here’s what they found. These, these military bases where there’s about 600 of them, they use this for firefighting as you point out. And now we know that they’ve, they’ve identified 172 sites where we know that because of that military base, the drinking water and the groundwater in that area around the base has been affected and it’s been affected this way.

We know this for sure. We know that if there’s a certain level of C8 in your drinking water, you are multiple, multiple increased risk for cancer. Now in and when we tried the case up in Parker’s, I mean, up in the Ohio River Valley, most scientists will tell you there should be zero C8 in your water. But the EPA to begin with said, oh no, let’s make it if it’s okay, if there’s only 30 parts per trillion in your drinking water.

Now to put it in perspective, one drop in a, an Olympic size pool, one drop, just a regular job in an Olympic size pool is one part per billion. And they’re saying 30 parts per trillion is acceptable. But the Department of Justice, I mean the Pentagon, that’s not even enough for them is it? Pentagon’s fighting back on that aren’t they?

Farron Cousins:                  Right, the Pentagon wants to up it because they know how much contamination they have. And they say, how about for just us, EPA, how about you, you give us a special deal that’s 300 parts per trillion. They want to take it up to 300 parts per trillion. We’re talking about more than roughly five times what the EPA even says is borderline acceptable. And the Pentagon wants to say, you know what? We want to save $2 billion because that’s how much they’ll save if they up the standards. So could you just do it for us? I mean, this is a department that has $750 billion in fund money per year.

Mike Papantonio:             And they’re complaining that it’s going to cost them a billion or so to clean this up.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             They could do it tomorrow. The second thing they’re doing is they’re trying to slow the process down. The EPA is dysfunctional and as, you know, awful as they are, had enough sense to say, this is an emergency. We need to handle this as an emergency. And the Pentagon is saying, no, we don’t really want to handle the emergency. Let’s slow play this. Let’s see where it goes. Where, where it goes is people are drinking C8. They’re bathing in it, they’re filling, they’re feeding it to their children in baby formula when they mixed baby formula.

This stuff is very, very dangerous. And the Department of Defense, the Pentagon is doing everything they can to play, slow play this out. And if you’re living in Michigan, if you’re living in California, if you’re living in New Jersey, buddy, you are in the red zone. You are in the red zone for this because it’s in your drinking water, probably. That’s what’s so ugly and the Department of, the Pentagon says, eh, so what. You know, so we poisoned your water. We don’t have enough money to pay for it right now. They got plenty of money.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, you and I right now are sitting in an area that’s basically surrounded by three massive military bases and we know according to maps by the Environmental Working group, this area you and I are sitting in right now is one of those sites that is hugely contaminated. We, we, we have it right here in our backyard, quite literally, and the people in this area, I don’t even think that they understand. But that’s what people have to realize is that just because it’s not on the national news doesn’t mean that you’re not being exposed to this. People should be talking about this. The media absolutely is God awful.

Mike Papantonio:             Well the media is responsible for a lot of this. You understand, corporate media didn’t tell this story because DuPont and 3M were their big advertisers. So they refuse to tell the story. Even, this is so interesting, even when I was in trial, they wouldn’t tell the story. So, you know, this is a story, this, this, this stuff is killing people. Farron, thanks for joining me. Okay.

Farron Cousins:                  Thank you.

Mike Papantonio:             Ethiopian investigators say the preliminary report in the last month’s deadly Ethiopian Airlines plane crash shows the two pilots tried everything they could do to stop the airplane from nose-diving. Lawsuits against Boeing are already being filed over the crash. Mollye Barrows, legal journalist with the Trial Lawyer Magazine, joins me now to talk more about that. I’ll tell you, you probably had the same impression I did. After Ethiopia, 30 countries grounded this airplane.

Mollye Barrows:                That’s right.

Mike Papantonio:             But not the US.

Mollye Barrows:                Not right away no.

Mike Papantonio:             And as I look at it, I mean, it’s the same old story. Boeing has a huge footprint in politics and so we kept the airplanes flying, running the risk again and again for all those people that were flying on the airlines. What caused the crash as far as what they found?

Mollye Barrows:                Well, of course it’s going to take a year as far as the Ethiopian investigation for them to pinpoint an exact cause or go on the record with it, but right now the preliminary findings, which just came out recently, the investigators are essentially suspecting that these pilots couldn’t get this anti-stall software to control it. It basically was overriding them. It was sending the plane into a nosedive very similar to a crash that happened in October in Indonesia; same plane, same Boeing 737 Max with this updated software that essentially they can’t override it.

Mike Papantonio:             When they started coming out and they call them glass cockpits. In modern jets it’s called the glass cockpit, and what it means is you’re getting away from traditional digital. What you’re moving into is something that’s so sophisticated. If you talk to a lot of pilots about this, they’ll tell you it’s getting too smart.

Mollye Barrows:                That’s what they said. There wasn’t enough training for it.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, they put in some new system and when you look at the decision, you go, great. You know, the airplane will land itself if it has to, but right now, in this situation, the criticism is technology is exceeding the training and capability of some of the pilots.

Mollye Barrows:                Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             And that’s exactly what this story’s about, but as you watch this develop, I mean you’re going to see Boeing push back in a big, big way. They’re going to push back politically. I mean here again, 30 countries grounded the airplane, but not the FAA.

Mollye Barrows:                Yeah, so it was basically right after that Ethiopian crash last month that within days, 30 countries from India to Africa were saying no more of this jet and not until we get a handle on what’s going on with this software, and the FAA was saying, we’re fact-based. We’re data driven. We need to get all our ducks in a row before we do this because of course Boeing is an American company and they’re, like you said, politically entwined so that could perhaps be their motivation, but their on the record was that they wanted to get all the data first.

And of course the data that they did go and find suggested the same thing that these other investigators have found, which is why the other countries suspended and grounded the jet, which was that they still didn’t have a handle on this software and they felt it was to blame for these planes nose-diving because the pilots basically tried to override it and couldn’t.

Mike Papantonio:             Right. I’m intrigued by this governmental response. We see the same thing with the FDA all the time. The FDA, there’ll be a drug that’s killing people and it’ll be on the market in Europe and the European agencies will say get it off the market. So sometimes they’ll get the product off the market a full year before the United States even takes action, and when you look at why that happens, it is part of that lobbyist intrigue. It is who do you know? Who can you talk to? How much money have you spread around? So even though this was a short period of time, oddly enough, it was Trump demanding that they ground this airplane.

Mollye Barrows:                Only because Canada by the Wednesday afternoon. So basically then the crash happened over the weekend, March 17th and then that following Wednesday, those 30 countries, including Canada by the end of the day had said, we’re grounding this jet, and that’s when president Trump stepped forward and said, well, we’re going to ground this jet as well, which was an unusual move because as you said, the FAA normally makes that call. And it wasn’t until after president Trump said that, that they went ahead and grounded the jet as well. But you know, they’re also saying that Boeing’s going to be under investigation by the Justice Department as well as the FBI for whatever they knew or didn’t know.

Mike Papantonio:             And for whatever they concealed I’m telling you.

Mollye Barrows:                And Boeing says they support grounding the jet, and you know there are lawsuits; so that’s the other thing. And they’re saying the same thing that the software, wasn’t it.

Mike Papantonio:             We’re going to find a document trail in here. This is going to scare the bejesus out of people. Thank you for joining me, Mollye.

Mollye Barrows:                Yes, thank you, Pap.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.