“Bombs in your Back Yard” series by ProPublica

Frank has forwarded information to us about ProPublica’s series, “Bombs in Our Backyards.” (LINK)  This work sheds light on the dangerous environmental practices the DOD has been dealing with.  

On May 7, 2018, ProPublica’s Abrahm Lustgarten writes: Get an Inside Look at the Department of Defense’s Struggle to Fix Pollution at More Than 39,000 Sites (LINK)

“For the first time, the Pentagon’s internal database used to track its environmental problems is available to the public.”

The interactive, searchable, zoomable, ProPublica maps may aid claimants support their cases (LINK)


For example, in 2017,

Veterans Law Judge (BVA), Michael Lane, remanded a case of a veteran who believes his illnesses were caused by exposure to dioxins at the former Norton Air Force Base (1942-1994).

He instructed (LINK to Citation Nr: 1802858):

“The AOJ should undertake appropriate development to attempt to corroborate the Veteran’s alleged exposure to chemicals, to include dioxin and/or dioxin-contaminated soil, while stationed at Norton AFB between November 1967 and September 1971. The AOJ should specifically consider the Veteran’s contentions he was exposed while performing duties as a security police augmentee, to include guard duty.”

Norton Air Force Base is now San Bernardino International Airport Authority (LINK).

The ProPublica map breaks down the 204 remediation activities there–just click & scroll:

Looking at the dates, in the interest of the backlog crisis and justice, why couldn’t a staffer at the Board pick up the phone or email agency’s (CDC, EPA, etc..) who could easily provide the information?   Or at the San Diego RO?  Or the veteran’s attorney?

“…These matters come before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) on appeal from a January 2009 rating decision. These matters were remanded by the Board in December 2016… …In March 2017, the Veteran testified at a videoconference hearing before the undersigned Veterans Law Judge.
The decision was 1/12/18.

Norton AFB did not get on the Superfund site overnight (LINK).

Click to see free full text for basic information from AF, not detailed scientific studies.

An official document from 1990 indicates that closure studies had been in the works for years prior to publication. (LINK)

I think part of the value to toxin-afflicted veterans and their families is to research, with the aid of  ProPublica maps, all the bases they served on.  It’s possible that known toxins may have caused or contributed, (“more likely than not”) to certain conditions.

Thanks to Frank for spotting and sharing this brilliant resource and to ProPublic for creating it.


About Laura

NW Vermont.
This entry was posted in Agent Orange, All about Veterans, AO, BvA Decisions, DM II, Food for thought, General Messages, Guest authors, Military Madness, research, VA BACKLOG and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to “Bombs in your Back Yard” series by ProPublica

  1. Gary Butler says:

    Just a side note for you 🙂 I had a couple of flights to Vegas and back to Atlanta and bus time going on an escorted tour of National Parks. I downloaded about 100 CAVC cases searching on TDIU, PTSD mainly to scan during that travel. One of the cases had a “scribe” who was much appreciated by the judge in a foot note, anybody you know? 🙂

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