Golf Channel is moving most of their operations to NBC’s Stamford studios, and a lot of employees are losing their jobs as part of that restructuring.
Now some of the network’s current and/or former Orlando employees are joining an environmental lawsuit against Lockheed Martin, alleging the defense and aerospace giant failed to properly manage or dispose of toxic waste at a plant near Golf Channel’s longtime headquarters.
That’s according to this report from Monivette Cordeiro in the Orlando Sentinel:
Defense giant Lockheed Martin created an “environmental nightmare” at its facility off Sand Lake Road by mismanaging hazardous toxins, which contaminated nearby workers who were later diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, brain lesions, cancer and other diseases, newly filed lawsuits say.
Orlando attorney John Morgan said his firm filed two complaints Monday in federal court, including a class-action lawsuit, against Lockheed Martin on behalf of Golf Channel employees who worked close to the site in Tangelo Park, as well as area residents.
If you’re wondering just how close the Lockeed site is to Golf Channel, as I was, Google Maps says “very close”:
According to the Sentinel, there are eleven Golf Channel employees taking part in the suit, who worked at the network’s headquarters at points ranging from Golf Channel’s 1994 (the network debuted in January of 1995) through this year. The allegations against Lockheed sound fairly standard in terms of corporate disregard for hazardous material disposal, but it’s especially wild considering how densely populated the area is surrounding the site.
Instead of carefully managing the waste, attorneys alleged Lockheed Martin stored toxins in leaking storage tanks, collected and transported waste in leaking underground piping systems and dumped tons of toxic waste sludge inside trenches dug at the Orlando facility.
Regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limit certain chemical contaminants in drinking water to 5 parts per billion (ppb) with a goal of having zero. The lawsuit alleges two contaminants were detected in groundwater underneath the Lockheed Martin facility in concentrations as high as 386,000 ppb and 213,600 ppb.
The company tried to treat the contaminated soil and groundwater by installing air strippers and soil vapor extraction systems that would remove the pollutants by turning them into gas, the suit states.
But Lockheed Martin “failed to contain” gaseous toxins in a sealed collection system, instead expelling them directly into the air and exposing nearby residents and workers, the lawsuit alleges.
“The contaminants present at the Orlando [facility] damage virtually every human bodily system,” the complaint said. “… Many of the contaminants present at the Orlando [facility] are powerful carcinogens and cause a wide array of different cancers.”
That’s obviously bad, if true! And it’s hard to give the huge company the benefit of the doubt here, all things considered, especially given Lockheed’s track record in this area. “Not having to work right across the street from a potential Superfund site” is maybe the only positive for some of the Golf Channel staff affected by their ongoing restructuring.