Published September 07, 2010
In an honor that could be misinterpreted as a slap in the face, a Los Angeles school district has named a new academy after Al Gore -- the only problem is the school was built on toxic soil.
The Los Angeles Times reports that crews worked up to the Labor Day weekend to try to clean up the Carson-Gore Academy of Environmental Sciences in the run-up to its Sept. 13 opening.
The $75.5 million facility was named after Gore, who has made bringing awareness to climate change a personal cause since leaving office, and environmental author Rachel Carson. The former vice president was never informed the school would bear his name.
According to the Times, the soil underneath the building used to hold more than a dozen storage tanks. An environmental coalition complained that the school was an "affront" to its namesakes.
Crews worked to mitigate the damage from the tanks by replacing the toxic soil with clean soil -- two 3,800-square-foot plots of it. But the school is also near underground tanks from a nearby gas station, near an oil well, above an oil field and on top of contaminated groundwater.
School officials, however, say those potential hazards pose no risks and that they will continue to monitor for any changes. Top school safety officer John Sterritt told the Times "there's no doubt in my mind that the site is safe" after a $4 million cleanup.