Former Vice President Al Gore Silent After School Bearing His Name Is Built on Toxic Ground

Critics Say Gore should speak up about Los Angeles' Carson-Gore Academy.

ByABC News
September 7, 2010, 5:46 PM

Sept. 8, 2010 — -- Critics of a Los Angeles school built on toxic soil are asking former Vice President Al Gore, after whom the school is named, to break his silence and condemn the location of the school before it opens next week.

The school, dubbed the Carson-Gore Academy after Gore and the late environmentalist Rachel Carson, who wrote about the dangers of chemical pesticides, has been under fire since officials discovered contaminated soil in the ground on which it was built. The soil has since been replaced.

But critics wonder why Gore has stayed mum on the environmental hazards they say are still lurking beneath the elementary school.

"It's unconscionable that this is condoned by environmental leaders," said Jane Williams, the executive director of the non-profit environmental group California Communities Against Toxics. "I'd like to hear from Mr. Gore."

"I'd like to hear about what he thinks about sending children to a school that's been built on contaminated soil," Williams said. "Silence is a form of condoning something like that."

Kalee Kreider, Gore's spokeswoman, said the office had no comment.

A representative for Carson's estate was unable to be reached.

Williams and other state environmentalists say the school, listed in public records on the state's Department of Toxic Substances Control website as Central Elementary School #13, has been constructed on too hazardous a plot of land.

"This is far less than an ideal circumstance and there are things you can do to ensure that contaminated soil vapors aren't leaking [into the school]," Williams said.

But everything that can be done has been to ensure that students and their teachers are safe, according to the Los Angeles Unified School District, which oversees the school.