‘A grim-faced George AuClair Jr. wandered his 25-acre patch of desert looking every inch the broken man.
“I’m ashamed of what happened here, but you can’t lie about it,” said the Torres Martinez tribal member. “You have to own up when you do wrong.”
Not far away, bulldozers piled up mountains of junk from AuClair’s illegal dump, a dump so toxic it has been declared a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency. He now faces millions of dollars in fines. [..]
AuClair’s biggest mistake was burning thousands of toxic wooden grape stakes.
“How could we have known grape stakes were treated with arsenic and chromium?” he asked. “There was no sign saying, ‘This is hazardous to your health.’ ”
And he insists his own health wasn’t damaged.
“I lost my hair, but I think that was a thyroid problem,” he said, “and I get headaches, but that could be anything.”‘