2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 13:21:15 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Stakeholder Information
[This message was posted to the listserve by Ed Oberweiser, 

Hi folks,

I am requesting that you place this important press release on your mail 
list server. It is important for stakeholders around military bases 
being closed.

Thank You
Ed Oberweiser

F O R  I M M E D I A T E  R E L E A S E

Federal Court upholds Fort Ord Toxic Project's Lawsuit

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refuses to overturn its landmark
decision in favor of the Fort Ord Toxics Project's (FOTP) 
precedent-setting lawsuit against The U.S. Army, the Department of
Defense and the State of California  over toxic landfills at the former 
Fort Ord Army training base in Monterey, California.

The  denial of the Army's appeal was handed down on January 7, 2000 in 
San Jose, California.

FOTP and the Callifornia Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG)
originally filed suit in mid-1997 against the federal and state
government to stop the Army's  dumping  hazardous wastes into the
unlined landfill on Fort Ord in Monterey County, California. Fort Ord is 
designated as a national (Superfund) cleanup site by the federal
government (EPA).

The Army is using the landfill to dispose of hazardous wastes excavated 
from multiple sites across Fort Ord.  Evidence indicates that the toxic 
wastes threaten an underground aquifer that is the primary source of 
drinking water for the City of Marina, Monterey, County, California.

The original 9th Circuit Court decision, on September 2, 1999 stated
that the right to challenge Superfund cleanups at federally owned
property is broader than the right to challenge such cleanups at private 
sites.  The court stated the decision "allows plaintiffs to sue to 
enjoin many cleanups on federal property even though plaintiffs could 
not sue to enjoin a similar cleanup on private property."

The FOTP lawsuit is a precedent-setting case. The court's decision,
written by Judge Charles Wiggins, acknowledged that it is the first of 
its kind in the nation.  The opinion stated, "no [other] circuit court 
has published a decision reaching this question."

"Over the years, the U.S. Military has polluted millions of acres of
land at thousands of military bases across the nation with highly toxic 
substances," says Executive Director of the Fort Ord Toxics Project, 
Curt Gandy. "In addition, the military has refused to adequately clean 
up its toxic legacy.  At one base after another, the military fails in 
its response to clean up the pollution.  The Army and the federal 
government believe they are  protected from citizen lawsuits that 
challenge their cleanup actions.  This decision changes that.  FOTP vs. 
Army  has national implications."

"This decision provides millions of people across the U.S., who live in 
the shadow of toxic pollution at military bases, with a right to sue the 
U.S. and demand cleanups that protect the health and safety of their 
children," said Scott Allen of Cox & Moyer in San Francisco, attorney 
for the plaintiffs.

FOTP is a community-based, non-profit organization of residents living 
on and around Fort Ord and Monterey Bay,  formed to ensure the cleanup 
of environmental pollution on and around the former Army base protects 
human health, safety and the environment.

CALPIRG is a California-wide educational and issue-advocacy organization 
engaged in research, lobbying, and citizen organizing to encourage 
protection and preservation of the public health and the environment.

The plaintiffs represented by attorneys Scott Allen of Cox & Moyer and 
Charles Caldart and David Nicholas of the Boston-based National
Environmental Law Center.

For Further Information Contact: Curt Gandy, FOTP director (831)
641-5353 or attorneys Scott Allen (415) 543-9464 and Charles Caldart
(206) 568-2853.

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