2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 17:04:22 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Who Decides What?
As I hear things, the Defense Department is willing to concede authority
over "environmental" issues at munitions ranges to EPA and state
regulators, but it want to retain final authority over "explosives
safety" decisions. With such authority, it expects to trump the
requirements that environmental regulators attempt to impose at sites
with live ordnance.

I am willing to accept Explosives Safety Board jurisdiction over
narrowly defined explosives safety issues. For example, these are the
officials who should decide when it's safe to move a piece of unexploded
ordnance (UXO), but I think there is a third category: explosive risk
management. Ultimate authority over safety issues should not be seen as
the same as the power to select remedies.

The Defense Department clearly has the expertise in the area of
explosives safety, but range remediation is not the same as explosive
ordnance disposal. In fact, one of the biggest problems with the
military UXO program is that it has built the program - technology,
process, contracting, etc. - from explosives ordnance disposal. But the
two missions are not the same.

Risk management decisions, such as how deep to clear an area, should be
made by regulators, not the parties responsible for creating (and liable
for cleaning up) the mess.

If I ran the circus, I would make a list of decisions associated with a
typical Range/UXO response project, and I would assign final
decision-making authority for each item to either the Defense Department
or the appropriate regulators.

Ideally, everyone would reach consensus and one would never have to get
to the final dispute-resolving level. But "who ultimately decides what"
needs to be established up front.

List of typical UXO decisions:

How large an area should be sampled for UXO? - regulators

Should a piece of UXO be detonated in place because it's unsafe to move?
- Defense

To what depth should clearance be conducted? - regulators

What type of access controls should be put in place at a site? -

Should specific groups of people be allowed onto a site in its current
condition? - Defense

What level of training should a UXO technician have to work on a site? -
Defense (perhaps shared with occupational safety and health agencies)



Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 222B View St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/968-1126

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