2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: rama@accutek.com
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 15:46:36 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] California Failing to do Its Job at Depot written by Grace Po
This "Your Turn" Editorial ran on today's Reno Gazeette Journal, 2/15/99
Thank you for posting.

California Failing to do Its Job at Depot

Why is the California Department of Toxic Substances (DTSC) undermining
local and tribal efforts to halt Open Burning/ Open Detonations (OB/OD) of
obsolete munitions at the  Sierra Army Depot?  Why has DTSC failed to
staunchly advocate the use of available alternative technologies?

This in spite of California's hazardous waste regulations (California Code
of Regulations, Title 22 C.C.R.  Section 66265.382) which allows the open
burning/open detonating of  "waste explosives," but only if the waste
explosives "cannot safely be disposed of through other modes of treatment."
The OB/OD conducted at the Sierra Army Depot violates these regulations
because other modes of treatment do exist for safely disposing munitions.
DTSC's response that alternatives technologies are not  available at the
Depot suggests that alternatives are nonexistent.

As our recent tour of the Hawthorne Western Area Demilitarization Facility
demonstrates many types of munitions can be safely recycled or disposed of.
In addition, at least one manufacturer has designed a "blast chamber" that
is capable of containing explosions of munitions with 1,000 pounds of net
explosive weight.  Such chambers are capable of containing the explosions of
most, if not all, of the munitions disposed by the Army at the Sierra Army
Depot.  Furthermore, development of several alternative technologies at the
Depot would assure no loss of jobs at the Depot and would instead provide an
opportunity for increased employment at both the Hawthorne and Sierra Army

California Department of Toxic Substances has taken no consequential actions
to cease OB/OD activities and advocate new alternatives at the Sierra Army
Depot while at the same time promoting the  Army's request for a ten year
permit.   The Draft Environmental Impact Report prepared under the
California Environmental Quality Act provides no serious analysis of current
alternatives available to the Army.  Instead,  DTSC  has allowed the fox to
watch over the chicken coop by relying solely on the Army to describe the
process for evaluation of alternatives to OB/OD and incineration.  DTSC
inadequately attempts to address the call for alternatives technologies by
requiring that the Army submit a certification for the evaluation of
alternative treatment technologies every year after they grant the 10 year

We also question why DTSC halted the burning of Minuteman solid rocket fuel
motors at United Technologies Corporation (UTC), located near San Jose,  due
to health and environmental concerns of impacted local residents but, has
since allowed this same activity at the Sierra Army Depot.  DTSC has most
recently joined federal regulators in recommending that the Army explore
alternatives to the Open Detonation of unexploded ordnance at Fort Ord, CA.
Are residents living near UTC and Fort Ord considered more valuable in the
eyes of DTSC because of population densities or is it because DTSC knows
that the prevailing winds blow a great share of the toxic plumes into Nevada
and therefore it is not their worry?

In response to Lassen County concerns in a letter dated December, 17, 1999,
DTSC has downplayed the legitimate concerns of Lassen County with responses
based on assumptions and theoretical findings undermining efforts to
see the issue resolved.  The cave man days of OB/OD are coming to an end.
It is time DTSC take firm and responsible actions to come on board and
demand an end to OB/OD and the establishment of alternative technologies at
the Sierra Army Depot.

Written by:
Grace Marie Potorti
Rural Alliance for Military Accountability (RAMA)
P.O. Box 60036
Reno, NV  89506
Phone: 775-677-7001
Fax: 775-677-7001*
E-mail: rama@accutek.com
Website: http://www.rama-usa.org

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