2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Aimee Houghton <aimeeh@cpeo.org>
Date: Tue, 16 May 2000 14:51:55 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Vieques Land Transfer Amendment Reverses Env. Law
[I received the following analysis on Rep. Ike Skelton's Amendment 
(amendment 42) to H.R. 4205 the Defense Authorization Bill. --Aimee]

Amendment 42 (Skelton) in Subsection d(3) reverses a long-standing policy 
of the environmental laws and a legal requirement of the Comprehensive 
Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) by 
authorizing the Navy Secretary rather than the Administrator of the 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make the determination of what 
response action is necessary to protect human health and the 
environment.   This empowers the agency which has caused the pollution to 
determine the levels of cleanup and changes current law (Section 
120(e)(4)(A) of CERCLA) which gives the ultimate decision on the proper 
remedy to the EPA Administrator.

The amendment in Subsection (d)(2) and (3) also precludes the use of 
cleanup authorities by the Administrator of EPA under the Resource 
Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).  The contamination on Vieques Island 
constitutes a "hazardous waste" for the purpose of RCRA and these cleanup 
authorities are legally applicable today.  The amendment would prohibit the 
use of these RCRA authorities by the Administrator of the EPA.

The amendment in Subsection d(4) also overrides the requirement contained 
in 120(h)(3)(ii)(I) that all remedial action necessary to protect human 
health and the environment be taken prior to the transfer fo U.S. 
government property.

None of the above changes have had the benefit of hearings or been 
considered by the Commerce Committee which has primary jurisdication over 

Aimee R. Houghton
CPEO, Associate Director
122 C Street NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC  20001-2109
tel: 202-662-18888; fax: 202-628-1825
Email: aimeeh@cpeo.org

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