2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: StellaVB@aol.com
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2000 10:21:22 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Response to UXO Access Controls...........
I have just read Dick Wright's UXO Access Controls e-mail and would like to 
respond with comments, concerns and questions.  First off, I agree with 
individual accountability and responsibility not only for self but for the 
parents of children and personal choices made without the finger pointing and 
blaming of others.  I do understand you using a fence around a pool or the 
Seattle baseball game scenario and I'm sure statistics show a higher 
injury/death rate to these incidences than to civilian UXO's accidents/deaths.

I do agree method and the end goal needs to be taken into grave account on 
these base closures.  My issues, arguments, concerns or debate stems from 
these issues.  Methodology is a prime area for serious disagreement between 
the regulated and the regulators.  One of the most used cliches used for the 
regulated is:  
"The fox guarding the hen house" and I must agree with that.  I have talked 
to many within the military and once they know their directives will readily 
see them through to the end.  The problem is getting the directives in order 
and from 'whom' they come from.  The other is the 'end goal' and though I 
hear much from those who contaminate major chunks of land that they are here 
to serve and protect the environment and 'civilians' I personally do not see 
these words in action.  It's not that I don't believe they may mean the words 
but what good are they when there is no action to back them up or there is 
arguing regarding cleanup methods which waste time and taxpayers dollars?

I moved next to a military site that had just been closed due to BRAC, 
unbeknownst to me.  I had no problem moving there knowing the Army would keep 
out trespassers as well as raising responsible and accountable children.  
Five years later there is only one full-time person guarding 'the gates' of a 
3800 acre site, groundwater contamination and little UXO cleanup work done.   
What I've heard is much arguing about methodology and 'known' vs. 'suspected' 
contaminated sites.

How is one to approach 'reuse' plans where it beacons the public to enjoy 
'nature' yet the military has for decades kept the public off the same land 
due to the severity of potential injury?  Access roads once traveled are no 
longer used on this property.  One could say it is due to rainfall destroying 
them but I would hope it would have more to do with an UXO found on a road 
that had it been run over would have done major damage to body and property.  
The Army 'came to the plate' and no one is now allowed on this property 
without being escorted.

I believe we have not seen/heard of more UXO incidences due to the fact that 
these sites were sealed off to the public and these sites were well 'manned' 
with the proper guards (and guns).  All military personnel is trained and 
taught 'the ways' (love Star Wars) around ordnance that the public will never 
be trained in.  As these sites become accessible to the public/civilians, I 
do believe we will see an increase in injuries and deaths due to contact with 

There are two conflicting issues here:

These sites were used for UXO training.  UXO's are designed to kill, maim or 
injure anyone/anything that comes into contact with them.

These sites which contain such 'weapons of war' are now being 'given' to the 
public and will become accessible to  anyone.

There is also the argument that 'reuse' needs to be in the forefront of any 
discussion but I must object to this.  My simple take/analogy:

If a person is building a house on a raw piece of land would not their first 
concerns be of the foundation, plumbing, electrical wiring and walls?  NOT 
the wallpaper, curtains or furniture!  So it is with these sites:  before any 
talk of 'reuse' should not the military DEMAND of the Congress the financial 
means to clean up these sites to the best of their ability then see what 
would be a reasonable reuse?  If the military does not allow anyone on these 
sites, how can it be that the day 'a site is turned over, the signatures are 
in place' that these sites are now magically okay to tread upon?   Those in 
the military are taught rigidity in regard to rules which the public has no 
clue too nor is it reasonable to expect civilians to understand 'the ways' of 
the military or the weapons of war.

I guess my bottom line is these sites are dangerous, the military knows these 
sites are dangerous and before any talk of reuse, LUC's or IC's these sites 
need to be cleaned up to the regulators regulations with a reuse plan as the 
starting point, not the end all!  If these sites were not so dangerous there 
would be no need to have all the discussions of fencing, LUC's, IC's, cleanup 
costs and methodology.  Let's get away from skirting the issue and instead 
tackle it head on:  these sites are dangerous and the focus needs to be on 
cleaning them up!

Stella Bourassa

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