2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2000 15:16:51 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Legislation Creates Problematic UXO "Definition"
U.S. EPA is reportedly warning that a section in the Fiscal Year 2001
Defense Authorization Act, still in conference committee, creates an
implied definition that could undermine the ability of environmental
agencies to oversee the investigation and remediation of unexploded
ordnance (UXO) contamination. Section 2812 of the bill, "Enhanced Lease
Authority" contains language which lists "unexploded ordnance" as
distinct from "hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants."

EPA's concern is that the Defense Department will argue that unexploded
ordnance is not subject to hazardous waste laws, through which EPA, as
well as state and tribal regulatory agencies, are likely to assert
oversight, because it is a distinct category.

The relevant language, which appears more than once, is "the release or
threatened release of any hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant,
petroleum or petroleum derivative, or unexploded ordnance." There is no
need, in the context of Section 2812, to use this unusual language.

Critics at EPA says that the Defense Department supplied the language to
the Senate after EPA and the Justice Department reportedly blocked
similar language in definitions within the Range Rule, now under
consideration at the Office of Management and the Budget.

This seems like an obscure legislative section with minimal impact, but
people who have been in the trenches fighting for a workable regulatory
framework for UXO consider this a big deal!

Before the legislation in finalized Congress should either drop the
offending language or clarify that it is not intended to have the
broader impact that critics fear.


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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