2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 2000 11:56:26 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
>From the office of Congressman ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD

CONTACT:  Cathy Gault: (671) 477-4272 

October 3, 2000         

October 3, 2000 - In a speech on the House floor today, Congressman Robert
A. Underwood reiterated his call for the Department of Defense, the Army
Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a
thorough search of the historical records to identify World War II-era dump
sites on Guam.

His call comes on the heels of the discovery last week at Andersen Air
Force Base of unexploded ordinance and possibly more chemical weapons test
kits, similar to those found in Mongmong last year. Last month, drums
containing unknown liquids were discovered at Tiyan, formerly Naval Air
Station Agana. The Navy later announced that the Tiyan finds were not

"I'm very much concerned about the safety of my constituents, in light of
these recent discoveries of chemical weapons testing kits containing
measurable amounts of mustard gas and other toxic chemicals on Guam," the
Congressman told his colleagues. "Given the public health dangers
associated with exposure to these substances, I've requested the Department
of Defense to perform an historical record survey to determine the final
disposition of chemical weaponry that was brought to Guam.

"This survey should be comprehensive and should include identifying former
military dump sites as well as other potential disposal sites used by the
military," he said. "Guam has been a significant area for U.S. military
activity for more than 50 years...First used as a major staging area during
WWII, the military presence on Guam has increased correspondingly with the
Korean and Vietnam wars, and its full value as an area to forward deploy
American military forces continues to be strong even in today's post-Cold
War era...

"But over these many years, it's becoming clear that it was military
activities during World War II that pose the greatest threat to the people
of Guam," he continued.

Congressman Underwood made reference to the recent work of the Micronesia
Area Research Center's William Wuerch, who uncovered evidence that several
tons of chemicals weapons, such as napalm and mustard gas, were brought
into Guam in the late 1940s, but found no evidence that they were ever

Underwood also chided the comments of an Army Corps of Engineers official,
who said in a news article that no search would be conducted because
locating old dump sites would be like' looking for a needle in a haystack.'

"With these two discoveries of toxic chemicals in less than two years, I
believe that we have in fact found just the beginning of countless needles
in the haystack," the Congressman said, referring to the most recent finds
in Mongmong and Andersen.

"In addition, this is combined with another issue concerning the
environmental condition of Guam, and that is the inability to take PCBs
(polychlorinated biphenols) out of Guam," he said. Although PCBs are U.S.
products which arrive in Guam for both military and civilian use, they
cannot be shipped back to the U.S. for disposal. However, the U.S. military
and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas are exempt.

 "This disparate treatment between military bases and the civilian
community of Guam composed of U.S. citizens, like just everywhere else,
 is simply intolerable and must be resolved by EPA," the Congressman said.
"I think it's a situation that cries out for a solution and fair and
balanced treatment for all the territories and again I'm calling on the
Department of Defense to conduct a comprehensive review of the documentary
evidence about the storage of weapons on Guam and to conduct a survey of
the island."


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