2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: rst195005@aol.com
Date: 23 Apr 2002 20:49:48 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Re: [CPEO-MEF] Pentagon Environmental Proposals
Mr. Feigenbaum misreads the effect of the proposed change in CERCLA.
The proposal would change the definition of "release" for purposes of
CERCLA, and only for the purposes of CERCLA. This modest change in CERCLA would have no effect whatsoever on the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Safe Drinking Water Act authorizes the Administrator of EPA "upon receipt of information that a contaminant which is present in or is likely to enter a public water system or an underground source of drinking water may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to the health of persons ... may take such actions as he may deem necessary in order to protect the health of such persons."
SDWA section 300i(a).  This provision is the basis for the orders on
Cape Cod. The definition of "contaminant" in the SDWA is "any physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance or matter in water."

There is no reference to a "release" under CERCLA, and it does not
matter whether the contaminant is the result of a release, naturally occurring, or in the water as a result of any other cause.
Moreover, the proposed CERCLA legislation would not eliminate EPA's
authority to take action with respect to a "threat of release" -- so if there is concern that contamination will move off the range at a concentration that could adversely effect human health or the environment, then CERCLA itself (in addition to the Safe Drinking Water Act) would remain a tool to address such concern.
In sum, this proposed change in CERCLA is a small change that leaves
tools in place to deal with real or even perceived problems.

Then why, you might ask, did the Pentagon propose this change?  The
reason is to ensure that the use of a range for its intended purpose is not treated as if that very use were a bad act -- like an unpermitted release of contaminants on the ground. This proposal is very modest and sensible. All of DoD's environmental proposals should be read carefully, and be carefully considered. But just because they involve changes in existing environmental laws is no justification for suspending thought and opposing each provision reflexively.
Let there be free, open, and informed debate.

Robert S. Taylor

  Prev by Date: [CPEO-MEF] ombudsman resigns
Next by Date: [CPEO-MEF] Senate Armed Services Committee Takes Up Defense Bill
  Prev by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] Pentagon Environmental Proposals
Next by Thread: Re: [CPEO-MEF] Pentagon Environmental Proposals

CPEO Lists
Author Index
Date Index
Thread Index