2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 29 May 2002 19:47:41 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Alaska First State to Exempt Military Waste from Environmenta

Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) and Cook Inlet Keeper (CIK)

MAY 28, 2002                                
PAM MILLER (ACAT) (907) 222-7714
JANET DANIELS (907) 274-6011
BOB SHAVELSON (CIK) (907) 235-4068

Legislation binds military and oil industry loopholes in one-two punch 
to public process and fisheries protection

Anchorage, AKOn May 20, the Alaska State Legislature passed a bill which 
will exempt the Department of Defense from state solid waste laws at its 
bombing range in the rich Eagle River Flats estuary north of Anchorage.  
The legislation (SB 371) also contains a late-session amendment tacked 
on by oil industry lobbyists to overturn a recent unanimous Alaska 
Supreme Court decision which held the State failed to
properly review toxic discharges from a new oil platform in Cook Inlet. 
The bill awaits consideration by Alaska Governor Tony Knowles.

?SB 371 is an unnecessary, unjustified exemption of the Army from their 
responsibilities under state law to protect water quality," said Pamela 
K. Miller, Executive Director of Alaska Community Action on Toxics. We 
are calling on Governor Knowles to prevent this serious deterioration of 
state authority to protect our lands and waters from military and 
industrial contamination.? 

The military exemption came in response to a lawsuit filed by several 
public interest groups (Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Cook Inlet 
Keeper, Military Toxics Project) and a local Alaska Native Village 
(Chickaloon Traditional Council), which alleges Clean Water Act and 
solid waste dumping violations at Eagle River Flats. At Eagle River 
Flats on Fort Richardson (which was declared a Superfund site in 1994), 
the Army has refused to address continued bombing and the proper clean 
up and disposal of toxic unexploded munitions. These munitions contain 
heavy metals, cancer-causing compounds, and highly explosive propellants 
that will continue to threaten water quality, wildlife and people that 
enter the Eagle River Flats area for years to come unless the military 
takes responsibility for its toxic waste. The United States Congress has 
carefully considered the military readiness issues associated with 
requiring the Department of Defense to comply with all laws governing 
solid and hazardous waste, including state laws, and nevertheless 
explicitly decided the Military
must abide by those laws.
While SB 371 was still under consideration in the Alaska Senate, oil 
industry lobbyists attached a amendment to overturn a unanimous Supreme 
Court decision which found the state violated the Alaska Coastal 
Management Plan by failing to review the impacts of toxic drilling waste 
discharges on sensitive fisheries and habitats.  The
public received no notice of the amendment, and did not see the 
amendment language until the bill passed out of the Senate to the House.

"By ramming this special interest legislation through the Alaska 
legislature in the waning days of session, the oil industry showed how 
completely it dominates decision-making in Alaska. But with Governor's 
Knowles role on the Pew Oceans Commission, we hope he can see the grave 
threats to fisheries and coastal habitats presented by this special 
legislation," said Bob Shavelson, Executive Director of Cook Inlet 
Keeper, a citizen-based nonprofit organization located in Homer, Alaska 
and a plaintiff in both lawsuits.


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