|From:||CPEO Moderator <email@example.com>|
|Date:||29 May 2002 19:47:41 -0000|
|Subject:||[CPEO-MEF] Alaska First State to Exempt Military Waste from Environmenta|
PRESS RELEASE Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) and Cook Inlet Keeper (CIK) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FOR MORE INFORMATION: MAY 28, 2002 PAM MILLER (ACAT) (907) 222-7714 JANET DANIELS (907) 274-6011 BOB SHAVELSON (CIK) (907) 235-4068 ALASKA TO BE FIRST STATE IN NATION TO EXEMPT MILITARY WASTES FROM ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS 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. --ends-- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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