2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 20 Sep 2002 18:22:05 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Us vs Them
[POSTED BY Theodore Henry <ted@theodorejhenry.com>]

Dear Listserve Readers

It is a time where leadership uses terms such as ?evil-doers? and frames
decisions regarding the fate of this nation, and this world, as black
and white.  This platform is making the perspective of ?Us vs. Them?
pervasive and it is unfortunately growing. In fact, I have even seen the
waves of this growing tide at the 2002 UXO Forum recently held in

This ?Us vs. Them? paradigm is impacting the cleanup of our environment.
It is concerning that "Us vs. Them" is being applied toward the
communities and organizations who want federal facilities to be
adequately remediated and their local environments reasonably protected.
This is not happening at all sites I am familiar with, but certainly
some. In the cases where this is happening, it is unfortunate that
battle lines are being drawn. Such battles are against what this country
was founded upon. Citizens of this country should have a strong say in
how this country functions, whether it is in environmental cleanup or
another issue under discussion. This stance is not against DOD or our
Federal Government, it is American and it is as worthy of defense as our
shorelines themselves.

In the 10 years I have been in this field, I have never seen so many
signs from so many different sources that transparency and inclusion is
eroding. The hard work by many within and outside the federal government
is being discarded. Lines or mechanisms of communication such as the
Federal Facilities Environmental Restoration Dialogue or the National
Dialogue on Military Munitions simply could not even happen today.

At Aberdeen Proving Ground, a long-standing working relationship with
the community and the hard work of a very successful 9-yr TAG are being

After years of building trust and a reasonable exchange of information,
APG has begun to withhold maps and data from the RAB and the TAG.
Although the RAB and the TAG have been provided draft documents for
years, in order to provide timely comments and make the process more
cost-effective, these are now being withheld as well. What is worse is
that it is being done inconsistently, without transparency and in a
manner that will over the long-haul impact the quality of cleanup, as
far as we can tell at this point.

The success of the RAB and the TAG is without question. Groundwater
contamination has been found several times as a result of community
input, including in areas supplying drinking water.  Explosives,
perchlorate and other contaminants have been found as a direct result of
community/TAG input. The EPA and the APG Installation Restoration
Program have worked with
the community and learned the value and benefit of multiple stakeholder
input. The success at APG both in the field and at the table is the
result of long-term effort by many parties and many lessons have been
learned along the way. This progress, both on the local and national
level, will not be lost!

The community at APG is, and has always been, concerned about public
safety. Certain security measures are necessary, but they should not be
implemented for less than logical, well thought-out and truly protective
reasons. Such discussions must include those who will be impacted.
Anyone or any agency who believes such moves will only impact the role
of individual community member and non-profit organizations are fooling

The APG Restoration Advisory Board will meet on Thursday, September 26,
at 7 PM at the Edgewood Senior Center in Edgewood MD (1000 Gateway
Drive, I believe). Anyone and everyone who cares about censorship, its
impacts on the community?s voice within our government and our ability
to conduct environmental cleanup adequately, should consider stopping on
by. A presentation will be given on how OPSEC is making decisions on
what the community needs to know and what it doesn?t need to know. This
will be a first step at our site to have a roundtable discussion as far
as what is being implemented and what is necessary. It will certainly
not be the last.

Ted Henry

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