2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: UTOSI-Hdqrs@kc.rr.com
Date: 31 Oct 2002 15:18:53 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Fwd: RE: [CPEO-MEF] RAB questions
Laura as you read the below posting, you may want to ask Lenny why he was 
one of those that wanted the Fort Ord RAB shut down!

I am wondering why we have not heard from Lenny on this very issue, that is 
RAB v. DOD on the total clean up of closed bases.

Jim Oyler

>From: "Saul Bloom" <saulbloom@mindspring.com>
>To: <UTOSI-Hdqrs@kc.rr.com>
>Cc: "Scott Allen" <scott.j.allen@juno.com>
>Subject: RE: [CPEO-MEF] RAB questions
>Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 12:25:03 -0800
>This is a very old fight within the RAB process and unfortunately all of the
>replies you've received are true in some respect.
>Most of the RABs that Arc Ecology has worked with have wanted to discuss
>RCRA and other environmental regulatory issues (Clean Water, Clean Air) as
>well as the CERCLA driven cleanup program.  The DoD's response varies from
>installation to installation driven by the persepectives of the Base
>Environmental Coordinator, the Base Command, the pressure placed on the base
>by the EPA and state regulators to be more open about the totality of the
>environmental response program (or conversly the lack of interest and
>pressure from the regulators), the political pressure/ political muscle of
>the local stakeholder groups, in the case of closing bases the various local
>governmental and development interests regarding the benefits and costs of
>transparency, and finally the DoD's own perspecitve on cost/ precidence/ and
>political consequences.
>In many instances the law and guidences are fundementally meaningless
>anyway.  At a large number of RABs the local base command and BEC ignore all
>of guidances and do what they want, bullying their way through the process.
>In the Bay Area this case is particularly true at Point Molate, a 500 acre
>closed Navy fuel depot.  Standing up to the bullying can come at quite a
>price for RABs.  At Fort Ord and McClellan Air Force Base when RAB members
>stood up to the bullying the RABs were adjourned - in the case of McClellan
>in direct contradiction to the process outlined in the prevailing guidances
>at the time.
>One of the reasons the DoD gets away with this type of behavior is the lack
>of standardization in the process.  When the RAB Caucus was around, many of
>us were arguing for a more standardized approach to solve this problem to
>provide greater consistency from RAB to RAB.  DoD however was not interested
>claiming that the individual circumstances base to base varied to such a
>degree that standardization made no sence.  Arc's perspective is that
>arguments against standardization are simply not credible.  Facilitating
>this lack of consistencey has been DoD's failure to promulgate a RAB rule.
>Recently former RAB members at Fort Ord successfully litigated to force DoD
>to develop a RAB rule and so we will see what that looks like when it comes
>out.  Arc Ecology is somewhat worried about formalizing a RAB rule now as it
>will most likely codify many of what we consider to be the anti-community
>involvement/ letting DoD get away with murder sections of the current
>As regards the law, the DoD position on RABS is that they are an alternate
>process to Technical Review Committees and TRC are a creature of CERCLA.  My
>understanding is that the implementing legislation for RABs makes them a
>subset of the DERP which is driven by CERCLA and therefore limits the
>discussion to Superfund related activities.  I am forwarding your message
>and my reply to our attorney Scott Allen to see if this  is correct and he
>will hopefully provide you with a bit more legal advice.
>The bottom line is RABs can and do work, some in fact work really well.  But
>DoD did build them to provide only a fig leaf of a community participation
>and our overwhelming experience is that the military wants them to fail (or
>simply rubber stamp the BEC's perspective).  While we have encountered a
>number of well meaning BECs, the fact is that where RABs work well and
>address issues beyond CERCLA, it occurs largely as a result of political
>pressure on the military from local stakeholders, regulators and governments
>watchdogging the process.  As you know from your own good work, the best
>solution is to make the most of the RAB process while not limiting yourself
>or the community's organizing.  RABs not withstanding, RCRA and most of
>these regs require some degree of public participation so there are some
>other avenues to press the case.  The irony is of course that while DoD
>demands the convenience of "one stop shopping" from state and federal
>regulators, it is loath to provide that same degree of service to the
>Saul Bloom
>Arc Ecology
>-----Original Message-----
>From: UTOSI-Hdqrs@kc.rr.com [mailto:UTOSI-Hdqrs@kc.rr.com]
>Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2002 8:07 AM
>To: cpeo-military
>Subject: Re: [CPEO-MEF] RAB questions
>At 07:08 AM 10/30/02 -0600, info@cswab.com wrote:
> >I've been told that Restoration Advisory Boards can only "legally"
> >discuss sites listed on the base's Installation Action Plan.
> >
> >Are RABs in other communities commenting on things like cleanup of
> >contaminated buildings, pipelines, spills not covered under RCRA or
> >CERCLA, PCB cleanups, asbestos removal, etc. (ie, cleanup projects that
> >are not necessarily listed as an IRP cleanup)?
> >
> >Does anyone know if there is specific language that either prohibits or
> >provides for the discussion of specific cleanup topics by a RAB?
> >
> >Please post your reply.
> >Thank you!
> >Laura
>Laura this is very true.  Only items listed in the IAP known as SWMU's,
>Solid Waste Managements Units.
>And in fact the RAB cannot vote as a group on IAP work that is being done,
>only vote and send letters as individuals.
>The RAB members do not have any say in the cleanup of contaminated
>buildings, pipelines, sewer lines, spills not covered under RCRA or CERCLA,
>PCB cleanups, asbestos removal, etc.
>What a "SHAM".  This is called covering your XXXXXXXXXXXX.
>Jim Oyler, RAB Member
>Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant.
>De Soto, KS
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