2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 21 Feb 2003 15:37:50 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: RE: [CPEO-MEF] California cuts oversight
The following response is from Saul Bloom <saulbloom@mindspring.com>
Arc Ecology wanted to express its appreciation to Congressman Farr for
his work on this issue.  The message below however needs some response
as it is generally inaccurate and presents a misleading picture
regarding the funding for military cleanup in California.

It is inaccurate to say that the Defense Department has been steadily
funding base cleanup in California up to now.  If anything is true it is
that DoD funding is inconsistent at best.

Arc Ecology has been involved in military pollution/ environmental
impacts issues for almost 20 years.  All of the base cleanups Arc
Ecology is involved in here in California have been subjected to
multiple funding disruptions.  In some cases it was because a war or
some combat activity had gobbled up the funds.  In other cases it was a
result of a Base Environmental Coordinator failing to obligate the
allocated funds to projects before other insallation cleanup
coordinators learned of it and had walked off with some of the funds.
In some instances it was because DoD itself decided it was spending too
much money of a remedial action and simply walked off the job.  Arc sued
the Navy over such a breach in 1998. In instances where the site is on
the NPL, the State's ability to move the process forward was limited.

It is also true that almost every year, for the majority of the last
eight years, DoD has cut the State's DSMOA funds - sometimes by as much
as 20%. This is despite the fact that California has twice the number of
military bases as the next most impacted State. In the past, these cuts
in funds were supplemented with State monies (creating a defacto
additional federal
tax on California tax payers), however as the State's defecit grew as a
result of the fraud over energy cost, and the national recession it has
become increasingly difficult to make up the difference. Simply because
cuts in education funding occur during a recession doesn't necesserily
imply that the State values its kids less.  Difficult times often
require unfortunate responses.

DoD frequently complained that it was cutting California's DSMOA funds
because the State would use it to pay multiple agencies to come to
meetings, review documents etc. which was driving up the costs. Arc
Ecology's own observations (and have attended numerous base cleanup
meetings) presents a very different picture.  Our experience indicates
that this was rarely
the case.  Different State Agencies have different expertice which were
appropriate to the phase of cleanup decision-making. More often than not
there would be one or two State regulators at these meetings who would
be confronted by a passel of DoD environmental personnel and
contractors. Certainly money poured, but in our experience it wasn't
California doing
most of the spilling. In fact quite the opposite is actually occuring.
DoD continues to pour money into poor contracting practices and
incompetent base environmental management while at the same time raiding
State tax rolls to supplement its own budget which is inadequate to meet
the requirements of a timley cleanup - by design.

Finally, I would simply point out that from Camp Beale in Northern
California, to the Sierra Army Depot on the border with Nevada, to
Hunters Point in San Francisco to Fort Ord in Monterey and Camp
Pendleton in Southern California, residents of this State regularly
confront and pay a steep price for the health and environmental
consequences of DoD's irresponsible base cleanup programs. Millions of
Californian's drink perclorate tainted water from the military's
pollution of the Colorado river. Given that we are the most populous
state in the Union with extremely high densities of urban populations
colocated with active, closing, closed, and formerly utilized military
facilities, if scientifically meaningful and impartial risk based
analysis were ever truly used in the base cleanup process: California's
portion of the annual DSMOA funds would surely and dramatically

Saul Bloom
Arc Ecology

  Prev by Date: [CPEO-MEF] Rand Study: $50 mil Needed for Landmine Removal in 90 Nations
Next by Date: [CPEO-MEF] PCB report kicks off controversy
  Prev by Thread: Re: [CPEO-MEF] California cuts oversight
Next by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] Trash dump from 1940s is unearthed by workers

CPEO Lists
Author Index
Date Index
Thread Index