2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 22 Jul 2003 19:04:39 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] House Appropriators require perchlorate study
The following item from this year's House Defense Appropriations bill
report would require that the Defense Department work with U.S. EPA to
complete a perchlorate study within six months. I am skeptical that the
two agencies can agree on a place to meet, let alone preliminary
recommendations for a national perchlorate standard, within that time
frame. Still, the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee has made its
interest clear.

Perhaps because significant perchlorate contamination has been
identified in a number of Republican Congressional districts,
perchlorate response transcends partisan and ideological lines.
Conservative Republicans, not just "green" Democrats, want something
done, and one can anticipate more prescriptive requirements should
Congress perceive that the Defense Department, EPA, or any other federal
agency is dragging its feet.





Perchlorate is a salt, commonly used in a host of commercial and
military applications ranging from rocket fuels and fireworks to
automobile airbags. High levels of perchlorate are known to interfere
with thyroid gland and mental acuity functions and with the human body's
ability to produce growth and fetal development hormones. Though much is
known about perchlorate, the specific long term effects and the specific
dosage levels at which perchlorate becomes hazardous are still being
debated in the environmental, scientific and medical communities. In
Southern California, growing groundwater perchlorate contamination is
widely attributed to Department of Defense activities and the commercial
fuels and explosives industry, though the specific causes of
contamination have yet to be rigorously established; the Department has
refused to acknowledge a causal relationship until an extensive study is
completed. The Committee is aware of the controversy surrounding the
evaluation of perchlorate contamination of groundwater in Southern
California and other areas across the country. The Committee directs the
Department to conduct a joint study with the Environmental Protection
Agency of perchlorate groundwater contamination, to be completed within
180 days of the enactment of this Bill. This report will examine in
detail perchlorate groundwater pollution in and around the Colorado
River, San Bernardino County, the Cochella [sic] Valley, Santa Clara
River and the Imperial Valley that threatens drinking and irrigation
water supplies in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada. This report
will assess the breadth and scope of contamination and make preliminary
recommendations that will, at a minimum, include: 

1. Recommendations for the establishment of a national standard for
acceptable levels of perchlorate groundwater contamination;

2. Determination of the military/defense industry sources that have
contributed to perchlorate contamination; and


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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