2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 28 Jul 2003 16:02:24 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Request for answers about lab expansion
The following editorial can be viewed online at:

GUEST EDITORIAL: Request for answers about lab expansion
By Star Jameson
July 25, 2003

I am a property owner and taxpayer in Hamilton. And I vote. In that
light, I would like to express my concern over the draft environmental
impact statement that was produced regarding the expansion of Rocky
Mountain Lab.

I read the draft. It was very vague in a number of ways. For example:

1.  The draft EIS cited water provided by the city of Hamilton as being
adequate. However we recently had a fire in a large building downtown,
and by the next day there was a question if the city water supply would
be drawn too low by the water used for the fire.

2.  The EIS states that local hospital facilities are adequate to meet
needs should a critical situation at the lab develop. Certainly if the
reference is to one or two personnel being infected it can meet the
need, but if the lab is considered a target for terrorism, the four-room
emergency department with three staff members on duty cannot handle
larger emergencies. In fact, when that recent fire occurred they phoned
to have Bitterroot Clinic opened to handle injuries because they did not
have enough room.

3.  There are a number of property owners who will leave, as stated
during the two recent focus group meetings, and it is questionable if
tourism would deteriorate if the expansion took place. This issue was
not adequately addressed in the draft EIS; in fact it assumed the
presence of the expanded lab would enhance tourism. I thing this is

4.  How bio-terrorist materials will be transported into the valley is
not adequately addressed in the EIS either. They cannot be jetted in,
without a one-hour vehicle transport on one of the most dangerous
highways in the Northwest, which will be under major construction for
several more years.

5.  Air attack is not adequately addressed. We do not have (nor does
popular opinion support) circulating air surveillance from Malmstrom Air
Force Base. Two horrible eventualities could occur in the case of air
attack (as in September 11): air contamination of a community securely
contained by mountains, and unsolvable transportation challenges to
escape the valley, or to bring in necessary emergency services.

And I do wonder, in light of the “trailers” in Iraq that are reputedly
factories for bioterrorist materials, how can we be assured there is no
manufacture of toxic materials taking place?

I respectfully request substantive answers to the above concerns, rather
than dismissive phrases, in the form of a in-depth EIS, instead of a
pseudo one. And I request the residents of the county be “allowed” to
vote on this issue, after the new EIS is produced. Surely if we are
“allowed” to vote on a planning process we must vote on the presence of
military research and development in the center of our valley.

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