2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Rochelle.Dornatt@mail.house.gov
Date: 4 Sep 2003 17:58:27 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: RE: [CPEO-MEF] California bill to preserve oversight
The Laird bill is commong sense and hopefully Gov. Davis will sign it.
Earlier, Rep. Farr weighed in on this issue (see letter below) urging the
Governor to retain those jobs.

July 18, 2003

The Honorable Gray Davis
State Of California
1st Floor,  State Capitol
Sacramento, California  95814

Dear Governor Davis:

I write to ask your forbearance in the possible dismissal of state employees
who salaries are fully paid under federally-funded programs.  In particular,
I speak to the issue of those employees responsible for toxic and hazardous
waste cleanup activities.  As you know, the federal government through its
Defense Environmental Restoration Program provides funds to a number of
clean up activities in the states to relieve them of costs associated with
toxic and hazardous waste remediation.  California, under a Defense and
State Memorandum of Agreement (DSMOA), receives millions of federal dollars
to employ a work force specially trained in these remediation activities.
State employees coordinate with the Army Corps of Engineers to clean up
formerly used defense sites (FUDS) and other hazardous waste deposits.

Given the budget circumstances of the state at the current time, I fully
understand the struggle you face to eliminate the deficit.  However, I urge
you to reconsider any plan you may have to dismiss state employees paid for
with federal funds as a means to correct that budget deficit.  Since these
employees are paid through the receipt of federal funds their dismissal
would not have a positive impact on the budget situation but would have a
negative effect on clean up actions.

Currently, there are $2 million in federal funds available to the State of
California under DSMOA.  If state employees engaged in FUDS clean up are
released from their positions, the state will lose this $2 million and clean
up work will grind to a halt.  It seems counterproductive to dismiss
employees in a budget action that won't help the bottom line budget, but
will result in a lost of federal funds and a delay in environmental clean up
for myriad communities.  Further, if California sends back the $2 million to
the federal government, it jeopardizes future allocations of DSMOA monies.

I hope you will give my request serious consideration.  Let's find a way to
use - not lose -- that federal money to clean up hazardous waste sites in
California, as well as keep these important state workers out of the
unemployment lines.

Thank you for your help on this matter.  I look forward to your response.

Member of Congress


Rochelle Dornatt
Chief of Staff
Rep. Sam Farr

-----Original Message-----
From: Lenny Siegel [mailto:lsiegel@cpeo.org]
Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2003 1:19 PM
To: Military Environmental Forum
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] California bill to preserve oversight

Environmental groups in California are calling upon Governor Gray Davis
to sign Assembly Bill 1700, designed to retain regulatory positions -
that is, staff at the Regional Water Boards and the Department of Toxic
Substances Control - for oversight of cleanup at current and former
military bases within the state. As part of statewide belt-tightening
efforts, many of those positions are being cut, even though they are
funded by the Defense Department through a cooperative agreement in
support of the Defense State Memorandum of Agreement.

It doesn't make any sense for the state to deal with its budget problems
by rejecting needed federal funds. Defense personnel have told me that
these regulatory cutbacks are slowing cleanup progress at a number of
sites, including some in the Monterey area. That probably explains why
John Laird, the Democratic Assemblyman from that area, sponsored the bill.

Here is the official digest of AB 1700:

"This bill prohibits the State Controller and the Department of Finance
from eliminating positions or expenditure authority, or imposing a
hiring freeze or other personal services limitations, as specified, upon
any non-General Fund program that provides oversight and related support
of remediation and hazardous substance management at a military base.
Most of the bill's provisions would apply exclusively to the State Water
Resources Control Board and the Department of Toxic Substances Control."

Lenny Siegel 


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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