2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 17 Sep 2003 14:43:57 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Air Force ducking duty on asbestos
Air Force ducking duty on asbestos
September 17, 2003

No one denies the former Lowry Air Force Base has an asbestos problem.
The only question is when the Air Force will accept its legal
responsibility to pay for the cleanup costs.

Homebuilders and the Lowry Redevelopment Authority have spent more than
$4 million to remove asbestos found at the site. The Colorado Department
of Public Health and Environment has proposed a conservative remediation
plan that protects the health of Lowry residents. Unfortunately, the Air
Force, which at first acknowledged its obligation, is now balking,
citing its own looser standard for asbestos contamination as the trigger
for a cleanup.

That strikes us as muddled for several reasons. First, developers relied
on a clean bill of health issued after the original cleanup when the
base was closed in 1994. Nine years later, chunks of asbestos in the
ground at Lowry are visible to the naked eye.

In addition to the dozen homes affected, pockets of asbestos have been
found in the area of 39 undeveloped lots belonging to the redevelopment
authority. The potential of airborne exposure is sufficient to require a
"reasonable" cleanup, state health authorities insist.

Second, Buckley Air Force Base provides a precedent for a more
thoroughgoing cleanup that meets state standards. Building materials
left behind after demolitions in the 1960s and 1970s contained asbestos
and were found during construction of the base's new commissary and
exchange in 2000. Even though the asbestos levels were below the
standards set by the state, the Air Force agreed to test soil and pay
the costs for remediation and cleanup, even in areas of Aurora where
soil contaminated with the asbestos had unwittingly been transported.
Why should Lowry be treated any differently?

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