2005 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 30 Jun 2005 22:17:37 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Feinstein to Rumsfeld re perchlorate


Senator Feinstein Urges Pentagon to Take Responsibility for Perchlorate Contamination

Washington, DC ? Following the recent release of a critical Government
Accountability Office report on the Pentagon's failure to adequately
address perchlorate contamination, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein
(D-Calif.) today called on the Department of Defense to take
responsibility for the contamination it has caused and to take
meaningful steps to clean up groundwater and drinking water sources.

Following is the text of a letter Senator Feinstein sent to Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld:

June 30, 2005

The Honorable Donald Rumsfeld
Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301-1000

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I am disappointed by the Defense Department's lack of action and
cooperation in addressing the perchlorate contamination issue as
described in the recently released report from the Government
Accountability Office (GAO), "Perchlorate: A System to Track Sampling
and Cleanup Results is Needed." 

The report identifies incidents where the EPA or State agencies asked
the Department to sample for perchlorate but Department officials
declined to do so because they did not believe that the conditions met
the Department's sampling policy. I do not believe the Department's
current sampling policy is sufficient to allow states to identify the
true extent of the contamination problem and I am concerned that the
policy does not do enough to prevent future contamination. 

The Department's sampling policy only requires sampling when a
perchlorate release due to Department activities is suspected and when a
pathway to human exposure is likely to exist. The perchlorate
contamination on the majority of Defense sites in California, as well as
throughout the United States, has led to contaminated groundwater;
groundwater that serves as drinking water sources for the neighboring
communities or as irrigation water for regional farmers. Groundwater
contamination is a direct pathway to human exposure and the Department
should not be waiting until perchlorate has reached groundwater and
drinking water supplies before it begins to sample. 

Most of the perchlorate contamination across the country is from
Defense-related activities and as such the Department has a
responsibility to the American people to clean up the groundwater and
drinking water sources impaired by those activities. The findings of the
recent GAO report indicate the Department is failing to live up to that

\In a letter to the GAO, the Department referred to this report as
"factually incorrect and fundamentally flawed" with respect to the
information about the Department's actions and policies on perchlorate
sampling, cleanup, and notification to the EPA. I understand that the
Department provided extensive comments to the GAO, and I would
appreciate it if you would share a copy of those comments with me. 

I am grateful for the collaborative efforts between the Department and
the California Perchlorate Working Group with regard to the
Prioritization Protocol for Perchlorate Impacts to Drinking Water from
Defense Facilities in California and I look forward to seeing sampling
and cleanup efforts proceed. 

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I understand that your
staff from the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for
Installations and Environment will be meeting with my staff next month
and I look forward to having the concerns I have raised here be
addressed at that time.


Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator



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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