|From:||Lenny Siegel <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|Date:||17 Jul 2006 22:52:41 -0000|
|Subject:||[CPEO-MEF] South Korean base closures|
News reports from South Korea suggest that U.S. forces there are turning
over fifteen bases to the South Korean government without agreeing to
take responsibility for explosive and other hazardous waste
contamination. This is disappointing, but regardless of which government
assumes responsibility for the likely environmental mess, something
needs to be done.|
Very little information about that contamination has been disclosed to the public, but based upon the condition of similar bases in the United States, one should expect that there have been repeated or even continuing releases over their decades of operation.
These properties are slated for civilian reuse, but thus far there has been little or no discussion in Korea over their environmental condition. Experience with base closures in the United States teaches us that environmental investigations should inform reuse decisions, and that reuse plans may influence environmental response.
Today I met with an activist from Green Korea, and based upon what I learned I recommend that the South Korean government establish a commission to oversee the assessment, investigation, remediation, and reuse planning for the closing bases. That commission should ensure that each property is inspected and sampled before any reuse decisions are made, and that all information generated in the course of such investigations be made public.
All these tasks can and should be be carried out whether or not U.S. forces accept responsibility for the pollution they released.
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