2007 CPEO Military List Archive

From: "peter " <petestrauss1@comcast.net>
Date: 26 Mar 2007 18:23:19 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: RE: [CPEO-MEF] Sandy Run - Reverse Encroachment at Camp Lejeune
Good article Lenny.  

I've been thinking about the concept of reverse encroachment for some time.
Not only are some bases a nuisance to neighbors, they also take away from
the tax base and pollute drinking water, as well as add other insults to the
environment.  So how does DOD make amends?  Should some closing bases be
required to pay a tax to the community, because no matter how strict the
cleanup, they will surely leave some environmental affects behind (e.g.,
landfills, contaminated soil and water)?

Peter Strauss
-----Original Message-----
From: military-bounces@list.cpeo.org [mailto:military-bounces@list.cpeo.org]
On Behalf Of Lenny Siegel
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2007 10:01 AM
To: Military Environmental Forum
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Sandy Run - Reverse Encroachment at Camp Lejeune

[To download this document as a 2.4 MB PDF file with photos, go to 

Sandy Run: Reverse Encroachment at Camp Lejeune

By Lenny Siegel
March, 2007

On February 8, 2007 I visited Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North 
Carolina, one of the two major stateside installations hosting Marine 
expeditionary forces. I arranged the visit to learn more about the 
base's groundwater treatment strategies, but while in the area I also 
followed up on correspondence I had received, about reverse 
encroachment, from a base neighbor.

In 1992, the Marines acquired the 41,000-acre Great Sandy Run Area 
(GSRA), primarily from International Paper Company, just across U.S. 
Highway 17, along the main post's western boundary. Following a series 
of environmental studies, the Marines began live-fire training there 
around 1998, and it reportedly added targets in 2005. Marine officials 
explain that prior to the opening of the range, tank units "had to 
travel to a number of remote and frequently expensive locations to 
accomplish essential training."

Sandwiched between the northern edge of the GSRA and the main post, the 
residents of Verona's High Hill Road are not happy. They complain of 
intense noise from Marine training. They say it feels like they are 
under fire, even at night. They believe that the noise or vibrations are 
damaging their homes.

Visiting High Hill Road, it's clear that the range buffer zone extends 
into the small residential neighborhood, with a nearby range fan pointed 
away from the homes. There was no firing while I was there, so I was 
unable to judge the noise and vibrations for myself.

Some of the families along High Hill Road have lived there since before 
Camp Lejeune was built during World War II. They are by no means 
anti-military. In fact, family members are now seeing combat in Iraq or 
have recently returned from the War. But they find the noise from 
firing, explosions, and helicopter overflights to be unacceptable. And 
they consider the Marines' response insufficient.

The Marines, however, say that their noise monitoring shows that noise 
is not intolerable. When measurements showed that modeling had 
underestimated the off-site impact of tank guns, they say they moved the 
tank firing point further away. Smaller weapons are still fired from a 
site near High Hill Road.

Further, the Marines report a series of studies (including a Joint Land 
Use Study with Onslow County) and actions (such as the purchase of 
easements to prevent development along the main post boundary) designed 
to limit encroachment. They also report that they bought out some homes 
when they acquired the property in the early 1990s, and that they had 
offered similar deals to other residents.

At least one of the neighbors says he was never offered a buy-out, while 
another told me that he had not intention of leaving his historic family 

I am not in a position to determine whether the neighbors are "right," 
and it doesn't matter. Residents with no apparent axe to grind find that 
Marine training - training that the Marines consider essential - 
interferes with their lives. Some, at least, don't want to move. They 
want the Marines to make less noise.

Most the discussion of encroachment assumes that people are building 
homes and business up against the fencelines of military bases and 
ranges, and then they complain. This is usually the case, and the 
Defense Department and others have developed tools that allow 
installations such as Camp Lejeune to protect their activities from 
development-induced conflicts. At Sandy Run, however, the Marines have 
encroached upon a neighborhood that has been there longer than the base 
itself. Thus far it appears that the tools for addressing such a problem 
do not exist.


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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