2009 CPEO Military List Archive

From: "Laura Olah" <cswab@merr.com>
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2009 08:22:07 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] MEDIA RELEASE: Communities Seek Accountability for Military Pollution
For Immediate Release
March 23, 2009
For more information, contact:
Laura Olah, Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger, WI (608)643-3124
J. Gilbert Sanchez, Tribal Environmental Watch Alliance, NM (505)927-3457
Evelyn Yates, Pine Bluff for Safe Disposal, AR (870)536-3349 or
Mable Mallard, Philadelphia Right to Know, PA (215)336 -0660 or
Doris Bradshaw, Defense Depot Memphis Tennessee Concerned Citizens
Committee, TN (901)491-1485

More than 80 affected communities and organizations from across the U.S.
have joined together to support federal legislation that will require the
Department of Defense and the Department of Energy to comply with laws
designed to protect human health and the environment.  

A joint letter to the White House, organized by Citizens for Safe Water
Around Badger, expresses support for H.R. 672 ? a bill that was introduced
earlier this year by Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA).  Also known as the
?Military Environmental Responsibility Act,? the bill seeks to eliminate
military waivers to key environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act, the
Endangered Species Act, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, and the Marine Mammal
Protection Act. 

The Department of Defense is responsible for more than 31,000 cleanup sites
on more than 4,600 active and former defense properties.  About one in 10
Americans ? nearly 29 million ? live within 10 miles of a military site that
is listed as a national priority for hazardous waste cleanup under the
federal Superfund program. 

The proposed law would also apply to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
which today has responsibility for nuclear cleanup activities at 21 sites
covering more than two million acres in 13 states and which will require
billions of dollars a year for several more decades.

In the March 23 letter the groups write: ?Unregulated military projects have
placed countless communities, workers, soldiers, and families at increased
risk for cancer and other deadly disease from exposure to military toxins ?
the hidden casualties here at home.  Even as we write this letter,
contamination caused by munitions production, testing, and disposal is
poisoning our drinking water wells, contaminating the air we breathe,
destroying our lakes, rivers, and fisheries, and polluting our soils and

?It is important to insist that the Military Environmental Responsibility
Act be pushed to make a clear statement that no one should be above the
law,? said Evelyn Yates, who lives near Arkansas? Pine Bluff Arsenal ? one
of six Army installations in the United States that currently stores
chemical weapons. ?In my community, that is destroying chemical weapons with
open incineration no one seems to be paying attention but, like my sweet
departed mother use to say, it will all come out in the wash.  Will the wash
day be five years down the road when we are all guessing the cause of all
the new local diseases??

 ?Everyone has to be accountable when they do wrong.  The military should be
accountable when thousands of people have been exposed to toxins,? said
Doris Bradshaw, director of Defense Depot Memphis Tennessee Concerned
Citizens Committee and neighbor of a 642-acre Army site where contamination
from mustard and other chemical agents has been found.  ?The new law will
make the government accountable for health issues that have been going on
for years.? 
Among those exposed to toxins at former military sites are civilian
workers.   In the windowless basement of Philadelphia?s now-closed Defense
Personnel Supply, workers making clothing for the Army say that they were
exposed to fumes, insecticides and other environmental hazards.     

"The basement area had no ventilation or windows," said Mable Mallard, a
seamstress who worked at the factory for 10 years, until it closed in 1994.
?People were working for $5 an hour in unhealthy and unsafe conditions ? it
was a sweatshop.?  

 ?The fox has been watching the hen house,? said Gilbert Sanchez, the
director of Tribal Environmental Watch Alliance and a community leader at
the Pueblo of San Ildefonso in New Mexico.  ?It is time to address the
impacts of DOE facilities like the Los Alamos National Laboratory that are
and have been done for the military use of nuclear weapons, depleted
uranium, waste storage on site, and poor oversight by the Agency.?

Among the cosponsors of the bill is Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
whose district includes the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant.  Rural
neighbors of the Badger plant organized Citizens for Safe Water Around
Badger (CSWAB) in 1990 when groundwater contamination from the military base
was detected in nearby drinking water wells.  Families there were
unknowingly exposed to carcinogenic solvents in their well water for more
than 15 years.  
Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Installations and
Environment, Defense Environmental Programs Annual Report to Congress Fiscal
Year 2006.
Peter Eisler, USA TODAY, Pollution cleanups pit Pentagon against regulators,
March 12, 2004.
United States Department of Energy, Office of Environmental Management,
Report to Congress Status of Environmental Management Initiatives to
Accelerate the Reduction of Environmental Risks and Challenges Posed by the
Legacy of the Cold War, January 2009.
Laura Olah, Executive Director
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger
E12629 Weigand's Bay South
Merrimac, WI  53561
Email: info@cswab.org
Website: www.cswab.org

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