(April 22, 2019) — On this Earth Day, in solidarity with the citizens of Puerto Rico, CSWAB issued a national statement co-signed by more than 40 organizations from around the US calling on the EPA and Congress to immediately end the military’s relentless open air burning and detonation of hazardous and mixed wastes on the island municipality of Vieques.
The Navy is currently seeking approval to use open-air detonation to remedy a 4,800-acre natural area littered with unexploded ordnance on the island municipality of Vieques, Puerto Rico. The US EPA and the US Congress have both the authority and the responsibility to deny their application. The military has access to alternative technologies that can capture and destroy toxic emissions and protect the land and sea —we just need to demand them!
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Submit public comment (one or two sentences is all you need) opposing the Navy’s proposed plan to use open-air burning/detonation to remediate the 4,800-acre natural area known as UXO 12/14 at Vieques, Puerto Rico in favor of safer alternative technologies to:
Email your public comment opposing the Navy’s proposed plan to use open-air-burning/detonation to remediate the 4,800-acre natural area known as UXO 12/14 on Vieques, Puerto Rico, in favor of safer alternative technologies to:
Jessica Mollin, Remedial Project Manager, EPA Region 2 email@example.com
(Anyone in the US and its territories may comment as this is a question of national policy.)
PUBLIC COMMENT DEADLINE: May 16, 2019.
Military Munitions Disposal is Polluting Puerto Rico, Despite Safer Alternatives
(April 22, 2019)—In solidarity with the citizens of Puerto Rico, more than 40 organizations from around the nation are calling on the US EPA and the US Congress to immediately end the relentless open air burning and detonation of hazardous and mixed wastes on the island municipality of Vieques, Puerto Rico by the Department of Defense.
“For six decades, the land and waters of Vieques have been the theater for military exercises and bombing, including depleted uranium, which has caused irreparable harm to the environment and its people,” said Myrna Veda Pagán, a resident and member of Vidas Viequenses Valen. “The Navy is seeking approval to again use open air detonation to remedy a 4,800-acre natural area littered with unexploded ordnance.”
Numerous human health studies have documented higher rates of disease in Vieques compared to the rest of Puerto Rico and exposure to toxic metals and chemical residues from bombs and experimental weaponry has been linked to a substantial increase in cancer, diabetes, hypertension, cirrhosis and respiratory diseases.
“Safer advanced treatment technologies that can capture and destroy toxic emissions have been deployed at other military sites across the US and the world,” said Laura Olah, Executive Director of Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger —the group that organized the national call for action.
In January 2019, the National Academies of Sciences Engineering, and Medicine issued its final report which concluded that alternative technologies to open burning and open detonation of conventional munitions designated for disposal are mature, including contained burn and contained detonation chambers with pollution control equipment, and many are permitted to replace open burning and detonation of waste munitions.
However, without a clear directive and sufficient and stable funding from Congress, it will be impossible for the military to implement a full-scale deployment of alternative technologies to replace OB/OD, the National Academies concluded.
“The US EPA and the US Congress have both the authority and the responsibility to end the open air burning and detonation of hazardous waste,” Olah said. “We have the technologies—we just need the political will to demand them.”
Another Gulf is Possible (Mary Gutierrez)
California Communities Against Toxics (Jane Williams)
California Safe Schools (Robina Suwol)
Citizens for Clean Air and Water (Vincent Headington)
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (Laura Olah)
Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (Joni Arends)
CORALations Culebra (Mary Ann Lucking)
Center For Public Environ mental Oversight (Lenny Siegel)
Don’t Waste Arizona (Scott Meyer)
Downwinders at Risk Dallas-Fort Worth (Jim Schermbeck)
Earth Action, Inc. (Mary Gutierrez)
Environmentalists Against War (Gar Smith)
Friends United for a Safe Environment (FUSE) (James Presley, Ph.D.)
GAIA: Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (Denise Patel)
Green Cross International (Paul F. Walker, Ph.D.)
Green Delaware (Alan Muller)
HunterSeven Foundation (Sgt. Chelsey Poisson and Lt. Col. Sheri Boucher)
The Institute for Science & Interdisciplinary Studies & Military Waste Project
International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (Terrance Long)
International Scientific and Technology Advisory Board on Underwater Munitions (Terrance Long)
Kentucky Environmental Foundation (Craig Williams)
Neighbors Against the Burner (Nancy Hone)
NJ Friends of Clearwater (Ed Dlugosz)
Nuclear Free World Committee of the Dallas Peace and Justice Center (Mavis Belisle)
Nukewatch (John LaForge)
Peaceful Skies Coalition (Carol Miller)
Physicians for Social Responsibility Wisconsin (Dr. Ann Behrmann)
RootsAction.oorg (David Swanson)
Stand Up/Save Lives Campaign (Maureen K. Headington)
Texas Campaign for the Environment & TCE Fund (Robin Schneider)
The Peace Farm (Cletis Stein)
Tri-Valley CAREs (Marylia Kelley)
Tewa Women United (Elder Kathy Wan Povi Sanchez)
Tucson Forward (Kathleen Williamson, JD, LLM, PhD)
University Commission on Culebra and Vieques (“Comisión Universitaria sobre Culebra y Vieques, CUCuVI) of the Río Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico (Jorge Colón)
Vieques en Rescate, Inc. (Elba Oquendo)
Vidas Viequenses Valen (Myrna Veda Pagán)
Vieques Insider (Kelly Thompson)
Veteran Warriors, Inc. (N1 Lauren Price, USN, (Ret.), B.A.C.J.)
Volunteers for Environmental Health and Justice (Mark & Connie Toohey)
Wisconsin Environmental Health Network (Dr. Ann Behrmann)
World Beyond War (David Swanson)
Vieques National Call to Action 42 Groups to EPA Reg 2 US Congress 22 April 2019
Vieques Public Notice for Comment on Remedy for UXO 12 and 14
CEASE FIRE Fact Sheet: Alternative Technologies Approved Deployed Sites 2017
CEASE FIRE Fact Sheet: Active OB OD Sites US and Territories 2017
National Academies: Most Alternative Technologies to OB OD Are Mature 2018
Laura Olah is the Executive Director of Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger. www.CSWAB.org