09 May 1997 15:46:04

Lenny et al --

This is a fair start, but it falls far short of making
administrative/institutional controls an acceptable substitute for cleanup.

The people at greatest risk from residual contamination are, for the most
part, yet to be born. Their rights (legally guaranteed) must be paramount
in any framework that lets current responsible parties and current
communities off the hook. Those rights include, for starters, thorough
site characterization (before and after cleanup and for as long as
contaminants or their successors remain), reopener rights based on new
information (both montoring data and new science on effects), permanent
guarantees that funding will be available if further cleanup becomes
necessary (including compensation for any post-cleanup users of the site
who are harmed or disadvantaged by subsequent cleanup), easy access to ALL
relevant data, criminal penalties for anyone who fails to disclose relevant
data, etc.

Reliance on administrative/institutional controls is a bad idea. It is
fraught with risks, most of them visited on people who have no voice in the
decisions; it sends dangerous signals to people who are willing to cut
their costs at someone else's expense, and worse to current decision-makers
who are often under pressure to produce cleanup victories whether cleanup
has occurred or not; and it invites the same kind of self-serving,
short-sighted thinking that got us into these messes in the first place.

I'm not prepared to say that administrative/institutional controls should
never be used as part of a cleanup strategy, but the current fadism that
seems to surround this option is a moral and ethical outrage.


Ross Vincent
Chair, Environmental Quality Strategy Team
Sierra Club
P.O. Box 4375 Pueblo, CO 81003-0375
719-561-3117 719-561-1149 (daytime fax)