|From:||Lenny Siegel <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|Date:||Fri, 09 Dec 1994 15:18:31 -0800 (PST)|
|Subject:||BASE CLOSURE: Pease Ruling|
BASE CLOSURE: LONG-TERM LEASE EQUALS TRANSFER In August, 1994, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire handed down a complicated ruling in lawsuits initiated by the Conservation Law Foundation and the Town of Newington against the U.S. Air Force, the Pease Development Authority, and other defendants. The case challenged the closure and conversion of Pease Air Force Base under the Clean Air Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and CERCLA (the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act). One aspect of the court's ruling is likely to have far-reaching implications for base closure, unless overturned by a higher court: In applying environmental laws, long-term leases should be treated as the equivalent of deed transfers. The Town of Newington, in which Pease is located, charged that the Air Force was attempting to circumvent its obligation, under CERCLA Section 120 (h), to initiate cleanup before transferring the former base to the control of the Pease Development Authority. The judge agreed, but it declined to void the leases. Instead, it ordered the Air Force, within one year, to prepare a supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement, including the delineation of a remedial design.
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