1994 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Aimee Houghton <aimeeh@igc.org>
Date: Thu, 15 Dec 1994 21:37:33 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Environmental Principles
The following is an Executive Summary of "Environmental Principles for
Military Base Closures." Authored in collaboration by the Military Base
Closure Environmental Network (a group consisting of environmentalists
community activists, representatives of non-profit and non-governmental
organizations), it's prime focus is the Bay Area and the
region's unique challenges. We hope, however, that others involved in
the base closure process find this information valuable.

Environmental Principles for Military Base Closure

Executive Summary

These Environmental Principles for Military Base Closures offer four
basic statements to help guide reuse efforts. They explain how members
fo the Military Base Closures Environmental Network will analyze reuse

Drawing from the authors' broad experience in environmental protection,
sustainable economics and design, and environmental justice, these
Principles state essential elements of sustainable reuse plans. While
recognizing that all aspects of the Principles may not be applicable to
every land parcel or reuse plan, the authors recommend that they be
incorporated as a goal statement in all reuse plans and environmental
impact statements. The goals of the Principles are to:
-Encourage and facilitate economically sound commercial and industrial
ventures, affordable housing, and protected wildlife habitat.
-Educate and guide stakeholders and participants in the reuse planning
process, including government officials, planning consultants, members of
Resotration Advisory Boards, and interested citizens.
-Hightlight the opportunities presented by base closures.
-Help bridge the gap between existing regulations and base closure
-Facilitate the incorporation of sustainable environmental concepts into
all Bay Area reuse plans, environmental impact reports, and other related

1. All the region's diverse stakeholders must be included in military
base reuse. The various communities of the region, particularly
communities of color who have been negatively impacted by existing
operations and/or closure hardships, must be involved as partners in the
decision making process.

Rather than viewing community involvement as a hurdle to overcome,
successful reuse efforts will build on a strong foundation of community
support. As conflict or tensions arise which cannot be solved through a
participatory discussion, mediation and/or arbitration should be
considered so that overall reuse and conservation efforts may move forward.

Reuse proposals should generate jobs which match existing skills in the
local community, and provide training to help develop necessary new skills.

2. The basic rights to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and walk on
clean soil must be protected in reuse plans. The right to clean air,
water and habitat does not depend on either socio-economic class or
wildlife species.

Many sites have serious and expensive contamination problems. Cleanup
decisions must maximize reuse options and recognize that full clenaup may
take decades. Reuse plans should adopt a multi-phased cleanup approach
which allows available cleanup dollars to be targeted most effectively,
contains the spread of contamination on sites which cannot be immediately
cleaned up, and moves towards a goal of full restoration of all sites.

The military agency currently holding title should not be allowed to
relinquish liability for full cleanup until contaminants have been
removed to levels found in nearby undisturbed areas.

3. The globally significant resources of the San Francisco Bay Region
must be respected and protected. Each of the diverse elements of the Bay
Area ecosystem must be respected in its own right. The proximity of
different wildlife habitats and the resulting interlocking and
interdependent food webs constitute both known and yet to be discovered
genetic resources for the entire planet.

Simply protecting endangered species does not preserve the larger
resource, although we must certainly strive to assure the recovery of
endangered and threatened species. Impacts on local habitats should be
evaluated both in their own right, and for the potential ripple effects
on larger population of species. To maintain and restore the Bay Area's
biodiversity we must protect and enhance the integrity of the entire
ecosystem and its ability to support all indigenous species and natural

4. Reuse planning must not stop at the physical boundries of the bases,
but must encompass the entire region. The region's challenge is to
engage in full bioregional planning which recognizes that the Bay Area's
irreplaceable natural resources are tightly linked to its diverse social,
cultural, architectural, and economic resources.

Sustainable reuse planning should be directed towards improving the
overall quality of life within the region. Federal base closure
assistance funds could and should be prefenentially applied to projects
and conversion efforts which create sustainable jobs, affordable housing,
respect the natural environment and rebuild communities.

The military bases slated for closure are public lands. For decades the
federal government has held title for purposes of national security.
Now, these lands, which have always been held for the general benefits of
all citizens, are available for new public benefit uses.

For a complete copy of "The Environmental Principles for Military Base
Closures" contact:

Tim Little
(510) 658-0702

Aimee Houghton
(415) 904-7751

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