1995 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@igc.org>
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 1995 09:37:18 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Rep. Reps on Superfund and Defense

 On May 17, ten powerful Republican leaders of the House 
National Security Committee and the House Appropriations 
Committee sent letters to leaders of the committees charged with 
responsibility for developing a new Superfund Reauthorization Bill. 
The letter argues that Superfund rules make it too costly to clean up 
military bases, but the recommendations of the signers are not too far 
from administration policy. They directly challenge, however, the 
role of states in controlling federal facility cleanup efforts.

 The letter explains the members concern: "Obviously, the 
manner in which Superfund legislation is crafted this year will 
significantly affect the defense budget and ultimately, the availability 
of defense dollars for legitimate defense requirements - matters of 
obvious interest to the Committees on National Security and 

 The letter concludes, "We are past the point where the nation 
can afford Superfund remediation strategies which are not cost 
effective and which do not take into account the increasingly limited 
resources the Departments of Defense and Energy can dedicate to 
cleanup activities. Such activities, while important, are collateral to 
the central missions of both departments." In other words, cleanup 
takes money that the signers believe could better be used on new 
weapons systems.

State Authority

 Despite the general Republican thrust of turning more power 
over to the states, the signers oppose legislative proposals - such as 
those included in last year's Superfund act - that would transfer 
authority over federal facility cleanup over to the states. They argue 
that such a transfer would make it impossible "to prioritize cleanup 
efforts according to the relative risk to human health ..." They also 
say that states would be able to impose remedies, no matter how 
much those remedies would cost the Department of Defense. And 
they suggest that states would be able to unilaterally abrogate 
existing federal facility cleanup agreements. This last argument is 
particularly weak; if any party has that power, it's Congress.

 If they fail to persuade their colleagues that authority should 
not be transferred to the states, they recommend conditions to ease 
the impact. They want measures of cost effectiveness; they want 
remedies to be based upon "real," not theoretical risks. They propose, 
"If states seek to impose remedies that do not meet such criteria, then 
they should be required to pay at least the incremental costs 
associated with selecting a 'cadillac' remedy."

 Ironically, many citizens' groups also oppose transferring 
authority to the states, not because remedies would be too strong, but 
because many states have ineffective environmental programs and, 
particularly in the south, lag far behind U.S. EPA in the recognition 
of the significance of race-based environmental injustice.

 In fundamental challenge to the current role of state 
regulators, the signers also say "states should be limited in their 
ability to impose fines and penalties against federal facilities for 
failure to comply with cleanup milestones established in Superfund 
remediation agreements." This idea is buried in the middle of a 
paragraph in the third page of the letter. This is strange, considering 
that it conflicts with a cornerstone of currently accepted states' rights.

Remedy Selection

 The members argue that there should not be a preference 
against the selection of bioremediation and containment as cleanup 
technologies. However, I am unaware of any policy against 
bioremediation - all parties seem to favor increased use of such 
technologies, where technically appropriate. Like the administration, 
they recommend that the preference for permanent treatment be 
abandoned except at hot spots.

 The signers also want cleanup stands to vary from site to site, 
but they want - similar to the administration - increased acceptance 
of generic remedies. They recommend, "Use of proven 'off the shelf' 
or generic remedies are particularly suitable to certain site types, 
such as landfills, where the source and type of contamination is 
similar." As someone whose RAB is looking at a proposed remedy 
for two landfills - located below sea level in an environmentally 
sensitive area - I don't think they recognize the wide range of landfill 
remediation problems..

Land Use

 Like the Energy and Defense Department, the committee 
leaders want the Departments of Energy and Defense to have 
authority - actually, this would mean additional authority, because it 
can already be done - to consider anticipated land use in designing 
remedies. Apparently unaware of the lengthiness of the reuse 
planning process, they propose, "The 'final' use of an area should be 
determined before the cleanup 'standard' is established."

The signers are all Republican representatives who hold committee 
or subcommittee chairs on Appropriations and National Security: 
Floyd Spence, Bob Livingston, Duncan Hunter, Herb Bateman, Joel 
Hefley, Barbara Vucanovich, C.W. Bill Young, Jerry Lewis, Curt 
Weldon, and Bob Dornan.

Lenny Siegel

  Prev by Date: Hamilton RABs
Next by Date: Re: Participatory factors regarding RAB relevancy and etc.
  Prev by Thread: Hamilton RABs
Next by Thread: to say "hello"

CPEO Lists
Author Index
Date Index
Thread Index