|From:||Aimee Houghton <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|Date:||14 Dec 2001 19:33:34 -0000|
|Subject:||[CPEO-MEF] Blumenauer on Defense Authorization Conference Report|
[Following are the comments made by Congressman Blumenauer on the Defense
Authorization Conference Report. Of particular interest are his
comments regarding UXO legislation and BRAC. --Aimee]|
S. 1438: Defense Authorization Conference Report
Statement for the record by: Representative Blumenauer
Mr. Chairman, this conference report makes tremendous progress in strengthening our nationís policies in dealing with unexploded ordnance, the bombs and shells that did not go off as intended. I very much appreciate the efforts of Chairman Bob Stump and Ranking Member Ike Skelton in raising the profile of this important issue, and including several meaningful reforms to address the problems these discarded military munitions cause communities throughout our country. Our colleagues in the Senate also made valuable contributions and I appreciate their wisdom and hard work. The sections addressing unexploded ordnance are 311, 312, and 313 in the conference report. I hope that the activity on this issue during consideration of this yearís defense authorization signals potential for additional steps forward in the future.
Two of the four major provisions of the bill I have introduced, the Ordnance and Explosives Risk Management Act (H.R. 2605) have been legislated in this report. Congress has finally stepped up to the plate in the campaign to make former military sites safe. In fact, by requiring the inventory and prioritization scheme and establishing a separate account, we've rounded first, and we're on our way to second base. In the near future, I hope Congress will reinforce efforts within the Pentagon to put someone in charge of munitions response and to fund that response at a level that will address the problem over the next two decades, rather than the next two centuries. We also need to ensure that the Department of Defense, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the states are following the same regulatory framework.
It is important that another round of base closures is authorized in this conference report. However, delaying that effort until after the next two Congressional elections and the next presidential election is problematic at best. Maintaining the infrastructure of military bases left over from earlier eras when needs were different is a tremendous unnecessary cost that prevents us from making the investments needed to address today's changed security environment.
Please note new phone number and address below.
Aimee R. Houghton
Associate Director, CPEO
1101 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036
tel: 202-452-8039; fax: 202-452-8095
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