2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 5 Feb 2002 17:30:40 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Re: [CPEO-MEF] Air Force guidance on remedy selection
from Bonnie Buthker, State of Ohio

I think your evaluation of this situation is very accurate, but I also
wanted to add my experience with post-ROD issues at Air Force sites in Ohio.

I'm a state regulator, and I've seen two issues that concern me with
this policy.  I feel that the policy is the Air Force's attempt to take
away any enforcement authority of the regulatory agencies (both the
state and EPA)  by citing that they will not agree to anything that
gives either the state or EPA the ability take enforcement actions if
their remedies are no longer protective. If the Air Force had an
exemplary record of maintaining their remedies at their sites, then
regulatory oversight of their actions wouldn't be necessary.  However,
I've witnessed two separate times that land use controls were not
enforced at one of our active installations (they breached a cap on two
different landfills on two different occasions).  After the second LUC
violation, we sent a violation letter to the installation, because we
felt that they were not actively enforcing these controls, and we did
not want to see it happen again.   Since that time, they have repaired
the cap on the landfill, but they have not developed a Land Use Control
Plan, nor they have not demonstrated that they have implemented any of
the other changes that they promised the state and EPA they would do
(increased sign age, more coordination/cooperation with Civil
Engineering staff on base to ensure that cap breaches did not occur

In addition, I've also seen how the Air Force (along with other
Services) feel that they should not have to continue to fund state
regulatory involvement in the IRP program  once their installations are
in Operation and Maintenance or Long-term monitoring.  However, when the
Five Year reviews are being completed, how can the state (and EPA as
well) concur that the remedy remains protective at these sites, if we
are no longer allowed to review supporting information or are only
consulted once during the 5 year period?  Or how does the state and EPA
determine that a site should be closed out (e.g. has met the clean up
standards such that the treatment systems can be turned off or
monitoring can cease) if we are no longer involved during this period? 
This just doesn't make sense, and seems to disagree with Congress's view
of how cleanups should be conducted.

In addition, if we (or EPA) determine the remedy is no longer
protective, what happens then? Their policy suggests that the regulators
should just "trust" that the Air Force will do the right thing and
implement the necessary changes.  I don't think so.  As regulatory
agencies, we have a responsibility to ensure that the Air Force makes
any necessary changes  to ensure that a remedy implemented at a site is
once again protective.  These changes can include additional remedial
action, or maybe additional institutional controls to ensure that the
public or the environment are not being exposed to contamination.  The
Air Force seems to want to take away those responsibilities, and say we
shouldn't be worried because they are the lead agency.  

Are you or your organization planning on writing a response to the Air
Force about their policy? Hopefully, the states and EPA will work to
overturn this policy as well.

Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to speak about this issue.

Bonnie Buthker 
State of Ohio



Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 222B View St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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