2004 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 9 Mar 2004 17:01:43 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Public left out of ammo plant cleanup
Public left out of ammo plant cleanup
Some question Army's decision to burn buildings
By Alex Davis, alexdavis@courier-journal.com
March 9, 2004

The Army spent at least three years studying how to clean up hundreds of
contaminated buildings at the former Indiana Army Ammunition Plant near

But details of the solution -- to torch the buildings using detonation
cords and jugs of fuel -- were announced less than a week before the
first structure went up in flames on Feb. 4.

The Army has had more public involvement in other places where similar
cleanup efforts have been conducted, and environmentalists argue that
such an approach should have been used here.

"It's shameful," said Laura Olah, the leader of an environmental group
that works with an ammunition plant in Wisconsin. "People should be
actively involved in the decision-making process."

The next round of fires -- involving 18 buildings -- is scheduled for
tomorrow. The Army has employed similar burning techniques at ammunition
plants in Nebraska, New Jersey, Kansas and Illinois, and there are plans
to burn buildings at a site in Wisconsin.

In many of those places, groups called restoration advisory boards were
formed to consider the government's approach to dealing with such
matters as mercury, lead or asbestos contamination.

The boards provide public education and awareness and offer advice,
though the Army has the final say.

A 2002 report to Congress from the Defense Department listed nearly 300
such advisory boards at military properties across the nation. At some
sites, including the Jefferson Proving Ground near Madison, the boards
received federal funding to educate the public about cleanup techniques.

But no such board exists for the 10,000-acre complex near Charlestown.
Many people who live near the site have said they knew little about
plans for the fires.

This article can be viewed at:

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