2008 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2008 15:53:19 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] MUNITIONS [Fwd: Judge Dismisses Our Case for Insufficient Harm]
Federal Judge Says Local Citizen Group Not Sufficiently Harmed By FBI
Bullets in Their Water and Park for Standing to Sue in Court


Chicago - September 12, 2008

Blue Eco Legal Council and one of its members, attorney Steven B.
Pollack, brought suit for the FBI's firearms training range in North
Chicago, IL where lead bullets land off-range in Lake Michigan and the
adjacent properties. The lake supplies drinking water for the Chicago

During litigation, the group found 40 bullets that had ricocheted into
the park next to the FBI's shooting range and the beach below the
range.  One bullet was even found under a swing set.  When they sought a
temporary restraining order in court on April 1, 2008 the FBI
voluntarily shut the range down the night before.

The group also showed Judge Guzman FBI documents that a worker on the
property to the north of the range was hit by a ricochet in 2001.  The
judge, however, never ruled on the merits and instead dismissed the suit
by finding that the group and its members are not sufficiently harmed to
have standing to sue.

The group questions if this means the FBI is now free to re-open the
range and endanger the public in violation of established range safety
guidelines and US EPA environmental guidelines for lead bullets at
outdoor ranges?  Is the FBI free to continue discarding its lead
munitions into the nation's waters in violation of the Clean Water Act
and RCRA?

Judge Guzman held that Pollack, who lives thirteen miles south of the
range in Highland Park, "would have standing only if the evidence
showed that the migration had injured him. It does not. On the contrary,
the most recent reports for North Chicago and Highland Park show the
lead levels in those cities" drinking water are 11 ppb and 9.2 ppb,
respectively, well below the 15 ppb limit set by the government."

Blue Eco disagrees that violations of the environmental laws must exceed
government action levels or that a plaintiff must prove a direct pathway
to his specific drinking water before violations of law that degrade his
general drinking water supply allows standing to bring suit.

Judge Guzman put too much emphasis on the drinking water lead levels and
not enough on the general water supply from which it is taken.  The FBI
conducted testing at the range showing lead in the groundwater that
flows into Lake Michigan at 200 ppb, well above the government action
level.  The judge had that information in the FBI's affidavit.  The
same affidavit shows lake sediment having 1,700 parts per million of
lead (100 ppm is considered potentially hazardous).

Steven B. Pollack, Attorney
Executive Director, Blue Eco Legal Council
3390 Commercial Ave.
Northbrook, IL 60062


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

Attachment: MTDMemorandum.pdf
Description: Adobe PDF document

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