2009 CPEO Military List Archive

From: "stella" <stellalogic1@cfl.rr.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 07:19:29 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Re: [CPEO-MEF] MUNITIONS: Jefferson Proving Ground (IN) non-emergencysupport
i never 'felt' good about those MOA's-they always seemed a bit 'shady' to me-like a bunch of attorneys working to cover up or bury or turn over responsibility. yet in saying that, i read this over and over again to make sure i understood the issues (and there are so many of them)-so my questions/concerns: the army agreed to cleanup the 'site' proposals when FWS was ready to start building-is that correct? and now the army is reneging on their end of the deal? regardless of the 'munitions response'-the army did agree to cleanup for the site proposals-yes or no?

----- Original Message ----- From: "Lenny Siegel" <lennysiegel@gmail.com>
To: "Military Environmental Forum" <military@lists.cpeo.org>
Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2009 11:57 PM
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] MUNITIONS: Jefferson Proving Ground (IN) non-emergencysupport

The former Jefferson Proving Ground (JPG), in southern Indiana, was
closed under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process in the
early 1990s. Its 50,000-acre artillery testing range contains some of
the densest unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination in the country. Most
of it was turned over (under a renewable real estate permit) to the Fish
and Wildlife Service (FWS) about nine years ago. FWS's Big Oaks National
Wildlife Refuge opens up small portions of the property to hunters,
hikers, and schoolchildren – all of whom go through a UXO education
program before being allowed into the range buffer zone.

The original estimate for cleaning up the range was several billion
dollars, so sometime in the late 1990s, someone in Army management
decided not to spend any money conducting munitions response above the
firing line. (The Army did extensive remediation in the smaller
cantonment area.)

In 2000 the Army, the FWS, and the Air Force – which uses a central part
of the range as a bombing target – signed a Memorandum of Agreement
(MOA) – defining the reuse of the JPG range and ratifying the decision
not to fund munitions response there with BRAC cleanup money. Instead,
the Army (or Army Reserve or National Guard) was supposed to provide
non-emergency UXO support by Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) personnel.

This was never a good idea, because EOD is NOT the same as munitions
response, which is normally conducted by contractors with the proper
tools and training. Today, with EOD teams fully occupied in Iraq and
Afghanistan, it is out of the question.

In May 2008, FWS requested that the Army live up to the MOA by removing
munitions piles and clearing ordnance from roads, the site of a planned
visitors' center, and other areas. This request appears to be a
reasonable, cost-effective way to enable limited, but substantial public
use of a valuable natural resource.

The Army responded in July, pointing out that the FWS had agreed to
limit use of the refuge "consistent with existing conditions." It said
that it would not be able to provide the non-emergency support, and
instead it recommended that the "FWS seek the funding required to allow
these projects to be supported by the US Army Corps of Engineers or one
of a number of UXO contractor ..."

At other BRAC ranges, the Army BRAC cleanup fund would cover such a
response. No one is proposing the multi-billion-dollar effort originally
estimated, so it would not break the bank. Still, because of the MOA,
Congress needs to solve the problem.

The purpose of BRAC was not just to reduce unnecessary military
operations expenditures, but to make military land and other resources
available for reasonable reuse. Either Congress should fund the FWS for
the munitions response or add money to the Army BRAC fund with
instructions to overturn the 1990s policy decision and the unworkable MOA.


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

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