Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More environmental lessons for Earle and the EPA

Bolstering NOPE's case that 29 (and possibly counting) EPA Superfund sites at Earle make the Colts Neck, NJ, Naval Weapons Station an inherent hazard to prospective civilian tenants of Laurelwood housing come 2010, we encourage our supporters to read this story from Bob O'Dowd of SalemNews.com. (Mr. O'Dowd's profile on this link shows 4+ years with the Marines in the 1960s and 30+ years as a financial expert with the federal government, including 15 years in the Defense Logistics Agency.) Candidly, it is startling (though not totally surprising, considering how much NOPE has learned about Earle the past two years) how the military can turn a blind eye toward the health of its veteran dependents or exposure to toxins.

Building upon our writings a few days ago about contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune and the Marines' notification of people through, of all venues, a Sports Illustrated advertisement, Mr. O'Dowd's story touches upon a similar case at the defunct El Toro (California), where Marine vets and their dependents were exposed to toxic chemicals TCE and PCE at the former Marine Corp Air Station and now deal with all sorts of cancer and serious diseases. TCE and PCE are listed numerous times in EPA Superfund and any environmental literature pertaining to NWS Earle.

To make a long story short, in light of such stories about toxins and military bases, it remains baffling to NOPE how the EPA could have blindly checked off on the Department of Navy's plan to rent the 300 Laurelwood houses at Earle to civilians...just outside one particular EPA Superfund site ("NPL #1") known to have been home to burn pits and rife with toxic elements...and how local veterans groups a) take the Navy for its word that these homes are a safe place to live and b) would put their bretheren in harms way, when far-safer alternatives to distressed veterans in need of housing could be explored.

THE EPA CLEARLY DID NOT DO ITS JOB IN CHALLENGING THE MERITS OF CIVILIAN HOUSING AT NWS EARLE AND SHOULD IMMEDIATELY WITHDRAW ITS FINDINGS AND REVISIT THE ISSUE. The last thing some unwitting prospective tenant (civilian or otherwise) needs to learn somewhere down the road is that the sweet digs at Earle's Laurelwood development were within reach of airborne toxins or something festering in the soil that exposed them to cancer or some other fatal or life-changing disease, or that something in the soil was disturbed while the developer was paving the 2-mile road to the Laurelwood development. NAVFAC (Navy facilities command) hung its hat in the Laurelwood EIS on prospective Laurelwood residents getting water from public utilities, but was less-than-candid about residents' potential exposure to inhalation of or dermal contact (i.e. touching the soil) with cancer-causing agents. This needs to be considered more thoroughly by the EPA.

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