Thursday, November 12, 2009

Postcard campaign update - huge early success!

Secretary Ernie Janssen has shipped the first batch (roughly 300 sets) of NOPE postcards distributed at the October 27 rally. We reiterate our thanks to all supporters of this initiative, and ask that you keep up the good work as we strive to alert agencies that have not been paying close enough attention to our communities objections to a horrendous plan!

To reiterate, these postcards (addressing the U.S. Secretary of the Navy and EPA, in addition to our governor and homeland security chief) express residents' objections to the Department of Navy plan to rent military housing to civilians from 2010 to 2040. There are 4 color-coded cards and a 5th white card; the latter, which you should hand to your direct NOPE contact, will help us as we lobby for passage of a key bill in Trenton, sponsored by Senator Beck and the District 12 Assembly (Casagrande, O'Scanlon).

As we've printed some 2,000 sets and we recognize that many are still in circulation (and some may not have had time yet to mail on their own, owing to life's busy schedule), we encourage our supporters who took batches of these cards to keep gathering signatures and return them ASAP to their primary contacts within NOPE, as we will do another mass mailing around Thanksgiving, and perhaps another before the end of 2009.

Together, our supporters can show their fortitude and persistence in fighting a Navy plan that clearly has horrific ramifications for our communities from security, financial, environmental and educational perspectives, not to mention the quality-of-life and work duty compromise of those service members and contractors already residing at Weapons Station Earle.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

National Priority List Superfund Sites on Naval Weapons Station Earle

In 1990 NWS Earle was placed on the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERLA) National Priorities List (NPL). During the 1992 IAS a total of 29 potentially hazardous sites were identified at NWSE.

Eleven NPL sites flank both sides (forming a contamination corridor) and are in close proximity to Alignment 4, the chosen unimpeded access route civilian renters will be using to access the Laurelwood housing units.

Below is a listing of the sites, the mission of that particular site and the site’s associated contaminants.

Site 22 - Paint Chip Disposal Area
Contaminant(s): Sediment – PAHs (Benzo(a)pyrene

Site 23 - Paint Chip Disposal Area
Contaminant(s): Soil-Metals & PAHs(Indeno(1,2,3-CD) pyrene, dibenz(a,h)anthracene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benso(a)anthrancene & benzo(a)pyrene) Groundwater-Metals (arsenic, cadmium, lead, & vanadium)

Site 24 & 25 – Closed Pistol Range
Contaminant(s): Bullets and shells containing lead

Site 14 – Defense Property Disposal Office Warehouse, Mercury Spill
Contaminant(s): NONE?

Site 47 – Closed Pesticide Shop
Contaminant(s): Soil –Pesticides (chlordane & 4,4’ DDT), Groundwater-Pesticides (Endosulfan I)
Site 28 – Waste Oil Tank
Contaminant(s): None Identified?

Site 29 – PCB Spill Site of A Hazardous Waste Storage Facility
Contaminant(s): Soil: TPH & low levels of PCB; Groundwater-very low level of VOC (Benzene and 1,2-DCE)

Site 16 – Fuel Line connecting Buildings C-20 & C-50
Epic Site F – Roundhouse
Site 16F – 8 Acres
Contaminant(s): Surface Soil: Metals (Lead) & TPH, Sediment: TPH; Groundwater: Organics (Benezene), TPH, Soil Gas: Organics (total BTEX, TCE, PCE)

Site 11 – Contract Ordnance Disposal Area
Contaminant(s): NONE?

Site 13 – Defense Property Disposal Office Yard
Contaminant(s): Soil: Metals, PAH, & Pesticides, Sediment: PCBs – Aroclor 1254; Groundwater: Metals, (arsenic, cadmium, chromium and lead);VOCs (Vinyl chloride)

Site 1 – Ordnance Demilitarization - (Contaminants are buried)
Contaminant(s): Surface soil, Metals: Aluminum, Chromium, Copper, Mercury, Vanadium, Metal and/or Alloy; Groundwater: Metals, Chromium assumed to be hexavalent (VI), Explosives RDX, Arsenic

Ø Will constant vehicular traffic and environmental factors force buried contaminants to reemerge in surface soil and groundwater?
Ø Will a 3rd party re-inspect the contaminated sites prior to permits being issued by the appropriate agencies?

Postcard Campaign update

Anyone holding postcards from the Oct. 27 rally or who coordinated a community sign-up initiative should submit them by day's end to either the town hall or recreation department in Colts Neck, or call 732.544.8595 or email or, to set arrangements to have them picked up. NOPE Secretary Ernie Janssen will be sending our first shipment (approximately 500 to each agency) on Wednesday morning.

If you cannot get them to us by day's end, no worries - all four color postcards have mailing addresses, so you can mail them yourselves with a postcard stamp. Otherwise, continue to get your neighbors' signatures on the white postcards we distributed at the Oct. 27 rally. Those will go with our legislative chairperson Elaine Mann when it time to lobby in Trenton for passage of the state legislation that would prohibit DOT and DEP from issuing the Department of Navy permits until the state treasurer studies the civilian housing plan.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Commentary-Naval Weapons Station Earle

Commentary - Naval Weapons Station Earle

Early November has proven to be a tragic time for both the Navy and the Army. Two stories, both involving the infiltration of military bases, only serves to prove the validity of the concerns expressed by Neighbors Opposed to Privatization at Earle (NOPE) regarding the unimpeded access route planned and chosen by the Navy; making way for the rental of 300 Laurelwood housing units to civilians.

To safeguard the base, and base personnel from civilians, and civilians from the daily operations of a fully functioning weapons storage facility, a $5 million dollar, 22, 000 foot chain link fence was deemed by the Navy to offer optimum protection. However according to an article on November 3, 2009 in the Seattle Times, 5 protestors associated with an international peace movement were arrested after cutting through three chain link security fences to reach an area where nuclear missiles are stored at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor— the ages of the protesters; 81, 83, 65, 60, and 60 years old.
This is the same type of fencing the Navy claims will keep Naval Weapons Station Earle safe from intrusion.

For over a year Neighbors Opposed to Privatization at Earle (NOPE) have vehemently opposed the opening of the Laurelwood housing units located on Naval Weapons Station Earle, to civilian renters and facilitating that by granting them unimpeded access.
Arrogant disregard and a deaf ear has been the Navy’s response, to NOPE’s assertion that allowing civilians unimpeded access to the facility is by its very nature, inviting actions which could ultimately lead to tragedy.

Hopefully the Department of the Navy has learned from these recent tragedies.
If not “foolish pride” will go before the fall.

Washington Post: Fort Hood attack 3rd this year targeting military on U.S. soil

It is unfortunate that it took the Fort Hood incident to draw attention and introduce real discussion to the issue of security at U.S. military installations, as evidenced by this Washington Post story on Friday, which rehashes incidents that were given only modest media and political attention and that NOPE has discussed here on this blog ad nauseum (i.e. thwarted attacks on Quantico, Fort Dix, Arkansas Army recruiting center).

The Fort Hood massacre notwithstanding, the separate civilian break-ins at Washington's Kitsap Naval base and North Carolina's Fort Bragg should be enough to get the Department of Navy to recognize that its civilian housing plan at NWS Earle is an utter travesty that threatens to a) compromise the base's own security and b) the safety of the base's workers, and that deserves political and media beyond the local publications to bring to light the seemingly laissez-faire attitude of the broader U.S. military that it can protect its own bases. The unfortunate incidents of the past 7-10 days would suggest otherwise.