Thursday, December 24, 2009

Seasons Greetings!

NOPE Secretary Ernie Janssen best encapsulates the sentiments of our organization's leadership team, and what a pleasure it remains to volunteer for the better of our community. Seasons Greetings to all!
"I would just like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a Joyous Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Healthy and Happy New Year!!! While we, a disparate group, have banded together to fight the insanity of the US Navy I can say without a doubt that it continues to be a pleasure working with all of you! I would not have met many of you if it had not been for this problem and frankly, that would have been a shame. Helping neighbors solve problems is something that we all too frequently lose sight of as our days become ever so busy. Thanking everyone for their participation and I look forward to our successful conclusion in 2010 of our "little headache".
Happy Holidays Everyone!!!! Ernie"

EPA responds to NOPE postcards!

The community's actions do have an impact (so continue to get your friends and neighbors to sign and submit the postcards we've been distributing since late-October), as evidenced by this letter from the U.S. EPA to NAVFAC (and copied to NOPE's mailbox), which references our postcard campaign and that, unfortunately, the EPA is seemingly unwavering toward its favorable view of the Laurelwood civilian housing plan at NWS Earle.

Our contention from the get-go of NAVFAC's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), a prerequisite filing for any agency (in this case, for the Department of Navy to construct a new, unimpeded civilian access road and two bridges thru its base), has been that the Navy misled the EPA on its "purpose and need" for the project and that the plan (of the five presented) with the least environmental impact was the NO BUILD option (basically, no civilian road or housing). NAVFAC lied that it has to go thru with the project, which NOPE has proven to be false, and therefore the EPA should make NAVFAC re-open the study and issue a new EIS, providing all agencies with a true security and cost-benefits analysis.

To be sure, NAVFAC (the DoN's) lack of candidness is what has prompted federal and state legislation, lawsuits, community outrage, etc.

Anyway, what we can take from this latest EPA letter is that a) the EPA is clearly aware of the NOPE community's objections to complacency toward the National Environmental Policy Act and b) that within the coming weeks NOPE will step up the environmental food chain, so to speak, and target The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chairwoman Nancy Sutley (a director policy advisor to the President) to enforce NEPA guidelines.

We continue to need the community's support on this front.

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 (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.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Homegrown Terror on the Rise in 2009: FoxNews

According to FoxNews, citing credible data from Rand Corporation and global intelligence company Stratfor, one-third of the nearly 30 domestic terror events since 9/11 took place in 2009. NOPE continues to shake its collective head at the foolishness of the Department of Navy notion that unfettered civilian access through Weapons Station Earle to the Laurelwood homes will not comprimise security and the base mission. Opening the homes to anyone that can pay the rent is more foolhardy, when considering some of the cautionary commentary offered in this Fox story about how homegrown terrorists are even more difficult to identify.