Washington, DC — United States Senator Jon S. Corzine (D-NJ) today called on incoming chairman of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, Senator James M. Inhofe (R-OK), to hold hearings on the cleanup of hazardous materials on military ranges around the country. Senator Corzine’s request came in response to the release of EPA documents indicating that federal authorities are failing to adequately clean up hazardous materials including chemical and biological weapons at those sites.
“It is government’s responsibility to examine the status of these cleanups and to ensure that they proceed quickly and safely,” said Senator Corzine. “I am concerned about reports that the Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies have not responded appropriately to this serious threat. There is no excuse for taking shortcuts when it comes to protecting the health and safety of Americans from hazardous environmental risks.”
According to recent reports, unexploded munitions at the nation’s 16,000 inactive military ranges may pose a far more serious threat to public health than previously believed. EPA documents suggest that chemical and biological weapons may be present on many of these sites and that the federal government is failing to meet its cleanup obligations under the law.
The EPA documents mention Former Raritan Arsenal, Naval Weapons Station Earle and Picattiny Arsenal as military bases in New Jersey containing military ranges needing cleanup.
Letter from Sen. Corzine:
Senator James M. Inhofe
453 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Inhofe:
I want to congratulate you on your upcoming chairmanship of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. I look forward to working with you in the 108th Congress.
In that regard, I am writing today to request that you hold hearings early next year to examine the issue of hazardous contamination at inactive military ranges. According to recent reports, unexploded munitions at the nation’s 16,000 inactive military ranges may pose a far more serious threat to public health than previously believed. For example, EPA documents have come to light that suggest that chemical and biological weapons may be present on many of these sites. Furthermore, recently released documents suggest that the federal government is not meeting its cleanup obligations under the law.
I am extremely concerned about these reports, and believe that prompt hearings are in order. The Environment and Public Works Committee should gather evidence about the extent and nature of contamination at inactive U.S. military ranges. More importantly, the Committee should examine whether the federal government is meeting its obligation to protect Americans from exposure to hazardous contaminants at these ranges by cleaning them up in accordance with the law.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
JON S. CORZINE
United States Senator