Skip to comments.Perchlorate report draws fire
Posted on 05/05/2004 9:33:17 PM PDT by BenLurkin
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon missed a deadline for sending Congress a report on perchlorate contamination at defense sites nationwide, prompting complaints Monday from California Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein, the top Democrat on the appropriations subcommittee that handles military construction, released a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld saying she was "deeply disappointed" the department missed Friday's congressionally mandated deadline.
"Additionally, I am troubled by the fact that the department has consistently avoided providing information to Congress about perchlorate contamination on Defense Department sites, and describing what, if anything, it has done to remediate the contamination," Feinstein wrote.
Perchlorate, an ingredient in rocket fuel, has been found in drinking water supplies in 22 states where it was manufactured and handled. It has been linked to damage to the thyroid and may be especially harmful to infants.
The April 30 deadline for a report on the contaminant was contained in a military construction bill passed last year.
Pentagon spokesman Glenn Flood said the report should be ready within days. He said there was no particular reason for the delay other than trying to make sure the report was prepared correctly.
"Each site is different, and we have to make sure we analyze each very carefully to make sure we know the information we're getting is accurate. There's no deliberate delay at all," he said.
Lawmakers have been seeking a comprehensive report on perchlorate from the Defense Department for over a year. Last year they received what they complained was a sketchy, bewildering document from defense officials that surveyed just 305 of the nation's 5,000 former and active military bases.
At Edwards Air Force Base, a site once used by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for developing and testing solid rocket fuels is being cleaned of perchlorate.
At the former NASA site, as the fuel was cut into the desired size and shape for test firings, dust and shavings were discarded onto the ground, and the chemicals made their way into the groundwater.
In May 2003, the Base Environmental Office began operation of an experimental system to remove perchlorate from groundwater. The system uses sandlike beads of a special resin designed to extract perchlorate from the water.
Democrats have complained the Pentagon is resisting full disclosure because it could face billions of dollars in cleanup costs and liability for health problems.
A spokesman for California Sen. Barbara Boxer also complained about the missed deadline. "It's been a pattern that DoD has thus far refused to step up to the plate and take responsibility for perchlorate contamination," spokesman David Sandretti said.
There is debate about what constitutes dangerous levels of perchlorate. The Environmental Protection Agency is working on a first-ever national standard for perchlorate in drinking water, but is not expected to issue a final standard until 2006.
California officials last month set the state's public health goal at 6 parts per billion - the first such level set in the country for the toxin. EPA's draft proposal is stricter - one part per billion.
Typical democrat party hack.
National defense? 'Who cares,' she says in essence, 'All that matters are my eco-whacko special interest groups.'
Fienswine, as usual, on the wrong side..............FRegards
For an interesting read about the history of rocket fuels:
THE HISTORY OF SOLID-PROPELLANT ROCKETRY: WHAT WE DO AND DO NOT KNOW
J. D. Hunley *
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center