Feb 24, 2013

Army's Refusal to Relocate Family of Four Shocks Congresswoman

DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton's letter ... expresses “shock” that the Corps would excavate a home site within yards of the home where Rogerio Zandamela and Christine Dieterich are raising their children, ages 1 and 5.  The Corps expects to unearth toxic chemicals in glassware and munitions contaminated with toxic agents such as mustard gas that were used in World War I, when the American University campus was an experiment station for poisonous chemical weapons.  Harold G. “Buzz” Bailey, an attorney who represents the family, last week petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to relocate them under the Superfund Act ... The full story of the Spring Valley chemical-weapons testing and the plight of the Dieterich family is the subject of a feature in the March issue of Washingtonian.
Harry Jaffe
February 21, 2013

Since 2000, the Army Corps has removed over 500 munitions, 400 pounds of laboratory glassware and over 100 tons of soil contaminated with arsenic and other hazardous substances from 4825 Glenbrook Road and the immediate area.  Despite this and the very real possibility that hazardous substances remain, the Army Corps decided to reject the family’s request for relocation during the remainder of the Army Corps’ work at 4825 Glenbrook Road ...
We also know that the Army Corps’ relationship with the Spring Valley community is fragile, that the cost of relocating this family is small compared to the overall cost of this years-long project, and Army Corps risks serious negative publicity by denying this request.  Given these facts, I find it unreasonable that the Army Corps would opt to deny the relocation request.  In light of the scientific evidence available to the Army Corps and to the general public, I believe that the only prudent decision is to relocate the family.

Feb 20, 2013

EPA Petition Alleges "Imminent & Substantial" Danger to Health

On behalf of two young children residing at 4830 Glenbrook Road, Luisa Z., 22 months old, and Lucas Z., 5 years and 10 months old ... I am urgently seeking your personal attention to address an imminent danger to these Children in the Spring Valley community of Washington DC.  I request that you review and grant the Children's petition under RCRA Sec. 7003 that USEPA: (1) investigate and determine whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has violated Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks, and (2) act immediately to order the relocation of the Children while USACE excavates for chemical weapon materials (CWM) and explosives less than 15 yards from where the Children live and play ...
Executive Order 13045, Attachment 4, states:
"A growing body of scientific knowledge demonstrates that children may suffer disproportionately from environmental health and safety risks ... each federal agency (a) shall make it a high priority to identify and assess environmental health risk and safety risks that may disproportionately affect children; and (b) shall insure that its policies, programs, activities, and standards address disproportionate risks to children that result from environmental health risks or safety risks. "

The above-noted deficiencies of the USACE HHRA and MEC HA constitute a clear violation of the words and intent of E.O. 13045.  I request that (a) USEPA initiate a prompt investigation of how and why the special CWM risks to the Children have not been adequately assessed by USACE, and (b) USEPA use its authorities under Section 7003 to issue an Administrative Order requiring USACE to undertake and complete a new CWM exposure hazard assessment specific to the Children.
After exploring the facts concerning the appeal, members of the RAB voted to express sympathy for your situation and to encourage the USACE to meet with you and your husband for the express purpose of providing a resolution satisfactory to your concerns and fears regarding the demolition of the house at 4825 Glenbrook Road and subsequent remedial work ...
At the public RAB meeting for September, all community members who spoke were in favor of a resolution that would remove your children from the area during the remedial response.  Speakers included the local elementary school principal who was concerned about the safety of her students that would be passing the site daily traveling to and from school ...The USACE has been actively working with the community to build a relationship based on trust.  Relations with the community have dramatically improved in recent years.  This strong community relationship appears to be in jeopardy.  There is clearly strong community support for your position in this matter, and it would be in the best interest of the USACE to resolve this matter.

Feb 1, 2013

New Web Site Requires Login to Access Spring Valley FUDS Archive

The USACE-Spring Valley FUDS Web site is changing. The change is part of the Corps of Engineers' nationwide-effort to establish a consistent look on all district Web sites. Starting tonight at 6 p.m., the new link for the USACE Spring Valley FUDS Project home page will be: http://www.nab.usace.army.mil/Home/SpringValley.aspx 

You will be able to find any new and recent documents, along with most of the project documents you are used to seeing on this new Web site.  However, the majority of the older project documents have been moved to a SharePoint site.  If you would like access to the SharePoint site, please email Andrea Takash, Baltimore District Corps of Engineers Public Affairs, to request a username and password at andrea.m.takash@usace.army.mil.  Andrea also can be reached at 410-962-2626. If you have any questions about the Web site please don't hesitate to contact Andrea directly.
Carrie Johnston & Rebecca Yahiel 
Community Outreach Team 
February 1, 2013
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