Mar 28, 2013

EPA Admits It Cannot Enforce Provisions of Executive Order

EPA recognizes the entirely understandable concern that your clients and their parents have regarding USACE's cleanup work so close to their home.  However, for reasons detailed below, EPA does not believe that the actions you have requested are appropriate or necessary at this time ... EPA's CERCLA guidance for assessing risks and conducting cleanups, which governs USACE's work at the Spring Valley site, recognizes that children (as well as health-compromised adults) may be more sensitive to environmental exposures than the general public.  However, while Executive Order 13045 imposes certain obligations upon federal agencies, including EPA and USACE, it does not confer an authority on EPA to enforce its provisions against other federal agencies.

... The USACE has also instituted an additional layer of protection for nearby residents which assumes the extremely unlikely event that a MCE [maximum credible event] has occurred and that the containment system has catastrophically failed such that the air blowers are unable to capture the contamination, resulting in the release of chemical to air outside the structure.  Based on this hypothetical scenario, the USACE calculated a perimeter within which a voluntary shelter-in-place program would be established ... In this unlikely event, the community members with the potentially affected area would be notified through pre-arranged methods and instructed to shelter in place.
Kathyrn A. Hodgkiss
March 28, 2013

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