August 25, 2003
HARKIN CALLS ON ARMY TO TAKE ACTION ON IAAP CLEANUPWASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter to Acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) called for quick action on safety and cleanup at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant in Middletown. Despite a cleanup schedule set with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and reported to Congress, the Administration continues to delay taking action to clean up the site and the surrounding area.
“The communities around the plant and I have had to fight to get clean water for all plant neighbors. We have had to fight to get the Army to look for radioactive contamination at the plant site. And now we have to fight just to get the hazardous contamination cleaned up,” said Harkin. “How long do we have to wait for them to clean up the mess they made? The workers at IAAP and their families devoted their lives to our national security. It is past time that we devote ourselves to their safety.”
The IAAP is a Superfund site because of extensive contamination mostly from hazardous high explosives, and it was also recently named a Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) site, due to contamination when it was also a nuclear weapons production facility. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has scheduled cleanup to be completed by 2014. Now, the Army wants to delay cleanup of the site yet again.
Harkin called for swift action after learning that, “Dates for most documents and fieldwork will be extended by many years.” One of Harkin’s greatest concerns is over delays in addressing contamination of groundwater off the plant site. Rather than having a remediation plan this fall, the Army now intends to have a plan just for more testing in June 2004. Due to the contamination, many local residents have been forced to give up using water from their wells. The cleanup of soil on the plant site is also being held up.
Harkin requested an immediate response as to why cleanup is delayed, and called on the Army to get the cleanup back on track and on a reasonable schedule. A copy of the letter is available upon request (two pages).
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