Wednesday, September 11, 2013

To Protect and Defend is Their Mission

As American citizens, it seems that we ought unabashedly expect clear, complete, accurate information from the U.S. Army when they are hosting a community meeting to engage stakeholders. We have a Right to Know what is in the toxic waste being burned at our expense at  Radford Army Ammunition Plant's (RAAP) Open Burning Ground (OBG). What is burned - much of it after being soaked in diesel fuel includes heavy metals like the cancer-causing  CHROMIUM , and even construction debris. You might think that the U.S. Army would volunteer this information at one of two community meetings they have held this year. in the interest of trust and transparency. Sadly, they chose not to tell the people who came to learn the truth and may be under the impression that what we are forced to breathe is in support of our soldiers.

Now, it would be understandable if BAE Systems, the corporate entity operating this GOCO facility, didn't high-light this fact in their presentations on the Open Burning Ground. But the U.S. Army has  a  mission to protect and defend against all enemies foreign and domestic, which someone might want to tell BAE's Michael Chertoff  includes all of the people living here in the New River Valley.

It is with heavy heart that I  report this information about whose toxic waste is being burned at the OBG and put in the Hazardous Waste Incinerators (HWI) was only revealed in response to a direct question. Even then, BAE's spokesperson shamelessly reported that yes, the tenants do pay BAE Systems for this waste disposal, but it is done "at cost." Apparently, the cost to the human beings and other living things here is not part of BAE's calculation.

Why should we be breathing the emissions from the OBG and the two Hazardous Waste Incinerators at RAAP that are being used for the benefit of private companies and BAE corporate profits?

What's more, why can't citizen stakeholders get straight answers to direct questions from officials of our military? Please note the different lists of tenants at RAAP according to the Army's Joint Munitions Command and as reported by them here,  behind door number two. Which tenants of BAE Systems are being allowed to dispose of their toxic waste to the air we breathe? What types of hazardous, toxic, energetic - basically DEADLY waste are they "treating" over there at our expense, as faithfully reported by the Right to Know Network? We have a legal right to know, how often do they burn construction debris from building demolition at the OBG? Does BAE or the U.S. Army anticipate open burning construction debris ever again?

These are not unreasonable questions and would have been submitted in writing if an agenda for the September 5th meeting had been provided. Instead, the optics of the meeting provided a setting for surprise, obfuscation, misleading visual aids and the theatrics of audience participation by microphone.

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