PO Box 10265, Hilo, Hawai’i 96721
For immediate release
February 24, 2010, Hilo, Hawai’i
DEPLETED URANIUM HEARING DENIED
Petitioners challenging an Army application for a license to possess depleted uranium (DU) expressed disappointment after the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) ruled that the petitioners lack standing.
The petitioners are Jim Albertini of Malu Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action, Cory Harden, and Isaac Harp, all from Hawai’i Island, and Luwella Leonardi of O’ahu.
The petitioners questioned the Army’s assessment of hazards from DU spotting rounds found in Hawai’i. The Army denied having DU in Hawai’i until 2006, when citizen groups announced they had obtained Army e-mails reporting the 2005 discovery of DU spotting rounds at Schofield Barracks on the island of O’ahu. The spotting rounds were part of a classified Davy Crockett weapon system used in the 1960s. The Army acknowledged the find, and later found more spotting rounds at Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) on Hawai‘i Island. The rounds were also distributed to twelve other states and three foreign countries in the 1960s. The Army says worldwide it had about 75,000 rounds, each about eight inches long and containing about six and a half ounces of DU alloy.
Albertini, Harden, and Harp said Army searches, reports, and air monitoring plans for DU at Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) on Hawai’i Island are inadequate, so airborne DU from live-fire and dummy bombs impacting undiscovered spotting rounds may go undetected. They noted that the same concerns were expressed by several professionals: Dr. Mike Reimer, a geologist, and Dr. Marshall Blann, a consultant to Los Alamos National Laboratory, both from Kona; and Dr. Lorrin Pang from Maui, a former Army doctor who is a consultant to the World Health Organization.
Albertini and Harden called for a search of classified and unclassified records by all military forces in Hawai’i for other forgotten radioactive hazards.
Albertini called for independent testing and for investigation of reports that animals from the PTA area have tumors. He said the Army has ignored Hawai‘i County Council resolutions concerning DU.
Albertini and Harp called for a halt to live-fire and other activities that might disperse dust at PTA, and questioned whether the Army has disclosed the full extent of its DU use in Hawai’i
Harp expressed concern about high rates of cancer and of a rare neurological disease on Hawai‘i Island.
Leonardi said the Army dug up and trucked out DU-contaminated soil at Schofield, but the Army said the soil was uncontaminated.
“I’m somewhat encouraged by two things–NRC agrees there may be more DU than the Army claims, and NRC wants a ban on high-explosive munitions in DU areas written into the license,” said Harden.
Albertini said, “PTA should be “shut down…cleaned up and returned to its rightful owners–the independent nation of Hawai’i.” He added, “We are all downwind.“
Harp, a Native Hawaiian, said, “The time has come for the United States to clean up their messes, repair their damages, and de-occupy our country,” and added, “It is the Army that has no standing here.”
Press Release Feb. 24, 2010
Re: Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) denies request of Island residents for a hearing challenging the Army’s request for a license to possess DU radiation
further contact: Jim Albertini 966-7622
Jim Albertini, one of four Hawaii residents challenging the Army’s request for a license to possess Depleted uranium (DU) radiation at Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) and Schofield Barracks said “the NRC’s order denying us a hearing is not surprising. The NRC has never denied a license request. The NRC appears to be a rubber stamp for the military and the nuclear industry, much like the so-called Bank regulators are a rubber stamp for the Wall St. Banksters ongoing criminal enterprise. The deck is stacked against the citizen and taxpayer in challenging policies that favor special interests. The heart of the issue is ignored and the case is reduced to using procedural legal technicalities to deny citizens their rights and their voice. Legal bureaucrats in Rockville, Maryland , paid with our tax dollars, have determined that we who live here in Hawaii have no standing to challenge the military poisoning of our island home with radiation. What kind of justice, freedom and democracy is that?”
Albertini said “In plain language a military license to possess DU in the heart of our island is a license for a nuclear waste dump. The state of Hawaii (BLNR) that leases land to the military on its 133,000 acre PTA base for 65 years for a total of $1.00 should cancel the lease. We need to malama the aina not abuse it.”