Moving Forward on Open Waste Burning

The permit that enables the Radford Army Ammunitions Plant to burn toxic waste from guns outdoors is up for renewal. Community activists see a chance to address environmental and health concerns regarding the burning — and say regulators see a opportunity to explore new technology to solve an old issue.

“Is there anything we can post to get more people involved? Yes, petitions, a letter campaign… When the EPA was pushed into the wall in Louisiana, they stated ‘Uncle. ’ We need you Senator Kaine and you Senator Warner to perform precisely what Senator Vitter did in Louisiana and write into the EPA and inquire ‘How is this not a breach of the clean air act? ’”

Devawn Oberlender is seeking to have a pager in the book of a far away city, where citizen protestors succeeded in quitting outside burning explosives of arms and weapons waste in the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant.

“The opportunity that we have right now only comes up very ten decades, because the permit is good for ten decades, so what we will need to replicate is what they did in north western Louisiana in Camp Minden.

There they formed a”Stop the Burn” motion that ultimately brought together elected officials, local and state regulators and the army for a plan to provide up open burning and utilize a contemporary indoor incinerator to eliminate the toxic materials. Now, together with the open burning permit at the Radford Arsenal up for renewal, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is investigating that thought for the first time.

“We have not reached any conclusions yet but this is something that will be looked at as we proceed. We’ve asked the Arsenal to produce alternatives to open burning and we do expect to have some choices that go beyond the idea of just burning it the open”

“This is what we fought for here in camp Minden. And yes it included another 15million dollars and almost doubled the price of the contract but that was something that, the EPA was willing to really go to bat for us . So I am grateful that the people in the EPA and from the state worked together here and they worked together with the Army as well to find the extra money. And we’re quite satisfied here that this alternative — that, in the beginning of this we didn’t know all the details of what these modern incinerators can perform. We’re quite confident here that this will do the job and the amount of material that’s going to be released complete is going to be on the order of tens of grams rather than tons of these emissions. ”

A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 3, which includes Virginia, stated it couldn’t comment on the possibility of incinerators such as that being adopted at the Radford website, but a spokesperson for BAE Systems, the contractor in charge of the arsenal, supported it is”looking for workable alternatives to its existing methods of waste disposal”

The section of Environmental Quality has asked BAE to run an environmental impact study on its present open burning practice. William Hayden says it’s the first time DEQ has asked for you.

“Since we’re getting in to an issue that has generated a great deal of public interest from the Radford area we knew that the more information we had, the better. People from the public have been asking for us info; they have been asking Radford (the arsenal) for advice. ”

And one of them is Oberlender that says,”We have been burning waste out there, open it because 1941. You know, it’s not going away.”

And are the ecological patriots of the new river valley. Taking another page in the story of Camp Minden Louisiana’s successful effort to receive its outside burning moved inside. They’re scheduling meetings with federal and state officials to keep the pressure on. The first is this Friday using U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith who sits on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has oversight of the EPA. The group is seeking to generate a national issue from one that has for so long been local and one of the few places where open burning of toxic waste from explosives remains permitted.

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