From: "local stuffs list" blog:
Next step in depleted uranium removal a challenge
by Bret Yager Stephens, Tuesday, November 6, 2007 8:34 AM HST
Taking the next step to clean up depleted uranium at Pohakuloa Training Area promises to be challenging in terrain littered with small unexplodedbombs called "dual purpose improved conventional munitions."
Pohakuloa is a rough, dynamic terrain, full of lava fractures -- unlikelevel ground at Schofield Barracks where crews have been able to walk theground with radiation detectors. The unexploded ordnance doesn't haveanything to do with the depleted uranium in question, but it makes theimpact zone hazardous enough that humans aren't allowed to set foot there,U.S. Army officials said.
"The biggest issue is that we have to come up with the technologicalsolution to do the characterization. We're probably going to have to use ahelicopter and come up with an aerial surveying technique," said Col.Howard Killian, deputy commander for Installation Management Command inthe Pacific region and former Army Garrison Hawaii commander.
Despite the challenges, the Army expects to complete a study of DU-contaminated sites and have a report out by next summer.
Contractors for the Army completed scoping surveys this summer, confirmingthe contaminant existance at Pohakuloa and that depleted uranium was firedthrough an obsolete weapons system in the 1960s. The next step --- calleda "characterization survey" -- aims to provide answers about how much DUis at the training area, where it's located and how to get rid of it.
The Army has located four sites where they believe the DU spotter roundswere fired, and four associated impact areas where the rounds would havelanded.
"Based on the location of the pistons that were fired and fell off, wedrew a line back from the pistons," Killian said. "Out on the ground, it'spretty obvious where you would set up."
Killian said there may be more sites, but that won't be known for sureuntil the characterization assessment is complete.
Russell Takata, radiation manager for the Hawaii Department of Health,said the impact areas are finite and the DU is not scattered across thetraining area.
"There's some misinformation going around that it's all over Pohakuloa,"he said.
Takata, who is the Health Department's liaison on the Pohakuloa DUcleanup, said recent characterization surveys of Schofield Barracks shouldyield a health risk report by January or February. Scientists will examinedose and toxicity findings, plus the likelihood of material being carriedin air or water, to create an assessment of the material's risk to humans.
Killian, Takata, State Rep. Cindy Evans, D-Kona, Kohala, and depleteduranium expert Col. Mark Melanson of Walter Reed Medical Center willupdate the public on DU cleanup efforts around the islands and takequestions during public meetings set for Nov. 16-18 in West Hawaii.Killian said the Army will be passing out a booklet detailing the Army'sstrategy for dealing with the DU, answers to frequently asked questions,Web links and points of contact.
Evans, who is chairwoman of the House Committee on Public Safety andMilitary Affairs, met with military officials at the Pentagon in June.
"I told the military if they avoided the issue, people would ask the stateto come down hard," Evans said. "I explained they really needed to meetwith the public and tell us what's going on."
"People just want to know," Evans said. "There's enough information outthere on DU to raise concerns. Now we need to know what they're going todo."
Evans said she'd like to hear a commitment from the Army that it will notuse depleted uranium in any weapons system fired at Pohakuloa in thefuture.
Killian said test results from Pohakuloa dust are expected around themiddle of this month. The Army took 800 samples from seven locations aspart of an environmental impact assessment for the positioning of the 5th Stryker Brigade. The samples were gathered over the past year to see ifdust was exceeding clean air standards.
Since it already had the samples, Killian said the Army decided to testthem for DU as well.
The Army also plans to set up real-time air monitoring that will allow thepublic to do its own monitoring of airborne radiation levels, Killiansaid.
The training area has been quiet lately.
"We don't expect to see a lot of training until next spring," Killiansaid.
He stressed that radiation managers from the mainland have been brought into provide extra oversight and that the State Department of Health has metwith local National Guardsmen to answers questions about DU.
"We're addressing this as a community issue," he said. "It's a difficultissue and we know there's a lot of conflicting information."
=====Gabrielle Welford, Ph.D. freelance writer, editor
How does this related to HSF? The following are the original resolution bills voted on by the HI Legislature that mention using HSF for troop movement between Oahu and the Big Island. The resolutions passed unanimously, without knowledgeable discussion on HSF, Depleted Uranium, Pohakuloa, nor Stryker Brigades:
TWENTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2004
STATE OF HAWAII
EXPRESSING SUPPORT FOR HAWAII SUPERFERRY, INC. AND REQUESTING EXPEDITIOUS ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESSING OF NECESSARY PERMITS.
WHEREAS, Hawaii is the world’s only major island archipelago without an interisland ferry system; and
WHEREAS, the Hawaiian market is ideal for fast vehicle and passenger ferries with its 1.3 million residents, 7 million tourists annually and the world’s highest ratio of vehicle-to-population; and
WHEREAS, Hawaii Superferry, Inc. plans to introduce fast, low cost interisland roll-on/roll-off passenger and freight ferry service within the Hawaiian islands in 2006; and
WHEREAS, the fast ferry vessels planned to be used by Hawaii Superferry, Inc. have a proven record throughout the world in transportation, medical evacuation, provision of food, water, shelter, and other civil defense support in times of natural disasters and disruptions in transportation systems; and
WHEREAS, current technology hybrid catamarans have replaced other technologies throughout the world as the vessel of choice for fast short-distance ocean travel, and have over 15 years of proven ocean-going service; and
WHEREAS, the proposed interisland vehicle and passenger ferries will stimulate the Hawaii economy through the creation of approximately 1,000 jobs, increase the annual state gross domestic product by up to $1 billion, lower the cost of living for residents, and reduce the reliance of residents on a single mode of transportation; and
WHEREAS, there is currently available in excess of $25 million of federal funds for the development of ferry infrastructure specifically for the State of Hawaii; and
WHEREAS, the State of Hawaii has built a ferry terminal on Oahu using federal funds specifically for the development of ferry infrastructure; and
WHEREAS, interisland family travel, such as visiting friends and relatives, has become very costly, and as a result, less frequent; and
WHEREAS, a ten year study by the United States Department of Transportation on the impact of Southwest Airlines, the leading low-cost airline in the United States, on 160 domestic city-pairs shows that demand doubles when airfares are reduced by 43 percent; and
WHEREAS, the proposed pricing of the interisland fast ferry will make interisland family travel more affordable and more frequent; and
WHEREAS, Oahu-based Army and Marine Corps requirements for Big Island training is increasing and the fast ferry service will allow increased training at a lower cost and improve the readiness of our troops; and
WHEREAS, the vessels that will be used by Hawaii Superferry, Inc. are environmentally-friendly; and
WHEREAS, the Hawaii Superferry, Inc. vessels will use the cleanest and most energy-efficient marine engines in the world and will exceed the strict new 2007 EPA emissions requirements and burn fuel 100 times cleaner than conventional ships; and
WHEREAS, the Hawaii Superferry, Inc. vessels will have holding tanks that will contain 100 percent of the wastewater which will be pumped into the sewage system in Honolulu for processing and will have ultra-low-flow vacuum toilets and other water-conserving devices; and
WHEREAS, the Hawaii Superferry, Inc. whale avoidance policy is 500 percent stricter than required by the National Humpback Whale Sanctuary with routes concentrated in deep waters where less than 1 percent of whales congregate; its routes are changed during whale seasons; and dedicated whale lookouts and technology are used to avoid the few whales in the deep waters; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-second Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2004, that the Legislature supports the efforts of Hawaii Superferry, Inc. to establish an inter-island fast ferry service; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Transportation is requested to assist in the expeditious planning and implementation of the fast ferry service; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Public Utilities Commission is requested to expeditiously process any required certification of Hawaii Superferry, Inc.; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the U.S. Maritime Administration is respectfully requested to expeditiously process Hawaii Superferry, Inc.'s application for a Title XI guarantee commitment for the construction and permanent financing of the fast ferry vessels; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Hawaii’s congressional delegation is urged to request the U.S. Maritime Administration to expeditiously consider Hawaii Superferry, Inc.’s application for a Title XI guarantee commitment for the construction and permanent financing of the fast ferry vessels; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Director of Transportation, the chair of the Public Utilities Commission, the Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation, and the members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation.