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   Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county
Army plans to burn unexploded ordinance at Fort Ord
by Vienna Merritt Moore

A group called “Say No to Fort Ord Toxic Burnings!” is asking for a full Environmental Impact Statement because of its concern about health issues raised by the planned burning of unexploded ordinance at Fort Ord. The just-released less extensive Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study does not address public health concerns and is not considered adequate by the group.

Burning vegetation without any contaminants can harm asthma sufferers and those with impaired breathing. It is not clear what the health impact will be of the burning of tons of ammunition, grenades and rockets with warheads that detonate in the flames. Toxic chemicals such as dioxins, furans, heavy metals and other hazardous wastes will be released and carried downwind. The health effects of this action have not been studied even though these chemicals are known to cause illness, cancers and birth defects.

An August 25, 1997 controlled 32-acre burn at the former base went out of control eventually scorching 700 acres. Firefighters had to be pulled back because burning explosives flew over intended fire boundaries. The resulting thick plume of dark smoke extended past Chualar, some 15 miles from the burn location. Spreckles school children had to be kept in during recess.

The Army plans to ignite tens of square miles on the base in the near future. Mechanical vegetation clearing is a viable alternative.

For more information contact Vienna Merritt Moore, Say No to Fort Ord Toxic Burnings! at, phone: 384-7658.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Ventana Chapter has not taken a position on the EIS pending its study of the outcome of the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District lawsuit.

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