CONGRESSMAN UNDERWOOD: JAPAN AND WAKE ISLAND PCBs NEED TO REMAIN SEPARATE

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CONGRESSMAN ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD Delegate from Guam U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

Press Release October 1, 2002

CONGRESSMAN UNDERWOOD: JAPAN AND WAKE ISLAND PCBs NEED TO REMAIN SEPARATE

Congressman Robert A. Underwood today expressed his strong disagreement to a draft environmental assessment that combines 220,000 pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on Wake Island with 6.8 million pounds of PCBs in Japan in the same rule for purposes of removal and disposal.

The draft EA, released on August 28, proposes to move the PCBs from Japan and combine them with PCBs indefinitely being stored in Wake Island. The waste would then be transported to the U.S. mainland for eventual destruction.

In a letter to Jack Hooper with the Defense Logistics Agency, Underwood said the two locations should be differentiated in this rule-making process, and the 220,000 pounds on Wake Island should be addressed immediately and transported off the island as soon as possible. He added that there be separate rules and disposal plans and schedules for each location.

"As outlined in the draft environmental assessment, removal and destruction of the foreign manufactured PCBs currently stored on Wake island shall take place during Phase II of the project," Underwood wrote. "Wake Island PCBs should be removed to the United States and destroyed as soon as the Toxic Substances and Control Act (TSCA) temporary extension is extended, regardless of when other waste in other areas can be removed."

The PCB waste on Wake Island was initially intended for storage on Guam in 2000, but was successfully diverted by efforts initiated by Underwood. The Congressman is now concerned that one severe weather event could threaten the safety of the waste in storage, thus threatening the health and welfare of everyone in the Pacific.

"Because of the potential risk, I believe that this unwanted PCB waste should be removed and destroyed as soon as possible," the Congressman said. "While the Draft EA indicates that the Wake Island waste contains PCBs at such low concentrations to be non-hazardous, I believe this material does present a more significant danger than is portrayed in the report."

Joseph E. Duenas Special Assistant Office of Congressman Robert A. Underwood, M.C. Guam District Office 120 Father Duenas Ave., Suite 107 Hagåtña, Guam 96910 Phone: (671) 477-4272 Fax: (671) 477-2587

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