The U.S. Army must prove its open-air demolition operations in Herlong, Calif., comply with federal clean air requirements, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said. "That's good news for us,'' said Tribal Chairman Norman Harry. The tribe is a party in a lawsuit against the depot's demolition activities. Critics earlier complained to the EPA that the depot did not comply with federal standards and asked that its permitting process be reopened. The EPA agreed and told Lassen County officials to reopen the permitting process, which they did earlier this month. Under the process, the Army must show its operations are within Clean Air Act provisions. Base officials said open burning of munitions is conducted safely. But critics, including the tribe, say the practice is hazardous to people who live downwind of the base 55 miles northwest of Reno. "The people, agencies and governments should now focus on working together to promote safe, alternative technologies for munitions disposal,'' Harry told the Reno Gazette-Journal. About 28,000 tons of unwanted munitions have been detonated or burned in the open air at the depot every year, the Gazette-Journal reported. In 1995 alone, 53 million pounds of military explosives and 200 rocket motors were detonated or burned, the newspaper said.
Indian Country Today is a nonprofit news organization. Will you support our work?
All of our content is free. There are no subscriptions or costs. And we have hired more Native journalists in the past year than any news organization ─ and with your help we will continue to grow and create career paths for our people. Support Indian Country Today for as little as $10.