Press Release May 16, 2013
Re: Depleted Uranium in Hawaii
further contact: Jim Albertini 966-7622
Malu ‘Aina Center For Non-violent Education & Action
P.O. Box AB Ola’a (Kurtistown) Hawai’i 96760 Phone 808-966-7622
The Facts about Depleted Uranium (DU) in
The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) draft brochure “The Facts about Depleted Uranium in Hawaii” has come undercriticism, with some constructive suggestions from community and technical resource people. (The DOH draft brochure is attached to this email.) Below is a summary of a community commentary. The full length commentaries from people have been sent directly to the DOH.
Retired Ph.D. Geologist, Michael Reimer, of Kona said “When the length of the commentary exceeds the length of the original document for review, something is wrong.” Doctor Reimer, offered some suggestions to correct some inaccuracies and misleading statements. For example: DOH statement “Depleted uranium has 40% less radioactivity than natural uranium.” Dr. Reimer: “This is misleading. It has 40 percent less radioactivity at the time it is separated but daughters continue to grow and radioactivity increases. In 50 years, the time since the use of DU at PTA, radiation has increased another 20 percent.”
Another example — DOH: “Is the public exposed to DU? It is unlikely that the general public is inhaling small particles of DU.”
Dr. Reimer: “This section might be better titled “How is the public exposed to DU?… How DU is aerosolized becomes the relevant question. At PTA, there are several mechanisms. The most likely is that spotting rounds have become pulverized when explosives strike on or near a spotting round. The aerosol can form mechanically (the shock and friction), physically, (heat and pressure generation), or chemically (conversion to an oxide that is easily friable). DU has been found over 25 miles from its source in a study in New York State. Aerosols move in the wind and once deposited can be resuspended and move again. Very little energy is needed to resuspend the aerosol. Buried DU fragments, more likely to be oxidized, can be aerosolized when struck with an explosive device such as a mortar, howitzer or rocket shell or even vehicular traffic.
Dr. Reimer stated in an earlier section:
“Regarding radiation, one should not ignore the US EPA holding that all unnecessary radiation should be avoided. They base this in the theory that radiation risk is linear related to dose and has no threshold.”
Dr. Reimer said, “As a concluding statement, I do not understand why the Army in cooperation with the Hawai`i Department of Health does not design and conduct a study to resolve the DU issue. There is no need to speculate if DU aerosols are or are not present. Establish adequate measurement protocols and make the measurements. It is clear that the previous measurements of aerosols requested by the Army were insufficient to resolve whether the uranium detected was DU or natural U.
“Engage the active community in this study. Develop a program that will address the transport fate and the distribution, if any, of depleted uranium from PTA. This makes it a win-win-win situation. The Army, the State, and the residents of the Big Island. It is so simple to configure, the costs are moderate, and you will have resolved this issue. Remove this issue from speculation and into reality.”
Others offering comment:
Retired Army MD and MPH Dr. Lorrin W. Pang said: “To bring in new agencies now, like CDC without the publics chance to raise issues with them is not fair…”
In a newly released video entitle “Pohakuloa: Now that you know. Do you care?” which can be viewed at Vimeo.com/163867248 Dr. Pang states: “DU explodes on impact at 3000 degrees, half settles to the ground, half goes into the air –aerosolized uranium. DU in and of itself is not that dangerous. But alpha particle emitters within your body is the most deadly form of radiation of all. It is stopped by your skin,but in your body it will mutate your DNA, more than any other type of radiation.”
…”A lot of people, except the U.S. and UK which have a conflict of interest, consider DU a weapon of mass destruction. Why would you have a guy (the Army) with a conflict of interest, doing his own quality assurance?”
Cory Harden, a member of the Sierra Club said “If DU is so safe, how come the Army doesn’t use it any more (in training)?” An Army spokesperson said it was banned from being used in training since 1996.
Kona resident, Doug Fox said : “Don’t look, don’t find, don’t tell. Uranium is not primarily a gamma emitter (it’s alpha) so that to test a range by helicopter for gamma emission is inadequate methodology. Only one per cent of the site was ever tested by them using the wrong methodology.”
“The DOH statement that “The health effects of uranium are due to its chemical toxicity, rather than radiation” is not true. “Inhaled DU alpha particles are one of the most powerful mutagens known to science.”
DOH said: “It is not known whether uranium is harmful to an unborn child” Fox retorts: “This is willful ignorance. Birth defects have been vividly portrayed in Life magazine showing armless children of US vets exposed to DU munitions smoke.” An “Epidemiological study by Dr. Chris Busby of the UK showed the impact of DU munitions on Fallujah, Iraq was higher than radiation exposures at Hiroshima.”
DOH: “It is unlikely that the general public is inhaling small particles of DU”. Fox: “This is another smokescreen. The truth is it is very likely that travelers through the Mauna Kea State Park area have been exposed in the past. I personally witnessed a big spike in radiation detection from a dust devil coming off the old Range 11 in May 2007. Range 11 is where anti tank penetrator munitions have been tested.”
Doug Rokke Ph.D.; Major, retired/disabled; U.S. Army former Director, U.S. Army Depleted Uranium Project had this to say about the DOH DU draft brochure:
“As the former director of the United States Army Depleted Uranium Project, former 3rd U.S. Army DU team health physicist and team medic during Operation Desert Storm, and confirmed DU casualty I AM UPSET AND HORRIFIED at the amount of misinformation – down-right wrong information contained in your DU fact paper that negates- ignores actual health and environmental effects. .. false information… is required by direct written DOD- Army orders per the 1991 Los Alamos memo ( see http://www.traprockpeace.org/twomemos.html ) in order to sustain the use of uranium weapons while avoiding all liability for the known serious adverse health and environmental effects as were specified in the March 1991 Defense Nuclear agency memo and thousands of pages of other reports.As to radiological measurements-any effective measurement: that is detection and quantification requires very specialized equipment (AN PDR 77 with RPO kit) and techniques that I and my team developed and validated for the US Army during the DU project burn and impact tests. .. once du is released into the environment… it will never be safe at all no matter what is done. THE REGION AND EQUIPMENT- STRUCTURES-TERRAIN- FOOD- WATER – VEGETATION WITHIN THE DANGER ZONE EXTENDING OUT DOZENS OF MILES ACTUALLY HUNDREDS OF MILESREMAIN A HAZARD FOR ETERNITY.”
According to Dr. Rokke, “DOD documents confirm that potential health effects, including: lung cancer, respiratory, eye, skin, and genetic abnormalities. The VA reports DU causing: sleep problems, mood swings, upper or lower respiratory tract symptoms, neuropsychological symptoms (including memory loss), chronic fatigue and immune system dysfunction, skin rashes and unusual hair loss, aching joints, headaches, abdominal pain, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, menstrual disorders, gastrointestinal symptoms, nervous disorders (such as numbness of a limb), multiple chemical sensitivity, birth defects in children whose parents were exposed.”
Points raised by Hawaii peace activist Jim Albertini
1. A New York State DU factory study showed DU dispersed more than 25 miles away.
2. My understanding is the Army was only prohibited from using DU in training in 1996. It was first used at PTA in 1961 according to the Army. What does that tell you? It tells me that if it was not prohibited in training, it was likely used in training. What about other military branches and foreign countries that have trained at PTA?
3. No mention of other possible DU use than Davy Crockett. Cluster bombs and a wide range of other weapons have been used at PTA, many of which may have involved DU.
4. What does the DOH “ambient background surveys” consist — monitor on for 5 minutes once a month?
5. Offer 24 hour urine tests for PTA and DLNR long term workers in or around PTA, Mauna Kea Park, etc.
6 My understanding is The Waiki’i sample did not rule out the presence of DU
7. Less than 1% of PTA has been tested for DU
8. My radiation monitor Digilert-50, picked up 2 spikes of over 30CPM at Mauna Kea park on Sunday 4/28/13 when background readings were between 5-20 for 3 hours. The wind was coming from the south where DU had been confirmed fired approximately 1 mile from Mauna Kea Park.
9. No mention that spotting rounds bombed for 50 years with high explosives likely would burn the DU. If not where are all the large fragments –unaccounted for, missing?
10. No mention of the horrendous health problems of Fallujah Iraq which was heavily bombed with DU by the U.S. Birth defects, cancers, etc.
11. No mention is made of the Saddle Rd as a possible avenue of exposure to DU. For 50 years the old Saddle Rd came within ½ mile of ranges where DU was used. Signs along the old Saddle Rd read “Live Fire Overhead.” The New Saddle Rd. has resulted in increased traffic which risks exposing more people to DU and transporting DU around the island in the same way little fire ants, cocqui frogs, and weed seeds are transported by vehicles.
12. Uranium in urine: I know of 3 Hilo MDs and a naturopathic doctor who have patients with elevated uranium in their urine found by 24 hour urine tests for heavy metals. Recently I asked the PTA commander as an act of good faith to the community to offer 24 hour urine tests to long-term PTA employees to see if any have elevated uranium readings as well. The commander refused. I’ve asked the DOH to offer similar test to state workers at Mauna Kea park and others who work in the area or travel the Saddel Rd regularly. I am still waiting for a response.
13. Has DU been used at Makua military reservation? Kaho’olawe island and other present or former military ranges in Hawaii? What other ranges are being investigated for possible exposure to DU and what is the status of the investigations?
14. In July 2008, the Hawaii County Council, by a vote of 8-1 passed resolution 639-08. That resolution called for the military to take 8 actions to address the potential hazard of DU, including “a complete halt to B-2 bombing missions and to all live-firing exercises and other activities at the Pohakuloa Training Area that create dust until there is an assessment and clean up of the depleted uranium already present.” The seven other actions called for establishing a permanent high tech monitoring system to ensure air quality control; citizen monitoring system to work with the military to assure transparency and community confidence; host quarterly meetings to update and inform the public; ensure permanent funds are available for the monitoring programs; provide a liaison to the County of Hawaii to facilitate communication; provide semiannual reports to the County summarizing DU monitoring , detection, and mitigation efforts; the military shall conduct a search of all records for firing DU at PTA and other Hawaii state military sites and release the information to the public.
To date, it does not appear that any of the actions requested of the military by the Hawaii County Council in July 2008 have been taken by the military. Why?
Additional comments by Hawaii Public Health Doctor/researcher, Carol Murry, DrPH: “the information in the draft brochure concerning the discovery of the use of DU in Hawai’i ignored the fact that the military denied its use for several years. Despite statements that the Department of Health has no responsibility concerning DU, the DOH is responsible for the health of its citizens and, thus, does have a duty to be involved. The areas surrounding the military sites where DU was used are vulnerable to exposure and some of the landhas been leased to the military by the state. It appears that the DOH has shared its monitoring methods and results with the NRC and Army, but not its citizens, leading to mistrust. The section on health effects of DU appears to ignore known health issues and to misstate that the only effect is due to chemical toxicity rather than radiation. The section on studies done in Hawai’i doesn’t address the issues of those working at Pohakuloa, those traveling the saddle Rd, or downwind vs. the general population of the Big Island. The section on exposure discusses dust, soil and sediment testing, but not monitoring radiation in the air. Many will not believe or trust the DOH until it works in partnership with concerned citizens, rather than solely in partnership with the military and the ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry).”
DOH brochure statement: “Given the nature of the spotting rounds, the environmental data indicating a low potential for DU to become airborne, and the distance to populated areas, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry(ATSDR), a federal health agency, concluded that the general population around PTA is not exposed to DU. The Hawaii Department of Health concurs with ATSDR’s conclusion.”
Conclusion of Malu Aina:
ATSDR and the DOH have not presented credible evidence and good science to support the above statement. More research and testing are needed to determine the amount of DU used at Pohakuloa, its dispersal, and possible health impacts to troops, residents, and visitors alike.
Show the community good faith, transparency, credible evidence, good science, respect, and partnership. To date all are lacking.
Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Appeal!
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ms. Kealoha Pisciotta
968-7660 or 443-4396
Mauna Kea advocates are seeking justice in Hawai‘i courts. Six plaintiffs representing community concerns have filed a Notice of Appeal in circuit court challenging the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) April 12th decision to grant the University of Hawai`i at Hilo a conservation district use permit (CDUA) to construct the world’s second largest telescope, the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) atop Mauna Kea. The permit would allow the TMT Corporation to break ground and construct the eighteen story high TMT Observatory on undeveloped and pristine lands within the Mauna Kea conservation district. Plaintiffs include Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, Deborah J. Ward, E. Kalani-Flores and B. Pualani Case of the Flores-Case Ohana, Clarence Kukauakahi Ching, and Kumu hula, Paul K. Neves.
Plaintiffs were pro se (they had no lawyer representing them during the contested case); now Mr. Richard Naiwieha Wurdeman a Native Hawaiian attorney based in Honolulu, will be representing them on appeal to the state circuit court.
Plaintiffs’ Notice of Appeal was filed Monday states that the BLNR
“The questions before the court, in short, are whether BLNR rules permit more development, and particularly development that has an adverse and significant impact on the land and waters of Mauna Kea”, said Ms. Pisciotta, President of Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, a Native Hawaiian Organization dedicated to protecting and preserving Native Hawaiian traditional and customary practices of Mauna Kea. “The UH itself admits that the TMT will have an adverse, significant and substantial impact on the cultural and natural resources of Mauna Kea. The BLNR rules are clear,” she said, “a development project may not have negative impacts on Mauna Kea—so the BLNR should have denied the permit—instead of approving it, and this is why we must seek justice in the courts.”
“We continue to educate Hawai`i’s people and the public abroad, that Mauna Kea is not just a high elevation place on earth, it is most sacred of places. Our case is about the necessity of having respect for Hawaiian spirituality…that spirituality is the cornerstone of the Hawaiian way. We cannot just speak of practice – we must continue to practice if we are to continue to exist” said Kumu hula Mr. Neves
Ms. Ward commented, “construction of a structure larger than all the others combined, in an open space area, where no other observatory exists today, will negatively affect the geology, the viewplanes, and the natural beauty, cultural, and recreational resources of Mauna Kea. The TMT project area, (including the Observatory site and Access Way), would destroy and disturb over 8.7 acres of Wekiu bug habitat, as well as kill Wekiu bugs in these areas. The loss, degradation, and reduction of Wekiu bug habitat on the summit of Mauna Kea is the result of astronomy development, and more development could lead to the introduction of new invasive species into the unique ecosystem. This not good for Hawai`i we hope the courts will help Mauna Kea.”
“It is unfortunate when public citizens are forced to go through court proceedings when developments such as the TMT Project are systematically granted permits by the BLNR despite these projects not meeting the criteria as outlined in Hawai`i State law.” stated E. Kalani Flores of the Flores-Case Ohana. “How can the proposed TMT Observatory that would be over 18-stories high and the TALLEST building on Hawai`i Island satisfy the criteria? It can’t! Thus, we must proceed ahead and be idle no more because Mauna a Wakea is still sacred, commented B. Pualani Case of the Flores-CaseOhana.
as “Violent Terrorists” for
Greg Boertje-Obed, 57, a married carpenter who has a college age daughter, is an Army veteran and lives at a Catholic Worker house in Duluth Minnesota. Sr. Megan Rice, 82, has been a Catholic sister of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus for over sixty years. Michael Walli, 63, a two-term Vietnam veteran turned peacemaker, lives at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker house in Washington DC.
They entered the grounds of the U.S. nuclear weapons production facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, called the Fort Knox of the nuclear weapons industry, where the U.S. stores hundreds of metric tons of highly enriched uranium and works on every single one ($7.2 trillion dollars worth) of the thousands of nuclear weapons maintained by the U.S. Describing themselves as the Transform Now Plowshares, the three acted to symbolically disarm the weapons. Their intent was to follow the words of Isaiah 2:4: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” They cut through three fences, hung up peace banners, spray-painted peace slogans on the exterior of a nuclear weapons building, prayed, sang songs and waited peacefully to be arrested.
Originally charged with trespass, the U.S. government kept expanding the charges to eventually include “intending to injure, interfere with, or obstruct the national defense of the United States and willful damage of national security premises in violation of 18 US Code 2155, punishable with up to 20 years in prison.” The peace activists were prohibited from presenting any evidence regarding the illegality of nuclear weapons, the immorality of nuclear weapons, international law, or religious, moral or political beliefs regarding nuclear weapons, the Nuremberg principles developed after WWII, First Amendment protections, necessity or US policy regarding nuclear weapons. The three peace activists were convicted in early May in a Knoxville courtroom and are in jail awaiting sentencing Sept. 23, 2013. For more information on this case see http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/05/15-7
What has become of the U.S.?
Have U.S. citizens become like WWII “Good Germans” supporting “the Fatherland” and jailing those who protest the crimes of their government?
1. Mourn all victims of violence. 2. Reject war as a solution. 3. Defend civil liberties. 4. Oppose all discrimination, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, anti-Hawaiian, etc.
5. Seek peace through justice in Hawai`i and around the world.
Malu `Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box AB Kurtistown, Hawai`i 96760.
Phone(808) 966-7622. Emailja@malu-aina.org http://www.malu-aina.org
Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet (May 17, 2013– 608th week) – Friday 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office
Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action
May 14, 2013
Hawaii County Council
Strongly opposes Bill 78 –cutting off county geothermal relocation funds and taking those funds for other reasons
Our organization strongly opposes Bill 78 – cutting off county geothermal relocation funds and taking those funds for other purposes.
This county should not cut off people that could need to relocate when the next accident happens at PGV. The county and state is in a mess with geothermal caused because Kanaka Maoli spiritual beliefs about Pele, an Hawaiian deity, have not been respected. Drilling into Pele is sacrilegious. In addition, poor county and state land use decisions were made for financial interest of geothermal companies over the health and safety concerns of residents. This is true from the get go of HGPA planned 1 month open venting, geothermal prospecting in the Wao O Kele Rainforest, and the reopening of a PGV damaged blowout well KS8 that experts said should never have been be reopened. The county allowed that well to be reopened for the financial benefit of PGV and again the people around that plant suffered when the well failed for a 2nd time before being permanently shut in. The list of geothermal horrors is ongoing.
Over the history of geothermal development in Hawaii, the lack of proper regulation and monitoring by the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) and other state and county agencies have been shameful. And the legislature has now compounded the problems by allowing further geothermal exploration and development virtually anywhere. Hawaii is headed toward major upheaval over geothermal expansion that could surpass the hundreds of arrests and legal action it took to stop geothermal industrial development in Hawaii’s last intact lowland rainforest and the seedbed for new lava flows. Hawaiian spiritual beliefs, people’s basic civil rights and the environment are being trashed by geothermal profiteers greed.
Please leave resident relocation funding in place until all geothermal is shut down and Ormat (PGV’s parent company) is relocated back to its home base of Israel where its windfall profits have been going from the rape of Pele and the poisoning of the people and land of Puna for far too long. There are better, safer, and more respectful alternatives than geothermal for our energy needs. Mahalo.
Jim Albertini, President