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US Fed News

Rep. Serrano Hails Release Of Vieques Report

August 6, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Hindustan Times. All rights reserved.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 -- Rep. Jose E. Serrano, D-N.Y. (16th CD), issued the following press release: This week, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report on the progress of environmental cleanups on Vieques island in Puerto Rico to Rep. José E. Serrano (D-NY). The comprehensive report, produced at Serrano's request, provides a detailed analysis of cleanup and environmental remediation on Vieques and the nearby island of Culebra. CRS is the nonpartisan analytical and research arm of the United States Congress.

"When I asked CRS to do this report, I hoped that it would give us a greater understanding of the ongoing challenges of cleaning up Vieques and Culebra," said Congressman Serrano. "I applaud the thorough job that CRS has done in producing this report, and know that it will be an invaluable tool for Congress, the people of Vieques, and other concerned Americans as we continue to work with the Navy to monitor both the progress of cleanup efforts and the legal processes involved. It is the most comprehensive summary produced to date on this important issue."

The report provides an overview of the major issues involved in the Defense Department's obligations to address environmental and safety concerns that have resulted from several decades of military training exercises on Vieques and Culebra. Over sixty years of use as a Navy bombing range has left Vieques' once-pristine landscape littered with unexploded bombs and artillery shells and saturated with dangerous contaminants. These contaminants, which can have potentially devastating environmental and health impacts on the island's residents, include innumerable hazardous munitions, heavy metals such as lead, and even mildly radioactive depleted uranium.

"Above all, the report highlights the fact that there is still much work to be done," said Serrano. "For my part, I will be working vigorously through the legislative process to address the legal and regulatory obstacles outlined in the report to make sure that we get Vieques and Culebra cleaned up as quickly as possible."


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