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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
THE HARTFORD COURANT
Vieques Bombing Could Produce Toxic Clouds
June 25, 2000
The Courant has reported that the U.S. Navy will resume training in Vieques and that more than 1,000 bombs and shells will be fired on this Puerto Rican island during the maneuvers [news brief, June 19, " Vieques Bombing Set To Resume"].
In trying to downplay the harmful effects of these military practices, the Clinton administration has announced that only inert bombs will be used. Unfortunately, by allowing the resumption of bombing, the president has chosen to ignore the serious health and ecological damage that inert bombs will have on Vieques and its people.
The real danger should not be minimized. It has been demonstrated by the armed forces' own studies that dropping inert bombs on contaminated terrain raises clouds of toxic materials that are then carried by the wind up to 25 miles away.
In Vieques , the terrain is heavily contaminated with toxins as a result of 60 years of Navy bombings. The winds on Vieques are strong and blow from east to west.
Clouds of toxic and radioactive materials raised by the impact from inert bombs can fall on the civilian population, causing major health and ecological damage.
Ivan A. Ramos