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Mrs. NORTON. Thank you very much, Madam Chair. I appreciate that our Chair, Connie Morella, has been willing to schedule this hearing before the August recess, and her willingness to call further hearings on toxic contamination in our Spring Valley community in the future, as appropriate.

When I listed Spring Valley in a letter containing a priority list for hearings at the beginning of the session, I believe that the matter ranked high in the need for oversight to get greater focus on the health effects on residents and to assure a more rapid cleanup so that residents could resume normal lives in their beautiful, tranquil community.

Recently, however, the plot has thickened. An investigation by the Washington Post revealed that the Army and/or Environmental Protection Agency and perhaps others may have suppressed information or, worse, analysis and audits concerning toxic waste may have failed to investigate evidence of risk to residents from toxic residue that they knew of and may have missed the presence of contaminants because of incompetence in at least some of the soil testing that was done.

Understanding who knew what and when, of course, is an indispensable component of our investigation. However, the most important contribution this subcommittee can make at this time is to identify and eliminate health risks to the community and to ensure that the remediation being undertaken now by the Army will remove all remaining toxins from Spring Valley rapidly and professionally.

Part of the problem in Spring Valley has been that the agencies involved have been investigating and monitoring themselves and have been accountable to no one else. It is our obligation to investigate these allegations fairly and openly. However, the ad hoc way in which the facts have tumbled out, I believe, warrants an even deeper investigation than our hearings can provide.

In addition to our own subcommittee work, I'm asking our Chair, Mrs. Morella, to join me in requesting an investigation by the General Accounting Office of exactly what occurred in Spring Valley and other D.C. neighborhoods—who was responsible, what levels of toxicity remain, what would constitute adequate remediation, what the health risks are and to whom, how the health risks may be eliminated permanently, and what violations of law may be raised.

I have gone into the Spring Valley community on several occasions and have always been assured by the Army Corps of Engineers that the matter was close to resolution.

The continuing uncertainty surrounding the entire Spring Valley controversy has been nothing short of cruel. Some residents do not know if illnesses they and their families have acquired are the result of the presence of toxins. Other residents fear that they or their children will become ill. The very least the government must do now is to eliminate as much uncertainty concerning health risks as possible, and in appropriate cases, compensate individual victims.

The community at large is owed a clean bill of health that no one can give at this time, nor am I sure that other neighborhoods in the district are free of toxic munitions and chemicals, particularly given the way we discovered these toxins, by accident, by exca

a

vation when people were building homes. The Congress denied District residents their own municipal government for 100 years until 1974. If private parties could be persuaded to allow land to be used for weapons testing, there is no telling what might have occurred in neighborhoods near Federal land when the District of Columbia was little more than a Federal fiefdom.

We need to know if other neighborhoods are contaminated now. Spring Valley is only one of thousands of similar sites across the Nation. The Spring Valley experience has led me to become an original cosponsor of the Ordnance and Explosive Risk Management Act, which requires the Department of Defense to establish a single point of contact for policy and budgeting issues related to former military sites, creates an inventory of explosive risk sites, sets up a separate account for removal and cleanup of munitions, requires enhanced security at military sites and public awareness of the dangers at those sites, and creates an independent oversight panel.

For now, the subcommittee must give the most concentrated focus and attention to Spring Valley and its residents for the assistance we can render them and for what their experience can teach us for the rest of the country.

It would be wrong to rewrite history based on today's science. It is equally wrong to learn by accident of toxic wastes near where people live or work. Today's science must be brought to bear to make up for mistakes the government may not have known it was making after World War I.

Today's mistakes in dealing with these wastes make the government culpable, however. Therefore, let us work together to accelerate remediation through a full and competent cleanup that includes independent verification that both toxic wastes and health risks have been eliminated.

I welcome all of today's witnesses and I look forward to their testimony.

Thank you, Madam Chair.
Mrs. MORELLA. Thank you very much, Congresswoman Norton.

[The prepared statement of Hon. Eleanor Holmes Norton follows:)

[blocks in formation]

Opening Statement of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
D.C. Subcommittee Hearing on "Spring Valley - Toxic Waste Contamination in the

Nation's Capital"

July 27, 2001

I appreciate that our chair, Comic Morella, has been willing to schedule this hearing before the August recess and her willingness to call further hearings on toxic contamination in our Spring Valley community in the future as appropriate. When I listed Spring Valley in a letter containing a priority list for hearings at the beginning of the session, I believed that the matter ranked high in the need for oversight to get greater focus on the health effects on residents, and to assure a more rapid clean up so that residents could resume normal lives in their beautiful, tranquil neighborhood.

Recently, however, the plot has thickened. An investigation by the Washington Post
revealed that the Army and/or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may have suppressed
information, or worse, analyses and audits concerning toxic waste, may have failed to investigate
evidence of risks to residents from toxic residue that they knew of, and may have missed the
presence of contaminants because of incompetence in at least some of the soil testing that was
done. Understanding who knew what and when of course is an indispensable component to our
investigation. However, the most important contribution this subcommittee can make at this
time is to identify and eliminate health risks to the community and to ensure that the remediation
being undertaken now by the Amy will remove all remaining toxins from Spring Valley rapidly
and professionally.

Part of the problem in Spring Valley has been that the agencies involved have been investigating and monitoring themselves and have been accountable to no one else. It is our obligation to investigate these allegations fairly and openly. However, the ad hoc way in which the facts have tumbled out, I believe, warrants an even deeper investigation than our hearings can provide. Therefore, in addition to our own subcommittee work, I am asking our chair, Ms. Morella, to join me in requesting an investigation by the General Accounting Office (GAO) of exactly what occurred in Spring Valley and other D.C. neighborhoods, who was responsible, what levels of toxicity remain, what would constitute adequate remediation, what the health risks are and to whom, how the health risks may be eliminalca, and what violations of law may be raised.

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Suns 300 WASHINGTON, D.C. 20020-6734

(202) ore 1500 (200) M (FAX)

I have gone into the Spring Valley community on several occasions and have always been assured by the Army Corps of Engineers that the matter was close to resolution. The continuing uncertainty surrounding the entire Spring Valley controversy has been nothing short of cruel. Some residents do not know if illnesses they and their farailies have acquired are the result of the presence of toxins. Other residents fear that they or their children will become ill. The very least the government must do is to eliminate as much uncertainty concerning health risks as possible and, in appropriate cascs, compensate individual victims.

The community at large is owed a clean bill of health that no one can give at this time. Nor am I sure that other neighborhoods in the District are free of toxic munitions and chemicals. The Congress denied District residents their own municipal government for a hundred years until 1974. If private parties could be persuaded to allow land to be used for weapons testing, there is no telling what might have occurred in neighborhoods near federal land when the District of Columbia was little more than a federal fiefdom. We need to know if other neighborhoods are contaminated now.

Spring Valley is only one of the thousands of similar sites across the nation. The Spring Valley experience has led me to become an original cosponsor of the Ordnance and Explosive Risk Management Act, which requires the Department of Defense to establish a single point of contact for policy and budgeting issues related to former military sites; creates an inventory of explosive risk sitos; sets up a separate account for removal and clean up of munitions; requires enhanced security at military sites and public awareness of the dangers at those sites; and creates an independent oversight panel. For now our subcommittee must give the most concentrated focus and attention to Spring Valley and its residents for the assistance we can render them and for what their experience can teach us for the rest of the country.

It would be wrong to rewrite history based on today's science. It is equally wrong to learn by accident of toxic wastes near where people live or work. Today's science must be brought to bear to make up for mistakes the government may not bave known it was making after World Wal. Today's mistakes in dealing with those wastes make the government culpable, however. Therefore let us all work together to accelerate remediation through a full, competent and complete clean up that includes independent verification that both toxic waste and health risks have been eliminated, I welcome all of today's witnesses and look forward to their testimony.

Mrs. MORELLA. I'm now going to ask the first panel to come forward. I note that Dr. Walks has not joined us yet, nor has Mr. Gordon nor Dr. Albright. So Dr. Bailus Walker, Jr., Sarah Stowell Shapley, William Harrop, and Edward J. Miller, Jr.

Before you get comfortable, I'm going to ask you if you would stand so I can administer the oath to you. If you would raise your right hands. İWitnesses sworn.] Mrs. MORELLA. The record will note an affirmative response.

Welcome. Thank you for coming. Again, as I had stated initially, if you would be kind enough to confine your testimony to not exceed 5 minutes, knowing that it is in its entirety, your testimony will be in the record, because we want to have an opportunity to ask some questions and because we have two other panels.

So if you don't mind starting off earlier than you thought you would, Dr. Bailus Walker, chairman of the District of Columbia Mayor's Spring Valley Scientific Advisory Panel, we're delighted to recognize you.

STATEMENTS OF IVAN C.A. WALKS, M.D., CHIEF HEALTH OFFI

CER OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ACCOMPANIED BY THEODORE J. GORDON, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, D.C. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH; AND DR. RICHARD D. ALBRIGHT, JD, MS, ENVIRONMENTAL SPECIALIST/ORDNANCE & CHEMI. CAL WEAPONS EXPERT, D.C. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH; DR. BAILUS WALKER, JR., CHAIRMAN, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA MAYOR'S SPRING VALLEY SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY PANEL; SARAH STOWELL SHAPLEY, CO-CHAIR, SPRING VALLEY RESTORATION ADVISORY BOARD; WILLIAM C. HARROP, PRESIDENT, SPRING VALLEY-WESLEY HEIGHTS CITIZENS ASSOCLATION; AND EDWARD J. MILLER, JR., PRESIDENT, W.C. AND A.N. MILLER DEVELOPMENT CO.

Mr. BAILUS WALKER. Thank you, Chairwoman Morella and Ranking Member Norton and distinguished Members. I'm Bailus Walker, chairman of the District of Columbia Mayor's Spring Valley Scientific Advisory Panel, and I am professor of environmental occupation medicine at Howard University College of Medicine, and I appreciate the invitation to participate in the subcommittee's effort to determine a range of factors regarding chemical contamination in the Spring Valley community.

My comments will focus on findings, recommendations of the scientific advisory panel, which was appointed by the Mayor earlier this year in response to environmental and health concerns of the Spring Valley residents. And the panel was chosen for their technical expertise in toxicology and epidemiology, environmental occupation health sciences and soil analysis; and the panel included two residents from the Spring Valley community who are knowledgeable of the community. The Mayor charged the panel to review the processes and procedures under way regarding the identified and measured contaminants in the Spring Valley neighborhood, and the Mayor also charged us to assure that the best available scientific knowledge is applied in seeking answers to the residents' questions.

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