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Public Statements

Frank to Meet with Town Officials, EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Discuss Radiological Cleanup Schedule

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FRANK TO MEET WITH TOWN OFFICIALS, EPA AND U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS TO DISCUSS RADIOLOGICAL CLEANUP SCHEDULE

Congressman Barney Frank today announced a public meeting with Norton town officials and representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to discuss the recent discovery of increased radiological waste that will impact the scheduled cleanup at the Shpack Superfund site. The meeting will take place on December 20th, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., at the Norton Public Library and is open to the public and press.

"I am very disappointed with the latest news regarding the need for the Corps to temporarily demobilize at the Shpack Superfund site due to unexpected levels of radiological contamination uncovered during their initial digging," said Frank. "This action underlines the inadequate level of funding for essential environmental projects, and I will do everything in my power to ensure that this cleanup is completed in the shortest time possible."

Continued Frank: "Senators Kennedy and Kerry and I have written to the Corps urging them to provide the increased funding necessary to accomplish this goal. The town of Norton has waited long enough to see the Shpack site cleaned to safe levels, and I will continue to work with the Corps of Engineers and the EPA until that goal is accomplished."

Below is the text of the recent letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

December 9, 2005

Lieutenant General Carl A. Strock
Commander/Chief of Engineers
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
GAO Building, 441 G Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20314

Dear General Strock:

We are writing to urge the Army Corps of Engineers to commit additional funds, if possible in Fiscal Year 2006, and otherwise in Fiscal Year 2007, to ensure the completion of the Corps' work on the Shpack Superfund site in Norton, Massachusetts.

As you know, the Shpack site has been allocated $12 million in FY 2005 and 2006 funds under the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) for removal of radiologically contaminated soil. While that total was initially projected to be sufficient to complete the necessary remediation work, it has now become clear that the contamination is more extensive than originally estimated, and the new clean-up costs are projected to be approximately $32 million. We are by no means critical of this change in estimated costs -- it is certainly not unusual that, in a project of this kind, the scope of the problem would expand once the actual clean-up work begins. Rather, we believe it is essential that, in light of these changed circumstances, the project be provided with an increase in funding sufficient to assure that it can be completed as expeditiously as possible.

It is our understanding that it may be possible to transfer additional FY 06 funds to the project, and we urge that this be done at a level that will permit continued work on the project throughout the Fiscal Year, without any suspension of clean-up work. In addition, with the FY 07 Corps budget still under consideration in Washington, we urge the inclusion in the FY 07 budget proposal of an amount for this project that would be sufficient to complete it. This figure may need to be as high as $20 million, though it can obviously be reduced by an amount equal to any increase in FY 06 funds that is made available.

It is very important to note that Norton is a small town (its population is just over 19,000) without the resources to conduct any extensive clean up on its own. While the residents have waited many years for the site to become usable once again, they have also been active participants in the process of reviewing the remediation options, and we believe they have been very understanding of the various delays that have occurred as the work has moved forward. The process is now at a point where nothing can be gained by suspending or holding up the Corps' portion of the clean-up once it has been initiated. We would add that, even when the FUSRAP portion of the Shpack remediation is complete, the Environmental Protection Agency will be undertaking chemical remediation at the site, meaning that regardless of the precise schedule for this phase of the clean-up, additional time will elapse before the residents of Norton are truly able to take advantage of a restored Shpack site.

We are convinced that, in order to keep faith with Norton's residents, who have been so patient throughout this process, it is vital that the necessary additional FUSRAP funding for the Shpack site remediation be provided at a level and according to a timetable that will avoid any significant stoppages and allow for completion of all the necessary work with Fiscal Year 2007 funds. We urge you to do whatever you can to bring about that result.

Thank you for your attention to these matters. We look forward to your response.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy

Representative Barney Frank

Senator John F. Kerry

http://www.house.gov/frank/shpack2005.html

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