Citizens Ask For Regulation of Radford Arsenal

Citizens for Arsenal Accountability (CAA), chapter of Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) issued a letter detailing expectations of more stringent regulation, citizen protections, and testing of the Radford Arsenal Ammunition Plant. The letter, sent to Governor McAuliffe, DEQ Director David Paylor, State Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and other representatives, stated “As citizens of the United States, paying tax dollars for the arsenal, we express deep concerns about how our arsenal is affecting our environment and our community’s health and well-being.”

Michael James-Deramo, community organizer with Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League stated, “Our area has some of the highest rates of thyroid cancer, and children at Bellview Elementary, a mile from the Arsenal, have some of the highest blood lead levels in the country. The Arsenal burns chemicals that could, potentially, be the cause while maintaining a history of violations and lack of self reporting. It is past time our regulatory bodies took a heavy handed approach and perform the testing needed to determine the Arsenals influence on our communities health.”

Justin Haber, chair of Citizens for Arsenal Accountability, stated “Open burning is the most outdated and harmful way to dispose of waste. In a society where we are considered to be the leader of technology, it is shameful that we still allow this practice to occur.”

The letter stated the importance of jobs brought to the area by RFAAP noting it had no intention of disrupting them. “We reject any insinuation that the citizens of southwest Virginia must choose between clean air, water, and health and our national security and economic stability.” The letter states. “Citizens of Southwest Virginia have the right to not have their health sacrificed for a perceived greater good as part of their right to life, liberty, and happiness.”

Citizens for Arsenal Accountability was founded April of 2017 functioning as collaboration of students and community members in a shared goal of holding the Radford Arsenal Accountable. The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, founded in 1984, is a regional, community-based, non-profit environmental organization with chapters and projects in six states.The founding principles are earth stewardship, environmental democracy, social justice and community empowerment.