US Congressional Switchboard -- (202) 224-3121
Senator Maria Cantwell -- (go to her Web site)
WA State congressional switchboard (Send messages to senator and reps.) -- 800-562-6000
TrueMajority Principles: (Click here for a full description of each principle.)
The Navy is apparently firing DU shells during tests that land in Puget Sound. KUOW ran a show on DU -- Depleted Uranium Shells in Puget Sound
I highly recommend that you listen to this story that presents both sides. The it's-harmless side couldn't present studies to back up its position -- only opinions about the theoretical possibility of harm being low. The it's-horrendous representative was much better informed and scientific. It was really scary. I intend to continue tracking this issue.
I'm very pleased that our 7th District Congressman in Washington State has written the following letter.
January 13, 2003
Captain Dale Lumme
Director, House Liaison Office
Department of the Navy
B-324 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Captain Lumme:
It has come to my attention that the United States Navy has been
conducting gunnery operations using depleted uranium bullets off the
coast of Washington State. Specifically, I understand
that the USS Fife, a U.S. Navy destroyer stationed at your base in
Everett, has been firing depleted uranium rounds in Areas W237C and
Depleted uranium is a highly toxic material, presenting the same
dangers to humans, animals and fish, and the environment as other
heavy metals. Its chemical toxicity is, in fact, likely to be even
more dangerous than its radiological properties. In the strongest
terms, I condemn the use of this hazardous material in American-or any
Areas W237C and W237F represent the waters between Neah Bay and Ocean
Shores, which are a prime fish habitat and home to a number of
endangered species. Depleted uranium has the potential not only to
damage the health of vulnerable fauna, but also it has the potential
to infect our food chain. Of even greater concern is the level of
risk at which you place American citizens and Navy personnel.
Exposure to depleted uranium has been associated with health problems
ranging from kidney failure to lung
cancer. These risks are completely unacceptable.
As an arm of the Department of Defense, you have sent mixed messages
to your dedicated servicemembers and to the American citizens about
the dangers of depleted uranium. On the one hand, you have required
soldiers to have DU safety training and to wear protective gear when
handling DU, you have required post-exposure testing for
servicemembers who may have been exposed to DU, and submarines must
"stay clear" of DU-contaminated waters. These policies indicate there
is cause for concern-as one might expect, given the toxic properties of the
material. On the other hand, the Department of Defense has repeatedly denied
that DU poses any danger whatsoever. There has been no remorse about leaving
of DU equipment in the soil in foreign countries, and there appears to
be no remorse about leaving it in the waters of our own country.
These mixed messages are made more frustrating by the continued
silence on your part to share information about DU. In fact, were it
not for the detective work of Washington state organizations such as
Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and the Waste Action Project,
citizens of Washington state might not be aware of the dangers now
sitting in their waters.
On behalf of these citizens, I request detailed information from your
office on the following:
1. The amount of depleted uranium that has been deposited and
remains in the waters off the coast of Washington state.
2. The dangers to human health posed by depleted uranium, both
direct and via contaminated water or food.
3. The dangers to the environment, including fish, posed by DU.
4. The steps that will be taken to remove DU from the water and to
decontaminate the affected areas.
I'm sure you understand and share my concerns about the need to
protect the environment and the people of Washington. Thank you in
advance for your prompt response.
Member of Congress