CHARLESTON, S.C. (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have reached an agreement that will direct all environmental cleanup work at the former Naval Station Roosevelt Roads in Puerto Rico.
The Roosevelt Roads base was closed in March 2004 under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program. The agreement follows the completion of a process in which the Navy and the EPA held public meetings and responded to multiple public comments as part of a 30-day public comment period.
"This order terminates the existing hazardous waste permit, allowing the Navy to transfer clean parcels to the community and the private sector, while ensuring that the property with contamination will be remediated according to federal and commonwealth standards to protect human health and the environment," said Jimmy Anderson, the director of the Navy's BRAC Program Management Office Southeast.
The agreement allows the U.S. Navy to transfer a large percentage of the former base - including over 3,000 acres of wetlands and other conservation areas, the airfield and port related operations, and a smaller area for economic development purposes - to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and to local municipal governments.
In addition, the Navy intends to sell the remaining portions of the property to private buyers. If portions of the property are sold or transferred, then those buyers would be responsible for any necessary cleanup and could be required to enter into separate legal agreements with EPA. Under federal law, the Navy is ultimately responsible for completing clean-ups of the former Navy lands if they are not completed by the buyers of the property.
Several limited portions of the property will be transferred to other federal agencies. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has created a local authority to develop a master land use plan to control reuse and development of the entire facility.
The 8,600 acre former military facility is about 33 miles southeast of San Juan and is bordered on all sides except the west by the Caribbean Sea. It includes a port facility, a major airfield complex and two uninhabited offshore islands that were used for military training.
The final agreement between the Navy and the EPA, and the responses to public comments are immediately available at the following internet Web page addresses: www.epa/region02/public_notices/index.http or
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