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Action Alert - Immediately! Threat to the Great Lakes!



The Governor of Minnesota, Arne Carlson wants to force people in
Duluth to have the USS Des Moines war cruiser permanently berthed on its
waterfront and designated as a state park. This ocean going vessel (716 ft.
long and 10 stories high) will be brought through the Great Lakes to
Duluth. This ship may contain enough mercury to contaminate the entire
Great Lakes ecosystem! We have been trying to get confirmation from the
governors office, the Navy and the EPA whether there is mercury on this
ship(see below) but to no avail.  We need your help!
Please write, call or fax your comments to the MN DNR(address below) and
let them know that this ship should not be brought into
the Great Lakes until all mercury, PCBs, asbestos and lead are
totally removed. This ship will be towed to Duluth and could sink, it
has been mothballed since 1961! Duluth is at the headwaters to
the Great Lakes on Lake Superior.  Also, alert other organizations
and your states legislators and governors, congresssional officials and
 provincial leaders to take action. This is a  potential serious threat to 
the Great Lakes. Email me if you need additional information.

ENVIRONMENTAL FACT SHEET

Veterans Memorial State Park and USS Des Moines Cruiser

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in their
         Environmental Assessment Worksheet, the cruiser "may"  contain the
following:
- Asbestos (wrapped around pipes): the DNR proposes that all asbestos
  be encapsulated or sealed, not removed;
- Lead Paint: the DNR proposes to remove loose lead paint and sound paint 
   will be encapsulated with sealant;
- PCBs: the DNR proposes that polychlorinated biphenols in public areas
will be removed  according to United States Environmental Protection Agency
standards;
- Fuel: the DNR proposes to remove fuel by a licensed fuel recycler;

According to the MN DNR in their EAW:
-  Slip 4: (where the cruiser will be berthed)  will be excavated, 132,000
cubic yards of fill material will be removed. It is currently unknown if
this material
is contaminated with hazardous waste. 
-  The approach area to Slip 4: will require "minor dredging", dredge
spoils will be barged to the Erie Pier Contained Disposal Facility. The EAW
does not state what contaminates have been found in this harbor sediment.
According to an EPA Executive Summary Report, 3/97, the following
contaminates have been found in the Duluth/Superior Harbor sediments:
mercury, PCBs, PAHs, toxaphene, 2-3-7-8 TCDD/TCDF-dioxin, DDT, arsenic,
cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, nickel, zinc, thirteen pesticides, and
ammonia.

THE PUBLIC HAS A RIGHT-TO-KNOW:
Mercury
The public has a right-to-know whether the ship contains mercury (commonly
found in light switches, heating controls, and lighting fixtures); mercury
may also be found in a gyroscope (a gyroscope may contain a quart of
mercury = 26 lbs., which is enough to contaminate 26 million pounds of
fish, using the FDA standard of 1 part per million); mercury may also be
found in other types of instruments or equipment used on the ship for
leveling - balancing loads, and temperature gauges; mercury may also be
found in anti-fungal paint; and mercury(in residual amounts) may also be
found in areas were explosives were used and/or stored. No mention of
mercury is in the EAW.

Butyl-tin compounds
The public has a right-to-know whether the ship contains butyl-tin compounds.
Butyl-tin compounds are found in anti-fouling paints which are applied to
the hull of a ship. These compounds are highly toxic to freshwater aquatic
organisms. There is no mention of any butyl-tin compounds in the EAW.

Asbestos, PCB's and Lead Paint
1) The public has a right-to-know exactly where these toxins are located on
the ship and how much asbestos, PCBs(electrical transformers) and lead
paint are on the USS Des Moines. 
2) The public has a right to know exactly how these toxins will be
remediated and/or removed.
3) The public has a right-to-know what the exact costs will be for remediating
all of these toxins.
4) The public has a right-to-know what other toxins have been found on
the USS Des Moines.

Slip 4 
The public has a right-to-know exactly what contaminates the 132,000 cubic
yards of fill material contains and how it will be remediated.

Harbor Sediments
The public has a right-to-know exactly how much dredging is necessary
within the harbor to be able to dock the USS Des Moines. The public has a
right-to-know exactly what contaminates the sediments contain and how they
will be remediated.  

Other Environmental Concern:
The EAW does not adequately address visual blight, air and noise pollution.

What can you do?
Contact MN DNR and tell them you want to know:
- exactly what toxins are found on the USS Des Moines!
- exactly what toxins are found in Slip 4!
- exactly what toxins are found in harbor sediments!
- the exact total costs to remediate all of these toxins!
- tell them you want an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) done because
of the "potential for significant environmental effects" of this project!

Written comments to the EAW must be received by 2/11/98, send to:
Rebecca Wooden, Office of Planning
MNDNR
 500 Lafayette Rd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
or
call her at 1-800-766-6000
or fax her at 218-296-6047
or call the DNR Commissioner, Ron Sando at 800-766-6000

Prepared by the Regional Environmental Action League, 3547 Haines Rd.
Duluth, MN 55811