Military Waste Cleanup Project


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The National Technical Experts Network (NTEN) unites self-taught experts with citizen-scientists and professional experts working in military cleanup to exchange information, expertise and ideas to help each other in the daunting task of cleaning up the military installations in the country. NTEN is a major initiative of the MilWaste Project.

Together with the Institute's local and regional work, NTEN serves the vision of putting citizens, scientists, science teachers and their students at the service of cooperative, open, efficient cleanup. The people are the key to gathering support and mustering the resources necessary for effective cleanup. It is important for both the communities and the scientists/engineers involved to realign the technical community in service to grass-roots community organizations.

Democratically deployed science can tap the knowledge, experience and expertise of community members -- people who worked and played at the base, who have known all the practices, modes, and problems of handling substances on the Base. They embody the Base's institutional memory, they are the context experts and they include everyone from the editors and reporters on the town newspapers to the local librarians, the self-educated activists and environmental scientists, the military veterans and retirees, the former vendors and suppliers to the (now grown up) kids who played on the back lots. And they potentially include local science teachers, scientist/engineer-neighbors and community environmental scientists. But ordinary science and engineering, as produced in the usual isolated settings can never fully use this capability. We envision colleges and junior colleges helping do clean-up right at every base and military installation in the country.

Thus, NTEN seeks to tap into all the human and intellectual resources necessary to clean up the nation's legacy of the cold war, which even conservative estimates determine will require more environmental scientists to be employed between now and 2015 than all those graduated in the last 50 years in all fields, let alone those employed for weapons work. In real terms, the amount of money (at least $200-300 billion) needed for the effort is bigger than the Manhattan Project, even after accounting for over 50 years of inflation. It is little comfort to us that the problems of the former Soviet Union are even more daunting and unmanageable.

The above figures vividly describe the urgency of the environmental problems facing the country. Since current resources and funding for military environmental cleanup will be grossly insufficient, we need the help of all citizens and scientists and educators -- whoever can provide sound information on technical matters to RABs, SSABs and the affected communities, and, who will help build the critical mass needed to influence top military officials and policymakers.

The National Technical Experts Network:

  • Serves the technical needs of citizens, scientists, non-scientists and technical experts involved in military toxic and nuclear waste cleanup.
  • Works collaboratively with the Restoration Advisory Board Caucus, Global Green Legacy Project, ArcEcology, Center for Public Environmental Oversight, Military Toxics Project and other public interest organizations and institutes.
  • Hosts a website with an electronic bulletin board and online mailing list to facilitate technical assistance networking.
  • Holds workshops, focus groups and forums that bring together those involved in military toxic and nuclear waste cleanup to foster information sharing and exchange of ideas and to showcase personal experiences.
  • Presents new ways of applying science technology to affect better, more efficient and democratic cleanups.
  • Encourages colleges and unviversities to become more active nad involved in military cleanup.
  • NTEN will serve the needs of local groups and active organizers, while learning valuable lessons for national policy.
  • Create a website with messageboard/online mailing list for networking to happen (1999). We need to get all persons interested on a mailing list, do conference next year or year after that.
  • Create links in colleges and universities to get students and professors engaged in military cleanup. This will also foster research on appropriate cleanup technologies and engages students to think about the consequences of bad science.
  • Promote curricula that deal with military cleanup as a problem with both environmental/scientific and social consequences.
  • Host seminars, conferences to inform NTEN members about regulations, technologies, etc. just like CPEO does, maybe with a stronger input from professors, scientists and knowledgeable citizens, and less from military contractors.
  • Create funds to allow RAB members hire NTEN members as consultants, e.g., if a certain military installation has problems with UXO, NTEN can help find/help pay for someone who can advise them with UXO. Furthermore, NTEN can help identify those individuals who are often left out of the RAB and IRP processes to help their community and the RAB in cleanup.

Read more about ISIS Institute's Military Waste Project in our Project Overview. Old version.

For Further Information Contact:

David Keith, Coordinator

Military Waste Cleanup Project, %isis Institute/NS

893 West Street

Amherst, MA 01002-5001

Email: isisgu

413-559-5582 / 413-559-5448 (fax)