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entitled 'Environmental Cleanup: Better Communication Needed for 
Dealing with Formerly Used Defense Sites in Guam' which was released on 
April 11, 2002. 

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United States General Accounting Office: 
GAO: 

Report to Congressional Requesters: 

April 2002: 

Environmental Cleanup: 

Better Communication Needed for Dealing with Formerly Used Defense 
Sites in Guam: 

GAO-02-423: 

Contents: 

Letter: 

Results in Brief: 

Background: 

DOD Scaled Back Its Efforts to Identify Additional Contaminated 
Locations as Attention Shifted to Cleaning Up Locations Already 
Identified: 

Concerns about Identifying and Addressing Contamination Highlight Need 
for Better Procedures and Communication: 

Conclusions: 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

Scope and Methodology: 

Appendix I: Comments from the Department of Defense: 

Appendix II: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments: 

Table: 

Table 1: Number of Potentially Contaminated Locations in DODís Guam 
Inventory and the Identification Method Used: 

Figures: 

Figure 1: Navy Disposal Site at Orote Point Before Restoration: 

Figure 2: DOD Debris Unearthed While Excavating Private Property in 
Guam: 

[End of section] 

United States General Accounting Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

April 11, 2002: 

The Honorable Joel Hefley: 
The Honorable Gene Taylor: 
The Honorable Robert Underwood: 
House of Representatives: 

The unexpected discovery of World War II-era chemical testing kits
containing diluted mustard gas and other chemicals on private property 
in Guam, apparently left when the Department of Defense (DOD) 
relinquished use of the property, has raised questions about other
contamination that may remain in Guam and the adequacy of DODís
efforts to identify and address the contamination. DOD is responsible 
for cleaning up the environmental contamination resulting from its past
operations throughout the United States and its territoriesóa huge
undertaking that involves both public and private lands and tens of 
billions of dollars. The task is especially complicated on formerly 
used defense sitesóproperty formerly owned or used by DOD and now owned 
by private parties or other government agenciesóbecause DOD often does
not know where all of the contamination is located or what types of
contamination may exist. 

Identifying and addressing environmental contamination is particularly
challenging on the island of Guam, a U.S. territory located in the 
western Pacific Ocean. Guam was a battlefield for U.S. and Japanese 
military forces during World War II, and it has been a strategic 
location for U.S. forces ever since. The entire island was under direct 
military control following the defeat of Japanese forces in Guam in 
1944, and DOD retained control of more than one-third of Guamís 212 
square miles following the establishment of civilian rule in 1950. Over 
the years, contamination of the soil and water occurred as DOD, in 
carrying out its mission, disposed of its hazardous waste. DOD also 
disposed of uncontaminated debris, such as jeep parts and other 
material. The location of such waste may not be known because, until 
the 1970s, disposal of contaminated waste and debris was not subject to 
stringent environmental laws, and DOD did not maintain comprehensive 
records on its disposal practices. 

A number of federal and other agencies are involved in DODís 
environmental restoration program in Guam. For example, on active
(including closing) DOD installations, the Air Force and the Navy are
responsible for identifying and addressing contamination. On formerly 
used defense sites, DOD has delegated this responsibility through the
Army to the Corps of Engineers. The U.S. Environmental Protection 
Agency (EPA) and the Guam Environmental Protection Agency (Guam EPA) 
provide regulatory oversight for DODís environmental restoration 
program. DOD military services are also required to consult with the
communityófor example, by establishing restoration advisory boards to
receive community input on specific environmental cleanup projects. 

Concerned about such incidents as the discovery of discarded chemical
testing kits, you asked us to determine (1) DODís process for 
identifying locations of possible contamination and what locations were 
identified in Guam and (2) the nature and extent of concerns about 
identifying and addressing contamination in Guam raised by regulators 
and other stakeholders, such as restoration advisory board members. 
[Footnote 1] 

Results in Brief: 

DODís process for identifying potentially contaminated locations in Guam
has changed over the years. From the time DODís identification efforts
began in the early 1980s until the mid-1990s, this process involved 
actively searching records, maps, and other sources of information for 
such locations. This was a challenging task in Guam, especially on 
formerly used defense sites, given the contamination and debris that 
resulted from war-time battles and the limited records on disposal 
activities that occurred decades before identification efforts began. 
In the mid-1990s, partly in response to congressional direction to 
become more aggressive in cleaning up known contamination instead of 
continuing to identify new locations, DOD scaled back its 
identification efforts nationally. Since then, DOD has limited its 
efforts to search for potentially contaminated locations in Guam and 
has relied primarily on referrals from Guam EPA and on incidental 
discovery during construction and other operational activities to 
identify potentially contaminated locations. Through the mid-1990s, DOD 
identified a total of 202 potentially contaminated locations, including 
155 on active installations and 47 on formerly used defense sites. 
Since then, using this more limited approach to identify potential
contamination, five additional locations have been identified in Guamó
four on active installations and one on a formerly used defense site. 
Based on DODís extensive past activities in Guam and the continuing 
discoveries of potentially contaminated locations, stakeholders believe 
that additional contaminated locations likely exist. 

Stakeholders had no major concerns about DODís restoration program on
active military installations in Guam, but they had three concerns
regarding the Corpsí efforts to identify and address contamination on
formerly used defense sites. First, they were uncertain about the Corpsí
current process for adding potentially contaminated locations to its 
Guam inventory. Stakeholders need clear referral policies and procedures
because they are the primary source of referrals of such locations to 
the Corps. However, the Corps has not developed written guidelines for
stakeholders to use in referring such locations to it, including the
information stakeholders should provide. Furthermore, the Corps has not
effectively communicated to stakeholders the actions it plans to take on
referrals. Regulators said that because the process is unclear, they 
have no assurance that the Corps has properly considered the referred 
locations for inclusion in its Guam inventory. Second, stakeholders 
were concerned that some locations containing debris such as metal and 
tires were excluded from consideration, even though the waste was 
caused by DOD and could place a financial burden on the owner to remove 
it. These exclusions, however, are consistent with DOD policy, which 
provides that DOD will only clean up debris that poses a threat to 
human health or the environment. Third, stakeholders were concerned 
about the slow pace of funding to clean up locations that had been 
identified as eligible for the program. Between fiscal year 1984 and 
2000, 4 percent of the total expected cost of cleaning up these 
locations had been funded in Guam, compared with 16 percent nationwide. 
The Corpsí explanation of this difference is that, even though 
contaminated locations in Guam pose risks to human health and the 
environment that are similar to risks posed by such locations 
nationally, unfunded projects in Guam have ranked lower when the work 
is sequenced. When sequencing work, the Corps considers not only a 
contaminated locationís risk but also such factors as opportunities to 
group projects together, especially in remote areas where logistics are 
difficult and transportation costs are high, and concerns expressed by 
affected stakeholders. 

We are recommending that DOD, through the Army, develop written 
guidelines for stakeholders in Guam to use when referring potentially
contaminated locations to the Corps and identify the information 
stakeholders should include when they refer such locations. We are also
recommending that DOD, through the Army, improve efforts to communicate 
with stakeholders in Guam to better inform them about policies and 
procedures for referring potentially contaminated locations to the 
Corps and actions it plans to take on referrals it receives. In 
commenting on our draft report, DOD agreed with both of our 
recommendations. 

Background: 

Under its environmental restoration program, DOD is responsible for 
identifying and cleaning up contamination that is a threat to human 
health or the environment and resulted from its past activities on 
active and closing installations and on formerly used defense sites. 
The types of contamination include petroleum products; heavy metals, 
such as lead and mercury; paints and solvents; and other hazardous 
substances. The restoration program also covers substances that may not 
be contaminants, such as ordnance and explosive waste and unsafe 
buildings and debris. The program is guided primarily by the Superfund 
Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, which amended the 
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act 
of 1980.[Footnote 2] DODís program also must comply with applicable 
state laws. Under federal and state law, the EPA and state regulatory 
agencies oversee DODís restoration program. 

The Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Installations and
Environment, formulates policy and provides oversight for the 
restoration program. In fiscal year 1997, program funding was 
partitioned into five environmental restoration accounts: Army, Navy 
(including Marine Corps), Air Force, formerly used defense sites, and 
defensewide. The military services plan, program, and budget for 
individual restoration projects. The Air Force administers its program 
through its Environmental Restoration Branch; the Navy, through its 
Naval Facilities Engineering Command; and the Army, through its 
Environmental Center. The Army also administers the program at formerly 
used defense sites through the Environmental Division of the U.S. Army 
Corps of Engineers. The restoration program at installations designated 
for closure or mission realignment is funded separately, through the 
Base Realignment and Closure program.[Footnote 3] 

DODís environmental restoration program is one of the largest in the
United States, containing over 28,000 potentially contaminated 
locations, and involves several stages. First, potentially contaminated 
locations must be identified. Next, restoration program officials 
assess locations to determine if they are eligible for cleanup under 
the program. If a location is found to be on an active installation or 
a formerly used defense site and is contaminated from past DOD 
activities, the location is evaluated for risk and, if cleanup is 
necessary, a cleanup approach is selected.[Footnote 4] Because DOD has 
many projects in its inventory, it sets priorities for sequencing the
work. Eventually, the location is cleaned up or a remedy is put in place
and, if necessary, is monitored to ensure protection of human health and
the environment. Through fiscal year 2000, DOD had spent over $17 
billion on its restoration program. Cleanup at most locations is 
scheduled for completion by 2074, and the total expected cost of the 
program is projected to be over $42 billion.[Footnote 5] 

DOD Scaled Back Its Efforts to Identify Additional Contaminated 
Locations as Attention Shifted to Cleaning Up Locations Already 
Identified: 

DODís efforts for identifying locations in Guam that may have 
environmental contamination have been scaled back since the mid-1990s.
Under the current approach, DOD generally limits its efforts to search 
for potentially contaminated locations, instead concentrating on 
cleaning up locations already identified. Of the known contaminated 
locations in Guam, most were identified when DOD, under an earlier 
approach, funded major efforts to search for them. For both DOD-owned 
property and formerly used defense sites, the Navy, the Air Force, and 
the Corps conducted multiple organized searches for contamination in 
the 1980s and early 1990s, usually through contracts with private 
companies. The searches included activities such as reviewing records 
and historical photographs, observing property conditions, and 
interviewing knowledgeable individuals. If contamination was discovered 
or suspected during a search, the location could be added to DODís 
inventory. Since the mid-1990s, however, DOD has shifted its focus to 
cleaning up contamination and generally has limited its efforts to 
search for potentially contaminated locations. Since then, potentially 
contaminated locations on active military installations have been 
discovered through normal operations and construction activities, while 
the Corps has relied primarily on regulators or community residents to 
bring potentially contaminated locations on formerly used defense sites 
to its attention. DOD has added far fewer locations to the Guam 
inventory since the change in program emphasis. However, based on DODís 
extensive past activities in Guam and the continuing discoveries of 
potentially contaminated locations, regulators and other stakeholders 
believe that additional undetected contamination may exist in Guam and 
that a continuing process to identify that contamination is needed to 
protect human health and the environment. 

DODís Searches Have Identified Many Potentially Contaminated Locations: 

Starting in the 1980s, DOD agencies conducted several searches to 
identify potentially contaminated locations in Guam. The Navy, the Air 
Force, and the Corps used similar approaches that generally involved 
hiring contractors to, among other techniques, review archived records, 
maps, and photographs; inspect property; and interview knowledgeable
individuals. These searches occurred on different occasions over the 
years.[Footnote 6] For example, between 1984 and 1994, the Corps 
conducted three separate searches in Guam to identify contaminated 
locations. According to a Corps Honolulu District Office official, more 
than one search was conducted because Corps officials had concerns that 
all contaminated locations may not have been identified in the prior 
studies. The identification of formerly used defense sites can be 
difficult in Guam because land use and property transfer records are 
hard to locate and are often incomplete. 

Searches by the Navy, the Air Force, and the Corps identified a large
number of potentially contaminated locations on both active DOD
properties and formerly used defense sites.[Footnote 7] In addition, 
several potentially contaminated locations were brought to DODís 
attention through referrals from other parties, such as Guam EPA. For 
all of Guam, a total of 202 potentially contaminated locations were 
included in the DOD inventory, including 155 on active installations 
and 47 on formerly used defense sites. The circumstances varied under 
which DOD used these locations, as did the types of hazardous waste and 
debris they contained. For example, for years the Air Force disposed of 
construction debris, aircraft components, ordnance, and chemical waste, 
such as pesticides, on private property located on the cliff-line 
boundary of Andersen Air Force Base. At the same time, the Navy 
disposed of paints, paint thinners, battery casings, and other material 
on its own property, which was located near the ocean at Orote Point, 
Guam. Figure 1 shows the Navyís disposal site before environmental 
restoration action began. 

Figure 1: Photograph of Navy Disposal Site at Orote Point Before 
Restoration: 

[Refer to PDF for image] 

Source: Navy. 

[End of figure] 

Few Locations Were Identified after Emphasis Shifted from Identifying 
Locations to Clean Up: 

In the mid-1990s, as a result of congressional direction and the belief 
that much of the environmental contamination had been found, DOD changed
its focus from identifying locations with potential contamination to
addressing contamination at the locations already identified. DOD 
officials said that most contaminated locations had been found and that 
the change in focus was a natural progression of the program. The 
Congress was also concerned that DOD had not made much progress in 
cleaning up identified locations and that more money was being spent on 
identifying and studying locations than on the actual cleanup. 
Consequently, in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 
1996, the Congress set a goal for DOD to spend no more than 20 percent 
of its environmental program funds for program support, studies, and 
investigations. 

Despite the shift in focus from identifying locations to addressing the
contamination already found, DOD continued to identify and add 
potentially contaminated locations to its inventory in Guam, although
fewer locations were added than in the past (see table 1). While DOD
continued to fund some searches, such as one to identify chemical 
warfare materials on the Fifth Field Marine Supply Depot in Guam, 
restoration program officials began to rely primarily on others to 
bring the locations to their attention. On active installations, 
contamination was discovered as a result of construction or other 
operational activities. For example, the Navy added two locations to 
its inventory in 1995 that were discovered during construction 
activities. On formerly used defense sites, the Corps began relying 
primarily on agencies, such as Guam EPA, and other sources, such as 
community residents, to identify potential locations. For example, Guam 
EPA referred the only potentially contaminated location that the Corps 
added to its inventory since the shift in program emphasis. 

Table 1: Number of Potentially Contaminated Locations in DODís Guam 
Inventory and the Identification Method Used: 

Primary method for identifying locations: DOD searches (from early 
1980s to mid-1990s); 
DOD component: Air Force: 51; 
DOD component: Navy: 104; 
DOD component: Corps: 47; 
Total: 202. 

Primary method for identifying locations: Referrals from other parties 
and operational activities (after mid-1990s); 
DOD component: Air Force: 0; 
DOD component: Navy: 4; 
DOD component: Corps: 1; 
Total: 5. 

Primary method for identifying locations: Total; 
DOD component: Air Force: 51; 
DOD component: Navy: 108; 
DOD component: Corps: 48; 
Total: 207[A]. 

[A] Some of the potentially contaminated locations in DODís inventory 
were ultimately found ineligible for cleanup under DODís environmental 
restoration program. For example, of the 48 potential locations 
identified by the Corps, 8 were not formerly used defense sites and 22 
were not contaminated. For more information on Guam locations, see 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/GAO-01-1012SP/GM.html]. 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD data. 

[End of table] 

Stakeholders said they believe that not all contaminated locations in 
Guam caused by DOD have been found. Given the extent of past DOD
operational activities in Guam, the few controls over disposal practices
during and after World War II, and the continuing discoveries of
contamination problems, this view seems reasonable. In part to respond 
to congressional concerns, the Corps has budgeted $500,000 in fiscal 
year 2002 to conduct an islandwide archival search in Guam to identify
formerly used defense sites with evidence of potential chemical warfare
material. Even with this effort, however, stakeholders will continue to
have an important role in alerting DOD agencies to potential 
environmental hazards on the island. 

Concerns about Identifying and Addressing Contamination Highlight Need 
for Better Procedures and Communication: 

Stakeholders raised no major concerns about DODís cleanup efforts on
active military installations, but raised three major concerns about the
Corpsí efforts to identify and address contamination on formerly used
defense sites in Guam. 

* Their first concern is that the Corpsí current process for adding 
potentially contaminated locations to its inventory is not clear to 
them. We believe that the lack of clarity can be attributed to the 
Corpsí failure to develop well-understood written guidelines for 
stakeholders to use when referring such locations to the Corps, 
including the information that should be included with the referrals. 
We also found that the Corps has not effectively communicated to 
stakeholders the actions it plans to take on the referrals. 

* The second concern is that DOD excludes from the restoration program
debris that does not pose a threat to human health or the environment,
even though it was caused by DOD and could place a financial burden on
owners who incur costs to remove it. However, DOD policy provides for
cleaning up debris only if it is a threat to human health or the 
environment. 

* The third concern is the slow pace of funding environmental cleanup on
formerly used defense sites included in the restoration program. During
fiscal years 1984-2000, 4 percent of the total expected cost of 
locations the Corps approved for cleanup had been funded in Guam while, 
nationally, 16 percent had been funded, even though contaminated 
locations in Guam posed risks to human health and the environment that 
were similar to risks posed by such locations nationally. The Corps 
explained that, consistent with DOD policy, the unfunded locations in 
Guam ranked lower in sequencing work than the locations that were 
funded nationally. 

Process for Adding Potentially Contaminated Locations to Corpsí 
Inventory Is Unclear to Stakeholders: 

Stakeholders have reported that the process for referring potentially
contaminated locations to the Corps is unclear to them. Without a 
clearly understood process, stakeholders cannot be sure that the Corps 
is properly considering the referred locations for inclusion in its Guam
inventory. DOD policy requires the identification of contamination from 
its past activities, but neither DOD nor Corps policy sets forth the 
process that stakeholders should use when making referrals. In fact, 
the Corpsí formerly used defense site program manual, which is its 
primary document setting forth policy guidance for executing the 
program, is silent on procedures stakeholders should use to make 
referrals. Corps Pacific Ocean Division and Honolulu District Office 
officials acknowledged that the division and district offices did not 
have written guidelines explaining the referral process, but the Corps 
district office program manager said the process was verbally explained 
to Guam EPA and other stakeholders.[Footnote 8] 

One area needing clarification is the information that should be 
included with referrals of potentially contaminated locations. 
Stakeholders were unclear about the information they should provide 
when referring such locations to the Corps because the Corps had not 
defined what information was required. Neither DOD nor Corps policy 
sets forth the information required with referrals, and the Corps 
district program manager said that the district office had provided no 
written guidelines to stakeholders regarding information requirements. 
Moreover, the program manager said that the referrals the Corps 
district office had received were sometimes incomplete. For example, 
the program manager told us that the information provided by Guam EPA 
with an October 30, 1999, letter referring several potentially 
contaminated locations was incomplete because there was no 
documentation showing contamination or indicating that the locations 
were likely formerly used defense sites. The program manager also said 
that more information would be needed before the Corps would take any 
action to determine whether the referred locations should be added to 
the inventory. Guam EPA officials told us that, in the summer of 2001, 
the Corps had verbally informed them that more information was needed 
with their referrals, but it did not describe the specific information 
needed. Rather than identifying the specific information that should be 
included, the program manager asked that Guam EPA and others include as 
much information as possible with any referrals, including information 
that indicates that the locations were formerly used defense sites and 
describes potential contamination associated with DOD activities. 

These uncertainties have been exacerbated by poor communication between 
the Corps and its stakeholders. Guam EPA officials told us that the 
Corps often did not respond to or share much information about the 
referrals it had received, so they did not know whether the Corps was
properly considering their referrals. For example, concerning several
referrals made between October 30, 1999, and May 18, 2000, the Guam
EPA administrator wrote a letter on June 20, 2000, to the district 
engineer in the Corps Honolulu District Office complaining that no 
feedback had been provided regarding whether the referred locations 
were eligible for funding or what action the Corps planned to take on 
the referrals. The Corps program manager had no written record of a 
response to this letter. However, the program manager said that the 
referrals had been verbally acknowledged with a Guam EPA official, who 
was also told that no action to assess the referrals would be taken at 
that time because there was no money available due to higher priority 
work. The Guam EPA official did not recall receiving this information. 

Stakeholders said that they discussed concerns about the formerly used
defense sites program with the Corps, but the concerns have not been 
resolved. For example, EPA officials organized a work group to improve
the Corps Honolulu District Officeís process for dealing with formerly
used defense sites. Concerns about how to add locations and other issues
related to the Corpsí inventory process, such as what locations may 
exist that are not on the inventory, were raised in the initial work 
group meeting in January 2001. The meeting involved EPA, Guam EPA, 
Corps district and division officials, and officials from other 
interested federal agencies, such as the Fish and Wildlife Service, the 
National Park Service, and the Coast Guard. EPA officials told us that 
concerns about the inventory were also discussed at an August meeting 
of the work group and would continue to be discussed in future 
meetings. As of February 2002, the work group was still considering the 
concerns. 

In our view, improved communications on the part of the Corps would 
help stakeholders better understand the process for referring 
potentially contaminated locations to the Corps, including information 
they should include with such referrals. Under the Superfund Amendments 
and Reauthorization Act of 1986, EPA regulations, and DOD policy, the 
Corps is required to consult with regulators and the public in the 
decision-making process for environmental cleanup. Nationally, since 
1994, restoration advisory boards have been the primary forum for 
communities affected by contamination at formerly used defense sites to 
keep informed of and participate in decisions affecting cleanup. Corps 
policy is to establish a restoration advisory board for formerly used 
defense sites that contain an active cleanup project if, among other 
reasons, a board is requested by a government agency. However, there 
currently is no restoration advisory board for formerly used defense 
sites in Guam. In August 2001, Guam EPA asked the Corps Honolulu 
District Office to establish a restoration advisory board for the 
island. While none of the pending projects in Guam have progressed far 
enough to be considered active and Corps district officials have 
expressed concern about the cost of establishing a board in Guam, the 
Corps district office engineer agreed in September 2001 that a board 
would be a good tool and committed to discussing the issue with the 
work group discussed previously. In addition, in August 2001, the 
Corpsí formerly used defense sites national program manager visited 
Guam, in part, to improve communications with regulators and assure 
them that the Corps would be more responsive to their inquiries about 
site eligibility. 

Stakeholders Are Concerned that the Corps Is Not Cleaning Up Debris,
Although the Corpsí Approach Is Consistent with DOD Policy: 

Stakeholdersí second concern is that the Corps has not accepted
responsibility for some apparent military debris discovered on private
property. For example, in 2001, a property owner unearthed military
debris while excavating for a foundation on a residential lot east of
Guamís capitol city. As figure 2 shows, the debris included jeep parts,
scrap metal, and other material, such as tires. The debris apparently 
had been discarded and buried years before, when the lot was part of the
700-acre Fifth Field Marine Supply Depot. Upon discovering the debris, 
the property owner notified Guam EPA, which in turn notified the Navy 
and the Corps. After inspecting the site, the Corps Honolulu District 
Office decided that since the debris contained no apparent toxic 
materials, and, prior to excavation by the owner, had been buried, it 
was not a threat to human health or the environment and was therefore 
not eligible for funding under the restoration program. 

Figure 2: Photograph of DOD Debris Unearthed While Excavating Private 
Property in Guam: 

[Refer to PDF for image] 

Source: GAO. 

[End of figure] 

The Corpsí decision to exclude this debris is consistent with DOD 
policy, although it likely will result in a financial burden for the 
property owner. The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 
1986 authorizes using environmental restoration program funds to remove 
unsafe debris, and DOD has adopted a policy that it only cleans up 
debris that poses a threat to human health or the environment. DOD 
officials stated that this policy is necessary, in part, to ensure that 
most funding is directed toward cleaning up contamination from 
hazardous and toxic waste that poses a greater risk to human health or 
the environment. While the Corps followed DOD policy in making its 
decision, the property owner may incur costs to remove the debris and 
relocate the construction project. A stakeholder said that this type of 
problem was likely to increase as more of Guamís limited land base is 
developed.[Footnote 9] 

Stakeholders Are Concerned about the Slow Progress in Cleaning Up 
Identified Locations, but the Corpsí Approach Follows DOD Policy: 

The third concern raised by stakeholders is that the Corps has not made
sufficient progress in cleaning up locations that the Corps has 
accepted for inclusion in the restoration program. They said that 
little work has been done to date or is scheduled in the next several 
years. Despite the shift in focus in the mid-1990s to cleaning up 
contaminated locations that have been identified, between fiscal year 
1984 and 2000, the Corps spent $4.9 million on its environmental 
restoration program in Guam, which represents 4 percent of the total 
expected cost in Guam.[Footnote 10] Nationally, the Corps has spent 
about 16 percent of the total expected cost of its restoration program. 
Six of the 20 projects the Corps approved for cleanup action in Guam 
have been completed, while 3 are scheduled for completion before 2011, 
2 between 2011 and 2020, and 9 after 2021. Most of the completed 
cleanup projects in Guam have involved removing hazardous waste and 
underground storage tanks. The remaining work mostly involves removing 
ordnance and explosive waste.[Footnote 11] 

Corps officials acknowledged the difference in funding between Guam and
other locations, but they said that it was an appropriate outcome of the
Corpsí approach to prioritizing the sequence of work. The Corps 
considers several factors in sequencing work, including the risk posed 
to human health or the environment, legal obligations, stakeholder 
concerns, and program management considerations.[Footnote 12] 
Contaminated locations on formerly used defense sites in Guam have a 
similar risk profile as locations nationally. Risk, therefore, does not 
explain the difference in funding. Corps officials said that when other 
factors besides risk are considered, projects in other locations emerge 
with higher priority. For example, the Alaska District Office sometimes 
combines low priority projects with high priority projects in remote 
areas of Alaska to save transportation and other costs. 

If new contamination is discovered, the Corps can reassess its 
priorities and redistribute available funds to address the problem. For 
example, a Guam landowner discovered World War II-era chemical testing 
kits with diluted mustard gas and other chemicals on his property in 
July 1999. Due to the potential threat, EPA conducted an emergency 
response action and, within 3 weeks of discovery, it had removed 16 
kits from the property. One week later, the Corps inspected the 
property using ground-penetrating radar and removed 19 additional kits. 
In March 2000, the Corps expanded its efforts to a 6-acre area 
surrounding the property and removed at least 17 more kits. Overall, 
the Corps spent over $4.6 million on this project, which represented 
about 95 percent of all the environmental restoration funds it had 
spent in Guam. To fund this unexpected effort, the Corps reallocated 
funds from other projects within its Pacific Ocean Division and from 
other sources, such as Corps headquarters. 

Conclusions: 

Despite DODís efforts to identify environmentally contaminated locations
in Guam, it is likely that some contamination has yet to be discovered.
Because DOD agencies now limit their efforts to search for the 
contamination and instead rely primarily on others to identify such
locations, it is important to have a clearly understood process in 
place for referring those locations to DOD. Although stakeholders 
raised no major concerns about the process for active DOD 
installations, the Corpsí process for adding potentially contaminated 
locations to its formerly used defense site inventory is unclearóboth 
the procedures to follow and the information to include. Without a 
clear process, the Corps cannot ensure that it is carrying out its 
environmental responsibilities properly. Furthermore, stakeholders 
cannot be assured that they are meeting the Corpsí information needs. 
Stakeholders need to better understand the process for referring 
potentially contaminated locations to the Corps because the 
stakeholders are the persons and entities most likely to make 
referrals. Moreover, once the referrals have been made, communications
between the Corps and its stakeholders about actions the Corps plans to
take have been ineffective. Without knowing the actions that the Corps
plans to take on referrals, stakeholders have no assurance that the 
Corps has properly considered the referrals to determine whether the 
potential locations should be added to the inventory. By not effectively
communicating with stakeholders, the Corpsí process is not transparent,
and stakeholders lack the assurance they seek that the Corpsí 
restoration program is properly implemented in Guam. 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

To improve DODís management of the process for identifying 
contamination on formerly used defense sites in Guam, we recommend
that the secretary of the Department of Defense direct the secretary of 
the Department of the Army to develop written guidelines for 
stakeholders in Guam to use when referring locations of suspected 
contamination to the Corps. The Army should also identify the 
information that stakeholders should include when making such 
referrals. 

To improve stakeholdersí overall understanding of DODís restoration 
program on formerly used defense sites in Guam, we recommend that the
secretary of the Department of Defense direct the secretary of the
Department of the Army to improve efforts to communicate with 
stakeholders in Guam to better inform them about policies and procedures
for stakeholders to use when referring potential locations to the Corps 
and the actions the Corps plans to take on the referrals it receives. 
One way to do this would be to establish a restoration advisory board 
for formerly used defense sites in Guam. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

We provided DOD with a draft of this report for its review and comment.
DOD responded that, except for one concern, the draft report represented
a fair and accurate assessment of the Corpsí efforts to identify new
potentially contaminated sites in Guam and coordinate cleanup of those
sites with regulators and other stakeholders. DOD agreed with our
recommendations to develop written guidelines on its referral process 
and to improve communications with stakeholders in Guam. DODís one
concern was that some information that it had provided to us during our
review, such as clarifying the types of materials found in Guam and the
conditions under which the Corps would establish a restoration advisory
board in Guam, was left out of the report. In finalizing our report,
however, we incorporated these and other DOD suggestions as 
appropriate. 

Regarding our recommendation that the Army develop written guidelines 
for stakeholders in Guam to use when referring locations of suspected
contamination to the Corps, DOD agreed and stated that it would publish
such written guidelines and make them publicly available. DOD also 
stated that its process in Guam could be improved and that the Corps has
undertaken a programwide improvement initiative to better coordinate
cleanup of formerly used defense sites with regulators and stakeholders.
One aspect of the initiative is the development of management action
plans, which also provide regulators with the opportunity to communicate
with the Corps on cleanup priorities and to notify the Corps about 
other potentially contaminated locations. DOD stated that in response 
to our recommendation, and as a first step in developing a management 
action plan in Guam, it would direct the Army to convene interagency 
meetings with Guam EPA to review the list of formerly used defense 
sites and develop an updated inventory. 

Regarding our recommendation that the Army improve efforts to 
communicate with stakeholders in Guam, DOD agreed and said it would
direct the Army to develop a community relations plan for Guam that
describes the information needs of the community and tools the Corps can
use to reach out to the community, such as public meetings and
information papers. Through these tools, DOD stated that the Corps
would also be able to better communicate its procedures for referring
potentially contaminated locations. DOD also stated that establishment 
of restoration advisory boards would be considered if there is 
sufficient, sustained community interest and cleanup projects are 
planned on the island. As we stated in our report, such boards are one 
way to improve communications with stakeholders in Guam. 

DOD also provided technical corrections, which we incorporated as
appropriate. DODís written comments on the draft report are included in
appendix I. 

Scope and Methodology: 

To determine the process used by DOD to identify potentially 
contaminated locations in Guam and determine what locations were
identified, we reviewed relevant federal laws and regulations and DOD
policies and procedures and discussed DODís environmental restoration
program with DOD officials. We also visited DOD officials in Hawaii and
Guam to discuss the program and document their efforts to identify
environmental contamination in Guam. We reviewed each military
serviceís inventory of potentially contaminated locations in Guam and 
the method by which the locations were discovered. We also discussed 
DODís current inventory of contaminated locations with Guam EPA 
officials and other stakeholders. 

To determine the nature and extent of concerns about the environmental
restoration program raised by regulators and other stakeholders, we 
discussed the program with Guam EPA officials and other interested 
parties in Guam, such as restoration advisory board members and EPA
officials. To evaluate the concerns raised by stakeholders, we reviewed
relevant federal laws and regulations and DOD environmental restoration
program policies and procedures and discussed the program with DOD 
headquarters and field officials. We also analyzed program funding in
Guam and nationally. We did not independently verify DODís funding data,
which forms the basis for DODís annual report to the Congress and is
publicly available. 

We conducted our work from June 2001 to March 2002 in accordance with
generally accepted government auditing standards. 

As arranged with your offices, unless you publicly announce its contents
earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 5 days 
after the date of this letter. At that time, we will send copies of the 
report to the secretary of defense; the administrator, Environmental 
Protection Agency; and the administrator, Guam Environmental Protection 
Agency. We will make copies available to others on request. 

If you or your staff have any questions, please call me at (202) 512-
3841. Key contributors to this report are listed in appendix II. 

Signed by: 

(Ms.) Gary L. Jones: 
Director, Natural Resources and Environment: 

Appendix I: Comments from the Department of Defense: 

Office Of The Under Secretary Of Defense: 
Acquisition, Technology And Logistics: 
3000 Defense Pentagon: 
Washington, DC 20301-3000: 

April 4, 2002: 

Ms. Gary L. Jones: 
Director, Natural Resources and Environment: 
U.S. General Accounting Office: 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 

Dear Ms. Jones: 

This is the Department of Defense (DoD) response to the General 
Accounting Office (GAO) draft report, GAO-02-423, Environmental 
Contamination: Process for Dealing with Formerly Used Defense Sites in 
Guam Needs Strengthening, (GAO Code 360092). 

In the attached response, DoD comments that with the exception of some 
information previously provided to GAO about the FUDS program on Guam 
that was not incorporated in the report, the draft report represents a 
fair and accurate assessment of the Army Corps of Engineers' efforts to 
identify new sites and coordinate Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) 
cleanup with regulators and the community. 

For these reasons, DoD concurs with the first recommendation that the 
Army Corps of Engineers develop procedures for regulatory agencies and 
other stakeholders to use when referring locations of suspected 
contamination on Guam to the Army Corps of Engineers. DoD will direct 
Army to prepare a management action plan inventory of FUDS on Guam in 
coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and 
Guam EPA, and publish written guidelines for referral of new sites. 

In regard to the second recommendation, DoD concurs that the Army Corps 
of Engineers should improve efforts to communicate with stakeholders in 
Guam. DoD will direct Army to develop a community involvement plan for 
FUDS activities on Guam which will help raise community awareness and 
provide opportunities for community participation in planned FUDS 
activities. DoD will also direct the Army, where appropriate, to 
establish Restoration Advisory Boards (RABs) for FUDS on Guam. 

My point of contact on this matter, Mr. Kurt Kratz (703) 697-5372, is 
available to discuss our responses to recommendations and additional 
comments provided on this document. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

Philip W. Leon, for: 

Raymond	F. DuBois, Jr. 
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations and Environment): 

Attachment: 

GAO Draft Report Dated February 28, 2002: 
(GAO Code 360092) 

"Environmental Contamination: Process For Dealing With Formerly
Used Defense Sites In Guam Needs Strengthening" 

Department Of Defense Comments To The Gao Recommendations: 

Recommendation 1: To improve DoD's management of the process for 
identifying contamination on formerly used defense sites in Guam, the 
GAO recommended that the Secretary of the Department of Defense direct 
the Secretary of the Department of the Army to develop procedures for 
stakeholders in Guam to use when referring locations of suspected 
contamination to the Corps. The Army should also identify the 
information that stakeholders should include when making such 
referrals. (pp. 15-16/GAO Draft Report) [Now on page 17] 

DoD Response: DoD concurs with the recommendation. Although DoD 
contends that the Corps has verbally communicated procedures for 
regulatory agencies to use when referring locations of suspected 
contamination to the Corps and has made an effort to coordinate 
identification of suspected contamination with regulatory agencies, DoD 
agrees that communication with regulatory agencies and other 
stakeholders on Guam could be further improved. Towards that end, over 
the last year the Corps of Engineers, under the Army's direction, has 
undertaken a number of initiatives nationally with states, tribes, and 
EPA, to better communicate and coordinate cleanup with stakeholders as 
part of an overall FUDS Improvement Initiative. One recommendation 
resulting from the initiative is the development of state-wide 
management action plans (MAPs). Plan development would provide an 
opportunity for regulatory agencies to communicate priorities on 
cleanup as well as notify the Corps of Engineers about other sites. In 
response to GAO's recommendation, therefore, DoD will direct the Army, 
as a first step toward implementation of a MAP, to convene interagency 
meetings with Guam EPA to review the list of FUDS properties on the 
island, and develop a management action plan inventory, after 
completion of the current archival search. DoD will also direct the 
Army to develop specific written guidelines for regulatory agencies and 
the public to use in referring new sites to the Corps of Engineers, and 
to make those guidelines publicly available. 

Recommendation 2: To improve stakeholders' overall understanding of 
DoD's restoration program on formerly used defense sites in Guam, the 
GAO recommended that the Secretary of the Department of Defense direct 
the Secretary of the Department of the Army to improve efforts to 
communicate with stakeholders in Guam to better inform them about 
policies and procedures for stakeholders to use when referring 
potential locations to the Corps and the actions the Corps plans to 
take on the referrals it receives. One way to do this would be to 
establish a restoration advisory board (RAB) for formerly used defense 
sites in Guam. (p. 16/GAO Draft Report) [Now on page 17] 

DoD Response: DoD concurs with the recommendation to improve 
communications with stakeholders, especially community members. DoD 
will direct the Army develop a community relations plan for Guam which 
describes information needs of the community and tools the Corps of 
Engineers can use for outreach. DoD envisions, that at least initially, 
public meetings and information papers will be used to reach out to the 
community. Through these vehicles, the Corps will be able to 
communicate procedures for referring potential contaminant locations. 
Establishment of a RAB will be considered provided there is sufficient, 
sustained community interest and cleanup projects are planned on the 
island. 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Contacts: 

William R. Swick (206) 287-4851: 
Byron S. Galloway (202) 512-7247: 

Staff Acknowledgments: 

In addition to the above, Don Cowan, Jonathan Dent, Doreen Feldman,
Susan Irwin, and Stan Stenersen made key contributions to this report. 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] For this report, the term ďstakeholdersĒ means EPA or Guam EPA 
regulators, restoration advisory board members, or community members. 

[2] The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and 
Liability Act of 1980, as amended, governs cleanup of the Nationís most 
severely contaminated federal and nonfederal hazardous waste sites. The 
Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, which amended 
that act, formally established DODís environmental restoration program. 
In addition, under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, 
as amended, a facility that treats, stores, or disposes of hazardous 
waste must clean up current and prior contamination under an order or 
as a condition of obtaining a permit from EPA or a state agency 
authorized by EPA. 

[3] Under the Base Realignment and Closure program, DOD identifies and 
implements domestic military base realignments and closures authorized 
by federal legislation during 1988-1995. 

[4] We are currently examining the process DOD uses to determine that 
no further action is needed to clean up formerly used defense sites. 

[5] Included in this estimate are DOD costs for addressing 
contamination on active installations as well as formerly used defense 
sites and properties removed from DODís control as part of its Base 
Realignment and Closure program. 

[6] In addition to searches conducted under the environmental 
restoration program, some installations conducted searches for solid 
waste locations to address requirements under the Resource Conservation 
and Recovery Act of 1976, as amended, and some Navy installations 
conducted searches to meet DOD property transfer requirements under the
Base Realignment and Closure program. 

[7] A number of the locations initially identified in the searches were 
not added to the Guam inventory because they were duplicate locations 
or did not meet program eligibility requirements. For example, one of 
the Corpsí searches in Guam identified hundreds of potentially 
contaminated locations, but after analyzing the data and doing some 
additional investigation, the Corps added only 32 locations to its 
inventory. Corps officials said that all the locations identified were 
not included in its inventory, among other reasons, because the 
locations were (1) duplicates, (2) situated on active DOD 
installations, and (3) transferred from DOD control after October 17, 
1986, which was the cutoff point for eligibility as formerly used 
defense sites, in which case the transferring agency would be 
responsible. 

[8] The Corps Pacific Ocean Division has jurisdiction over the Honolulu 
and Alaska District Offices. The Honolulu District Office includes 
Hawaii, Guam, and other U.S. territories and possessions in the 
Pacific. 

[9] Guamís population growth rate averaged 2.3 percent annually between 
1990 and 2000, almost twice the national average of 1.2 percent over 
the same period. 

[10] Funding figures in this report exclude program management and 
support costs. 

[11] For more information on the types of cleanup in Guam and 
nationwide, see U.S. General Accounting Office, Environmental 
Contamination: Cleanup Actions at Formerly Used Defense Sites, 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-01-557] (Washington, D.C.: 
July 31, 2001). 

[12] For a discussion of issues associated with DODís need for a risk-
based funding approach, see U.S. General Accounting Office, 
Environmental Cleanup: Too Many High Priority Sites Impede DODís 
Program, [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO/NSIAD-94-133] 
(Washington, D.C.: Apr. 21, 1994). Program management considerations 
include several factors, such as earmarking funds for some types of 
contamination that would otherwise receive little or no funding under 
the current risk-based approach. For example, DOD has allocated about 
$40 million annually to clean up ordnance and explosive waste that 
might not be funded under a strictly risk-based allocation system. 

[End of section] 

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