Defense Infrastructure:

Environmental Cleanup of Former Naval Facilities on Vieques

GAO-07-552R: Published: Mar 26, 2007. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 2007.

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This report responds to Congress's request that GAO determine the status and estimated costs of environmental cleanup on the island of Vieques. For decades, the U.S. Navy conducted ship-to-shore bombing exercises and other live-fire training activities on the island, which is located off the coast of Puerto Rico. The Navy ceased its operations on Vieques in 2003. The Navy has transferred the land to the Municipality of Vieques and the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust for conservation purposes and to the Department of the Interior. Although the land has been transferred, the Navy remains responsible for environmental cleanup. The cleanup is being carried out under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP) that consists of (1) the Installation Restoration Program, which addresses cleanup of hazardous substances, and (2) the Military Munitions Response Program, which addresses cleanup of munitions.

The Navy has identified 37 potentially contaminated sites on Vieques that fall under the installation restoration program. The Navy concluded that no further action was required for 9 of these sites, and the remaining 28 sites are in various phases of the cleanup process. The Navy has allocated about $18.1 million for the investigation and cleanup of these sites through fiscal year 2006 and estimates that an additional $15.2 million is needed to complete cleanup.

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