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60

2011

DISHONORABLE DISPOSAL

PCBs on SINKEX vessels.” Yet this mentality of prove harm first does not place priority on human health or the environment but rather places priority on polluting practices. It is a policy that inappropriately gives pollutants constitutional rights of “innocent until proven guilty.” Meanwhile, the rest of the world has

adopted

the

Precautionary

Principle

with

respect

to

policy

and

law,

which

more

and

prudently

than

sorry”

recognizes

a

standard

of

appropriately “better safe

circumstantial evidence to authorize actions to prevent probable harm.

This principle is embodied in the 1996 London Protocol (the updating instrument of the London Convention). While the U.S. has signed the Protocol, it has failed to ratify it. The U.S. should adopt the Precautionary Principle as a matter of overarching policy while adopting more rigorous dumping controls by ratifying the London Protocol at the earliest opportunity.

Lead by Example: Honor the Waste Management Hierarchy

The Waste Management Hierarchy has long been an anchor in waste management policy. While there are several versions of the waste management hierarchy, they all are generally intended to favor waste prevention over waste reduction, waste reduction over recycling, and waste recycling over treatment, and waste treatment over disposal.

The U.S. government policies favoring cost externalization, and continued use of ocean disposal, flies in the face of the long established policy.

The most recent and active proposal along these

lines , governmental one

directed

specifically

activities,

is

the

at

U.S.

Obama

Administration’s “Lead by Example” October 2009 Executive Order 13514, entitled Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and

spur economic activity and create green jobs in America.

While ocean disposal simply moves waste and any harm stemming there from one area of the environment to another, recycling gives new life to salvageable materials while saving energy and preventing greenhouse gas emissions and destructive primary mining activity. Recycling also creates new green jobs during each cycle of material reconstitution. Artificial reefing and SINKEX both eliminate the opportunity to create these green jobs and are in stark contrast to the ARRA intentions of job creation and economic growth.

It is time that the Navy and MARAD instill the policy of recycle first as called upon by the Lead by Example executive order.

Economic

Performance.

This

Order

calls,

among many environmental leadership initiatives, that all Federal agencies prioritize recycling and waste diversion as policy. This should obviously direct the Navy and MARAD ship disposal programs to prioritize ship recycling and reuse over other means of waste disposal.

The recycling of ships creates dynamic green jobs and is consistent with the Federal green job initiatives of 2009 and 2010, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which allocated $787 billion in Federal funds to

BASEL ACTION NETWORK

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