As part of an Environment and Public Works committee hearing Wednesday on “Cleaning Up Our Nation’s Cold War Legacy Sites,” Wyoming Senator John Barrasso urged the federal government to help clean up former missile sites in Wyoming and around the west.
Senator Barrasso is the chairman of that committee, and said in his statement that the government has a responsibility to restore these sites.
“Our servicemen maintained these missiles, these sites by using vast amounts of Trichloroethylene – TCE - to clean rocket fuel lines. These soldiers had no idea that decades later that practice would create a serious negative environmental legacy,” he said.
According to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, there are several Atlas missile sites around the city of Cheyenne where the groundwater is contaminated with large plumes of TCE, one of which extends for ten miles. Barrasso said the Army Corps of Engineers has been largely unresponsive to the community’s concerns about TCE in groundwater.
“Communities want to have the proper testing done to know the size and extent of the plumes, and to where the plumes are expanding. They want to know the corps will live up to their responsibilities. They want adequate funding to ensure their safety,” Barrasso said.
Barrasso ended his statement with the hope that the Trump administration would help fix the contamination.
“Now I hear time and time again from my constituents that they feel the corps just wants to do a quick fix or simply walk away from the sites. This needs to change, and I’m hoping this new administration will bring a new attitude,” he said.