If you recall my letter that I mailed on February 23rd, 2010 to The Honorable Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy at 1000 Navy Pentagon, Washington, DC [its envelope marked Personal], I had requested that Mr. Mabus respond after speaking with Gary Berntsen, who is running for Congress, Congressional District 1. I had posed the problem to Mr. Berntsen during the launching of his GOP campaign back in February. At the beginning of April, I received a letter, not from Mr. Mabus, but from a Mr. Roger M. Natsuhara (Acting). That is how he signed off: (Acting). The letterhead reads: THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY (ENERGY, INSTALLATIONS & ENVIRONMENT). A quick check on the Internet verified that he was, indeed, the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy. I state this categorically because assistants and acting assistants seem to change as frequently as folks change their underwear. On March 5, 2010, Jackalyne Pfannensteil was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installation and Environment). That appointment occurred 21 days before Mr. Natsuhara sent his letter to me. Isn't that interesting? Anyhow, here is the man's letter to Donna and me:
March 26, 2010
Dear Mr. Banfelder and Ms. Derasmo:
Thank you for your February 23, 2010 letter regarding environmental investigations and cleanup at the Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant in Calverton, New York. I am responding on behalf on (sic) the Secretary of the Navy. The Navy is taking all appropriate actions to investigate and cleanup [sic] this site as quickly as possible.
The Navy is required to follow specific environmental cleanup laws and regulations and has obtained concurrence from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to conduct investigation and cleanup actions. NYSDEC concurred in the Navy's short-term remedy to protect the drinking water at the Peconic River Sportsman's Club (PRSC), which consisted of groundwater treatment and monitoring. The PRSC well is the only affected potable water supply in the area. The short-term remedy is in place and Navy is working with PRSC to install a new potable water line. NYSDEC also concurred in removal of 21,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil. That project is scheduled to be completed by May 2010. In December 2009, NYSDEC found that all water samples collected to date were well below water quality standards for the Peconic River. NYSDEC requested Navy to collect additional samples for inclusion in the site cleanup plan, which will be submitted to NYSDEC for concurrence later this year.
The New York State Department of Health is the appropriate agency to address your concerns regarding cancer rates in Suffolk County and fish advisories. Mr. Steve Karpinski has indicated he can address these issues for you and can be reached at (518) 402-7880.
Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding this site. For more detailed and technical information on this matter, I encourage you to attend the next Restoration Advisory Board meeting on April 22, at 7:00 pm at the Calverton Community Center.
Roger M. Natsuhara
As you will note from Mr. Natsuhara's letter, he claims that immediate action has been taken and further steps will follow in order to resolve this issue. Be reminded of the Navy's rhetoric that we have heard in the past. The toxic plume still threatens the groundwater as well as the Peconic River here in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York. Note that tests of wells (Mr. Roger M. Natsuhara posits but a single well) in the area conducted by the Navy and the Suffolk County Health Department have found high concentrations of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), 200 times higher than the state's allowable drinking water standards. Additionally, we are dealing with Volatile Organic Compounds leaching into the Peconic River. Mr. Berntsen had stated to me at the launching of his campaign (personnel from Riverhead News-Review were present) that he knows Mr. Mabus personally and would address the matter with him directly.
I waited two weeks and a day before e-mailing Mr. Berntsen, copying him with my letter to the Secretary of the Navy, in order for Mr. Mabus and Mr. Berntsen to converse with regard to this deplorable situation. I did not receive a reply from Mr. Berntsen. After receiving Mr. Natsuhara's letter, not Mr. Mabus's response, I can only assume that a conversation between Mr. Mabus and Mr. Berntsen never transpired. Nor do I think that Mr. Natsuhara was acting in good faith because of the time frame mentioned above. Is this politics as usual? It's a good bet. Here's my e-mail to Mr. Berntsen:
From: Robert Banfelder
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 9:38 AM
Subject: US Navy -- Toxic Plume
At your campaign kick-off meeting at Polish Hall in Riverhead, I mentioned the toxic plume that is caused by the US Navy's cleaning of aircraft at the Grumman facility in Calverton. You had said that you would get in touch with the Secretary of the the Navy regarding this health-threatening issue.
Below is the letter, which I sent to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, regarding the issue:
Inserted February 23, 2010 letter.
Donna and I wholeheartedly believe in you as the candidate that will bring us forward while honoring the principles established by our forefathers.
Very best regards,
P.S. Finished Jawbreaker (as you may recall); halfway finished with Human Intelligence, Counterterrorism & National Leadership: A Practical Guide; will start Walk-In shortly.
With regard to the conclusion of Mr. Natsuhara's letter to Donna and me, we will most assuredly attend the next scheduled Restoration Advisory Board's meeting on April 22nd, 2010. Too, we'll certainly keep you posted.
Causes Robert Banfelder Supports
Breast Cancer Research Foundation