Assemblywoman asks Governor to provide public inspection reports in response to alarming report of exposure at sites across the nation
Assemblywoman Elizabeth Maher Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) on Friday called on the Christie administration to provide information on New Jersey’s National Guard sites after an investigative report published on NJ.com revealed that hundreds of National Guard armories across the country have been contaminated with lead dust for decades, exposing soldiers, employees and the public to dangerous levels of toxic lead dust.
“We are all too familiar with the devastating, adverse health effects of exposure to lead dust. It is alarming to learn that so many people – soldiers, employees and families attending events – have been put at risk,” said Muoio. “It is imperative that we determine if any of our New Jersey sites have been compromised and what actions have been, or need to be, taken to ensure the safe continued use of these facilities.”
The report revealed decades-long inadequate implementation of procedures for inspections and remediation as well as inadequate oversight by the Defense Department and Nation Guard Bureau of local/state compliance. New Jersey was among a handful of states that did not respond to the reporter’s FOIA and/or OPRA requests for inspection documents of its 20 armory sites.
In response, Muoio sent a letter to Gov. Christie Friday asking for a report from Adjutant General Cunniff regarding the status of all of New Jersey’s sites and the release of inspection reports for the past 10 years.
According to the report, all converted armories are supposed to have annual inspections and many states hired contractors or did the inspections and requisite clean-up on their own. Last September, the National Guard Bureau ordered all states to inspect all of their facilities.
“I strongly believe Governor Christie and General Cunniff are committed to providing safe facilities for members of our dedicated National Guard, their families and the public and look forward to hearing from them regarding the status of our facilities,” added Muoio.
A full copy of Muoio’s letter to Gov. Christie can be viewed here