[fla-left] [news] Vieques residents want $40 million for Navy bombs (fwd)

Michael Hoover hoov at SPAMfreenet.tlh.fl.us
Tue May 30 18:07:37 MDT 2000

forwarded by Michael Hoover

> Vieques residents want $40 million for Navy bombs
> Compiled from staff and wire reports
> Published in The Orlando Sentinel on May 25, 2000
> WASHINGTON -- A lawyer representing residents of the Puerto Rican
> island of Vieques said Wednesday his clients are seeking at least $40
> million in damages from the Navy, which has used the island as a target
> range for decades.
> John Arthur Eaves Jr., a lawyer from Jackson, Miss., said he is filing
> more than 200 claims this week asking the Navy to repay residents for
> years of bombings. Eaves says the bombings have contributed to higher
> rates of cancer and other illnesses among residents than exist among
> inhabitants of nearby islands.
> If the Navy does not agree to compensate residents within six months,
> Eaves said, his firm will file suit to recover damages. "If you go to
> Vieques, every family in some way has had to deal with cancer," he told
> a news conference in Washington.
> The Navy would not comment.
> The Clinton administration is working with Congress on directives that
> would provide $40 million in economic development assistance to
> Vieques, plus another $50 million if islanders approve a referendum to
> resume live-fire training at the bombing range. Currently, the military is
> limited to inert munitions.
> The Navy has used Vieques as a training ground since 1941, firing live
> ammunition and dropping bombs on the eastern part of the island and in
> the water along its coast. Residents have long claimed the bombings
> churn up dust contaminated with toxins that are blown onto the
> inhabited portion of the island.
> Vieques was closed to the military in April 1999 after a Marine-piloted
> plane dropped two bombs off target, killing a civilian security guard.
> The Navy reopened the range this month after federal agents removed
> protesters from the training site.
> White House officials called some stateside religious leaders to a
> meeting Wednesday to discuss Vieques and try to get support for
> President Clinton's directives, which face a battle next month in the
> Senate. Those invited included representatives from the National
> Council of Churches and the Methodist Church, whose governing body
> backed a resolution opposing more bombing.
> A coalition of religious leaders in Puerto Rico opposes the directives.
> Puerto Rico government officials back the arrangement, saying it's the
> best deal they could get and that Vieques residents are sure to vote the
> Navy out.
> Ivan Roman of the San Juan bureau contributed to this report.
> _____________________________________________________

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