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Fort Meade creates advisory panel to aid in land transfer


Fort Meade officials yesterday announced members of a new community group that will advise them on what to do with contaminated landfills and other environmental hazards on about 9,000 acres that have been or are being transferred as part of the federal base realignment process.

The 24-member Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) includes representatives from community improvement associations, environmental groups and county and state departments. The board will review landfills, underground storage tanks and land containing unexploded ordnance.

The first meeting will be held tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the Pershing Hall Conference Room on Fort Meade. It is open to the public.

"The RAB will allow the community members to review all the documents we do," explained Sara Gracey, Fort Meade's Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) environmental coordinator. She will work with the board.

Zoe B. Draughon, a board member from the Seven Oaks Homeowners Association, hopes RAB will give the community a greater say in what happens on the base.

"We all have to live with this [environmental hazards], if something goes bad over there it affects the community," she said. "With this board, there will be an open communication between the Army and the community. Not that they keep secrets, but there is a perception."

According to a 1993 federal Environmental Protection Agency study, four inactive landfills, all bordering or under Tipton Army Airfield, are contaminated. In some cases, ground water is contaminated with lead, arsenic and chromium.

The board, however, has no decision-making power. It will submit recommendations to garrison commander, Col. Robert G. Morris III. He will decide what to do with the hazards, said Ms. Gracey.

Since 1993, the Department of Defense has ordered a RAB group to be formed at every base in which land was given away because the department is liable for any hazardous material left on the site, said a spokesman for the U.S. Army Environmental Center.

Between 1991 and 1992, Fort Meade transferred 8,100 acres to the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. In October, the base will lease and eventually turn over its 366-acre Tipton Army Airfield to Anne Arundel and Howard counties.

The research center needs to clear away unexploded ordnance on the site, such as anti-tank rockets, grenades and mortars. The airport has to clear away toxic waste left over from being built over a capped landfill.

At its first meeting, the group will discuss its charter, arrange visits of the cleanup sites and determine future meetings.

For more information, call Ms. Gracey at 301-677-9854.

Board members are:

* John Baer of Annapolis, of the Sierra Club; Myke Beard of Odenton; Judith E. Burke of Severn; Joseph J. Corcoran of the Glen Burnie Improvement Association, Sawmill Creek Watershed Association and Glen Burnie Cultural Arts Association.

Ted L. Daniel of Crofton; Wylie L. Donaldson, Jr. of the Odenton Improvement Association; Zoe B. Draughon of the Seven Oaks Homeowners Association; Daniel L. Fort, of Odenton, of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Thomas H. Fosler of Severn, Meade Rifle and Pistol Club; E. Michael Greene, deputy city administrator, City of Laurel; Mary Greene of Crofton; Michael R. Hill, of Odenton, geologist. Harry Newell, Gambrills, of Maryland Wild Acres, Maryland Department of Conservation.

Debra A. O'Brennan of Severn, of Anne Arundel Community College; Mark A. Pepin, Odenton, of Greater Odenton Improvement Association and Seven Oaks Homeowners Association.

John L. Richardson of Severn; Robert K. Scrivener, Gambrills of St. Stephens Area Civic Association; John Sedlevicius of Hanover; Yolanda Takesian of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County Planning Department; Alvin Tilghman of Severn; Richard R. Trunnell, Crofton Civic Association.

Robert Weber, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County Health Department; Duane A. Wilding of Annapolis; Marshall H. Zinn of Columbia, project manager for Russett Development.

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