South Korea: Gov't, USFK to conduct joint probe into oil leak : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

South Korea: Gov't, USFK to conduct joint probe into oil leak

Environment Ministry officials will conduct a joint inspection with U.S. military authorities today into a claim that a U.S. military base discharged a large amount of untreated waste oil into a major tap water source over the past 10 years.

"We've agreed with the United States Forces Korea on the joint inspection of the waste oil storage tank in question to verify the claims of the oil leakage," said a ministry official.

Officials from the ministry headquarters and the regional environment office in Wonju, Kangwon Province, will participate in the inspection.

The decision on the joint inspection came after the ministry asked USFK to confirm claims made by a local civic group, Green Korea United, following the group's shocking revelation Monday.

According to GKU, Camp Eagle in Wonju has leaked aircraft fuel spilled during oil supply maneuvers into the Som River without treatment since 1991. A tributary of the Han River, the Som is a tap water source for some 210,000 Wonju residents.

GKU activists also said the amount of leaked oil was estimated to be massive.

USFK confirmed the joint inspection of its military facilities with South Korean authorities, but did not elaborate on the incident.

"We dispatched inspection officials to Camp Eagle yesterday and they are now undergoing a verification process," said Kim Yong Kyu, a USFK spokesman. "Our official comment will be available after the verification is completed."

Meanwhile, GKU and other civic groups plan to jointly file an accusation with the prosecution today against the chief of Camp Eagle, Lieutenant Colonel Tuggle, on several counts of criminal charges.

GKU officials said that they were also considering filing an accusation against the chief of Camp Long, Camp Eagle's superior unit.

The group also plans to conduct its own investigation to look into the damage from the alleged oil leak to residents.

"The American military has unscrupulously dumped used oil into the tap water source. We will demand a through investigation and punishment for those responsible," a GKU official said.

-- Carl Jenkins (, September 26, 2000

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