What are Ripley’s effects downwind?

To the Editor:

Camp Ripley is a modern military training site where live-fire exercises take place all summer long, year after year.

What are the health and environmental ramifications of living in Little Falls, five miles from Camp Ripley? It seems plausible there is a correlation between Morrison County’s low state health ranking and the contaminants spewed into the atmosphere during live-fire exercises and explosions at Camp Ripley. These poisons are then shared with neighboring “downwinders,” a term used for communities within 10 miles of a military base that performs live fire bombings.

Military toxins go anywhere and kill everything. They are the quintessential universal soldier. They not only kill the enemy, they kill our military personnel and people living near military bases and pollute our water, land and air. Some of these hazardous wastes include solvents, petroleum, perchlorate, lead, mercury, white phosphorus, depleted uranium and defoliants.

Military waste disposal sites pose significant problems. Does Camp Ripley store their chemical waste or transport it elsewhere?

More than 12,000 military sites on which live explosive training takes place release perchlorate into groundwater, where it is exceedingly mobile and persists for decades.

I hope Camp Ripley’s commander will answer these questions soon. — Robin Hensel, Little Falls


  • central mn

    “Military toxins go anywhere and kill everything”, Robin have you been through Camp to see the abundance of wildlife? If the “fallout” is as bad as you say it is the place should look like the moon.

  • Concerned citizen

    Wow! You have some very valid points and questions. It would be interesting to see/hear a health/environment assessment of them?

    • robin hensel

      Well Jeff here’s the thing….the military does NOT have a stellar track record with truth regarding their own poisons and how they are monitored…if at all. Just like mining….the taxpayers always get stuck with the bill for the cleanup. The soldiers and employees are left with lifetime health problems because our Wall Street lucrative military industrial empire only cares about the profit$. Remember the SUPERFUND cleanup sites???? Almost all are former military bases. Many are in our state including….Fridley Mn Naval industrial reserve ordnance plant…another is the Twin Cities ARMY ammunition plant. And how about the New Brighton Arden Hills army ammunition plant in Arden Hills? All of these areas are still responsible for health concerns and contamination yet requiring cleanup.

      • Clifton Evans

        “Almost all are former military bases.” Robin, while military bases are included in the superfund site list, a review of the list shows that your claim is wildly exagerated. If we are going to have an adult conversation, please be genuine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Superfund_sites_in_the_United_States

        • robin hensel

          Clifton….i suggest you attend some community meetings at arden hills and fridley and hear the peoples dilema of mopping up the military areas. They are quite adult about that subject.

          • Clifton Evans

            The problems caused at Arden Hills are from decades ago when it was an Army Ammuntion Manufacturing site. I thought the discussion was about Army training sites.

  • Retha Dooley

    http://truth-out.org/news/item/2377:military-hazardous-waste-sickens-land-and-people Another article about military base hazardous waste. The “downwind” effects are real!

    • robin hensel

      thanks for pointing out this pertinent article….hopefully others will read this and it will lead to more discussion on this important topic. Our health depends on that……the public has a right to know how the Military Industrial Empire is killing people and the planet. There is a DOWNWINDERS letter to the editor I wrote on the Brainerd Dispatch 4-3-14, and next week I will be submitting DOWNWINDERS ll, and the week after that DOWNWINDERS lll, all on the Brainerd Dispatch. Thanks for caring about this all important issue.

  • Erik Warner

    Perhaps the fine folks in the Environmental Office at Camp Ripley could answer these questions. They are very knowledgeable and dedicated to preserving the resources on base.


  • Jon

    Ms Hensel,
    I am curious if you attempted to get answers to your questions from the staff in the Environmental Compliance office at Camp Ripley? Or, like many other topics you have addressed in the past, just start accusing and stirring up trouble before you know all the facts?
    I would suggest that you give them a call and you will find out that all of these items on your list have been addressed and there are test results available to prove that there are no contamination issues from Camp Ripley.
    And by the way – they don’t bomb anything out there – Bombs are dropped from planes and that is not allowed at Camp Ripley.

    • central mn

      Jon, I think it makes her feel better to make everyone else look bad BEFORE she asks any questions, that way it distracts everyone from the REAL PROBLEMS of the community.

  • tmac

    Above is an article with quite the same concerns.
    It was written in 2005. I am wondering how some of these issues have been addressed since then and which of these issues are applicable to Camp Ripley.

  • Jon

    Could someone please explain why my last post was removed from this discussion? Just because I pointed out that before accusing an organization of something you might want to ask them your questions?

    • Patrick J Bonniwell

      It’s on there, it just takes a few since every post has to be approved and moderated before being submitted to public consumption. Helps to sensor the vulgarity/obscene. Family friendly paper, even when online.

  • joker

    I would think you would be more concerned with the stink and toxins from the ethanol plant than Camp Ripley.

    • robin hensel

      Joker…maybe you will research the ethanol plant.

      • joker

        The Department of Justice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and
        the state of Minnesota recently announced comprehensive civil settlements with
        12 ethanol plants in Minnesota for alleged Clean Air Act violations. The
        settlements are the first agreement to mandate reductions in air pollution from
        the ethanol manufacturing industry.
        The government alleges that the facilities were operating in violation of the
        Clean Air Act’s New Source Review (NSR) provisions. The Clean Air Act’s NSR
        program requires a source to install pollution controls and undertake other pre-construction obligations to control air pollution emissions.

        The agreement announced Oct. 2 will ensure each plant installs air pollution
        control equipment to greatly reduce air emissions such as volatile organic
        compounds (VOCs) by 2,400 – 4,000 tons per year and carbon monoxide (CO)
        emissions by 2,000 tons per year. In addition to contributing to ground-level
        ozone (smog), VOCs can cause serious health problems such as cancer and other
        effects; CO is harmful because it reduces oxygen delivery to the body’s organs
        and tissues. The settlement also will result in annual reductions of nitrogen
        oxides (NOx) by 180 tons, particulate matter (PM) by 450 tons and hazardous air
        pollutants by 250 tons. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) being released by the
        ethanol plants include formaldehyde and acetic acid, both carcinogens. Methanol, although not known to cause cancer, is also classified as a hazardous pollutant.

        – Central Minnesota Ethanol Cooperative, Little Falls
        Robin maybe you should do your research on both subjects.

        • robin hensel

          Thank you for this excellent and disturbing information Joker. I appreciate it and yes i will investigate this also. I will spread your information far and wide. This is another alarming source of contamination and may be partly to blame for Morrison County poor health ranking.

    • josh

      I was thinking the same thing as ethanol is not an environmentally efficient energy source.

      • robin hensel

        A friend emailed me three articles about tge ethanol plant in little falls converting and changing hands last year. I attend almost all meetings and heard all the transition to biologics but have not researched it.

    • robin hensel

      Joker….are you the joker that sent me a letter today that reads: ” ROBIN HENSEL, Don’t move away from Little Falls. We would miss the entertainment ! ! ! ?????