Camp Ripley — An environmental model

By Col. Scott St. Sauver, Guest Columnist

I would like to address a recent letter as it relates to Camp Ripley’s environmental management program. I respect individual freedom to express opinion and appreciate the opportunity to respond. The mission of Camp Ripley is only as strong as the environment and communities within which it belongs. Our philosophy of maintaining the “Triple Bottom Line” of mission, environment and community are paramount to our success. 

As the Post Commander, my primary goal is to ensure that our soldiers and civilian customers receive the highest level of training possible because their lives depend on it. Camp Ripley’s state of the art training facilities are integral to achieving this goal while equally important is a quality training environment. The health, safety, and well-being of our soldiers, civilian customers, families and communities depend on it. We live here, work here and raise our families here making environmental management one of my most important considerations every day.

Camp Ripley has been recognized repeatedly at the state and national level for accomplishments in protecting the environment. These accomplishments are a collaborative effort complementing partnerships with numerous state, federal and local agencies. We also rely heavily on the scientific contributions from academic institutions such as Saint Cloud State University, University of Minnesota and Central Lakes College.

We maintain a very robust land, air and water monitoring program and for over 25 years have met not only our regulatory reporting requirements but also our responsibility and accountability to our citizenry as the stewards of 53,000 acres of “pure” Minnesota. Did you know that the strongest indicators of a healthy environment are the flora and fauna that are documented within that ecosystem? Camp Ripley has over 60 “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” highlighting an ecological diversity not only unique to Minnesota but the entire Midwest. We have the second largest concentration of Blanding’s turtles in the state, largest nesting population of Red Shouldered Hawks in the Midwest, a premier white-tail deer population, and over 650 species of plant life.

While petroleum, munitions and other wastes are inherent to all military operations they do not pose a hazard when managed in accordance with all environmental regulations which is the case at Camp Ripley. Hazardous wastes generated on Camp Ripley during operations are not disposed of on the installation. They are carefully packaged and shipped to a permitted treatment and disposal facility. In doing so it embodies our philosophy of managing hazardous materials from “cradle to grave” to ensure environmental protection.

The idea of spewing contaminants into the environment is alarming and could not be any further from the truth. Live-fire bombing, while interesting terminology, doesn’t accurately reflect what the Army calls live fire service practice. We do conduct live fire of all small and large caliber weapon systems including tanks, cannons, and rockets. We also maintain the capability to air deliver munitions ordinance into our impact areas though we have not conducted this type of training in many years. We have not nor will we use depleted uranium for any of our operations. For many of our large caliber systems we use training ammunition designed specifically to reduce the environmental impact. With the exception of herbicides that are used in accordance with strict regulations to control noxious and invasive vegetation, defoliants are not used on Camp Ripley.

A true testament to the condition of Camp Ripley’s environment is the results from years of comprehensive monitoring our water resources. Studies dating back to the mid-1980s have demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt that military operations have not been detrimental. Ground water monitoring results have documented full compliance with safe drinking water standards. The water quality of all Camp Ripley streams is superior to that of the Mississippi River where they discharge. An interesting scientific fact of water quality is the diversity of the dragon fly population. While Morrison County has seven species of dragon flies, Camp Ripley has documented 37 species and this is directly linked to the quality of our installation’s water resources.

We invite anyone interested in seeking more information on our environmental management program to contact us at anytime. The Minnesota National Guard is steadfast in its stewardship of the environment and I am confident that our track record at Camp Ripley speaks for itself.

 

Col. Scott St. Sauver is the Post Commander at Camp Ripley, Little Falls.

  • tmac

    Thanks for the quick response to last weeks letter and thanks for the positive information.

  • LF Taxpayer

    Facts will not suppress the Left’s hysteria.

    • robin hensel

      Contaminants know no political boundaries…they kill everyone regardless of political ideology. Guess you want poison in your air and water. I do not.

  • Clifton Evans

    Thoughtful and well written response to a baseless claim.

    • robin hensel

      So how much $$$ have u garnered from the great BIG GOVERNMENT SOCIAL WELFARE MILITARY in your lifetime clifton? Vets are apprehensive to speak out about the poisons killing their families because if they speak out their families lose their only healthcare. Great big BIG GOVERNMENT PROBLEM. Is the military not just a huge social welfare program? Seems like it to me. BIGGEST EVER! With plenty of veneration besides.

      • Mitch Rapp

        Is the military not just the force that fights and wins our Nation’s wars? I think you lose sight of the fact that our fine men and women in uniform do a lot more than just collect a paycheck. Also, It’s absolutely ridiculous to think that vets will somehow lose their only healthcare if they speak out against poisons. Where do you honestly come up with lines like that?

        • robin hensel

          Mitch Rapp…here is but one of thousands of sources of telling information from vets themselves about how if they report their illnesses as related to military activity they may not have the government military healthcare any longer. Watch this interesting documentary and pay close attention to the supervisor of the cleanup of the contamination was even doubted. “Invisible War: Depleted Uranium and the Politics of Radiation.” Report back after you watch this….tell us what you discover.

          • Mitch Rapp

            Was there supposed to be a link attached to this Robin?

          • robin hensel

            Guest…just google the article title.

          • Rick Witte

            So Robin are you then presenting that Camp Ripley poses a environmental threat to Little Falls because of the use of depleted uranium munitions or what? In this I would fail to see that they would be using depleted uranium munitions as practice rounds.

          • robin hensel

            Rick witte…..see another brainerd dispatch letter to editor on camp ripley to be published within a day or two….watch for it…i dont know what they will title it.

        • josh

          That is a very good question Mitch. Hopefully she can find some evidence that they will be punished.

      • josh

        Sounds like you really despise our military? When really you should be despising the commander in chief right now! The person you voted for. I don’t understand why you vote for big government politicians and yet complain about so called big government entities?

        • robin hensel

          au contraire Josh…I don’t despise the military…..just the bizarre amount of money spent on the war machine, and the fact that our soldiers are participating in illegal invasions, occupations, torture, illegal drone assassinations and the like. And by the way, how would you know who I voted for or if I even voted? Are you privy to info that others are not?

        • robin hensel

          Hey wait a minute…..why isn’t Jeff weighing in on this discussion. Somebody please go find him.

        • josh

          What does Jeff have to do with your response to me? Do you need to find back up? Or ask for assistance? My question is to you Ms. Hensel.

        • josh

          On who you vote for I obviously am assuming based upon what you stand for in your views. If I am wrong I apologize.
          That is why I don’t support our commander in chief but I do support the military. All Obama has done in office has largely been illegal. I don’t think Obama has a legal bone in his body, he is 10x worse than Bush was or is and I wasn’t a fan of him either.

          • robin hensel

            Josh…you are right….president obama is more of a war criminal with his illegal drone assassinations than bush was….or at least as bad.

          • josh

            Obama is by far worse. But we agree on something. I believe Obama despises this nation and hates for what we stand for.

    • Jody Scott Olson

      Sure because its not like the military is responsible for an arsenal of super-fund sites across the country or anything.

      I’m unsettled by the statement, they’re shipping it out? How? What and where to?

      • robin hensel

        I am concerned about where they are shipping it also….and how much is the cost to the taxpayer for this? Why are they not doing the processing of contaminated live fire practice exercise leftovers? A real concern that they even have to process it….that should tell everybody just how serious this issue is.

  • josh

    Thank you for the response.

  • robin hensel

    Oh I see….if a person’s Constitutional rights are actually VIOLATED, they somehow are a trough sucker? How do you possibly explain that bizarre analogy?

    • Clifton Evans

      Your rights to free speech have only been violated in the windmills of your mind. You are the only person in town who has huge illegal signs. You make wild claims against others with no evidence just to see what will ‘stick’. You have given new meaning to “bizarre”. I feel sort of sorry really, that you seem to be filled with so much hate and anger.

  • robin hensel

    LF Taxpayer…..where is Elsie Miller? Why isn’t she weighing in here with her opinion? Somebody please go find her.

  • central mn

    Robin why didn’t you jump all over Clifton for calling you a bully like you did me? (even though I agree with him) I feel like you were picking me out of the crowd, even though you resorted to calling me names (teabagger). I think my rights have been violated TOO!

    • robin hensel

      Central Mn…I have left nobody behind on the MCBLOWBACK

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