Children on Isla de Vieques
resumed with inert bombs. A political referen-
U.S. Navy Training Exercises on Vieques,
dum is to be held in November 2001 to deter-
mine whether the Navy will leave the island in
Isla de Vieques is a small island south of the
2003 or resume full-scale training.
main island of Puerto Rico on which the U.S.
Navy has a bombing range for conducting
ATSDR staff members visited the island several
training exercises. In May 1999, ATSDR
times and met with a variety of community
received a petition from a resident of Vieques to
members to determine their specific health
evaluate any health effects that might be associ-
concerns. ATSDR has provided environmental
ated with potential releases of hazardous
health education to resident and non-resident
substances as a result of bombing range activi-
health care providers for the island. During
ties. Training activities at Vieques had been
ATSDR's first visit to the island, community
halted from 1999 until June 2000 in response to
activists were camping on the live impact area
a training exercise accident in which a civilian
of the training range. ATSDR expressed concern
contractor for the Navy was killed.
to various governmental agencies about the
potential danger of unexploded ordnance on the
People who opposed the bombing training
site. Eventually, this public health threat was
conducted on the island established camps on
removed with the reinstitution of security at the
the bombing range to protest the bombings.
site. This was accomplished by agreements with
These camps of protestors included children. In
local authorities and the federal government.
June 2000, an agreement between the Governor
of Puerto Rico and the President of the United
States resulted in training exercises being
20 chapter 1