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Parliamentary questions
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30 January 2018
Question for written answer P-000525-18
to the Commission
Rule 130
Sofia Ribeiro (PPE)

 Subject:  Pollution on Terceira Island, Azores, Portugal
 Answer in writing 

The US military presence on Terceira Island dates back to the Second World War, with the signing of a bilateral agreement with Portugal. This presence, now much reduced, left behind a hazardous environmental footprint resulting from the activities carried out by US forces (the storage of fuel and munitions and an accumulation of pollutants in various parts of the island).

This was acknowledged by the US armed forces themselves in 2005 in the ‘Hydrogeological Study Report, Lajes Field’ drawn up by CH2M HILL KAISERSLAUTERN, which was made public in 2008. Since then, the situation has sparked public concern with a number of unofficial studies describing the extent of the pollution. Soil and groundwater have not yet been fully decontaminated, and there is a serious risk that Terceira Island residents could be exposed to high levels of pollution.

The Portuguese Government and US Administration have been unable to reach agreement on their respective responsibilities, specifically on who should carry out the decontamination work and who should pay for action to remove this threat to public health.

1) Is the Commission aware of this situation in an EU outermost region?

2) Which European agencies could be brought in to carry out an independent assessment of this pollution?

3) Are there any European mechanisms capable of resolving this situation and enforcing complete and effective decontamination, and of ensuring that the bodies involved shoulder their responsibilities?

Original language of question: PT 
Last updated: 5 February 2018Legal notice