Bountiful City Manager Tom Hardy was quoted in the Nov. 17 Clipper as saying that “the Forest Service is on the hook” for environmental cleanup costs at the Bountiful Gun Range. He reiterated that “[r]ight now” cleanup responsibility “rests with the Forest Service.”
That is usually what federal law requires. What Mr. Hardy neglects to tell us, however, is that the bill signed by Pres. Obama to allow the land swap for Bountiful City to acquire the gun range would require Bountiful to “assume all liability for the shooting range located on the Federal land, including the past, present, and future condition of the Federal land” and “hold the United States harmless for any liability for the condition of the Federal land” if it takes the property. H.B. 604, 111th Congress, 1st Session, page 4, lines 10-17 (emphasis added).
Residents of Bountiful City should demand that no land swap occur unless and until the nearly $2 million environmental cleanup identified by the recent study is completed by the federal government. We can certainly put $2 million to better use that benefits all of the city.