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Miramar gun range closed indefinitely (Article)

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by Joe Potosky, Oct 14, 2008.

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  1. Joe Potosky

    Joe Potosky Well-Known Member

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    Miramar gun range closed indefinitely

    By Ed Zieralski - UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

    October 14, 2008

    A shooting range that has offered public shotgunners a place to shoot since 1977 and has been a practice range for a couple of Olympic shooters has been ordered to shut down indefinitely because of environmental concerns.

    Once known as the Miramar Gun Range and is now the site of the San Diego Shotgun Sports Association, the range on the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar was closed by the Marines on Oct. 3 after the Association had voluntarily shut down two fields because of lead shot leaving the range.
    “The Marines' environmental department was in San Clemente Canyon at the west end of our range looking for contaminants,” said Robert Keefe, president of the San Diego Shotgun Sports Association, a 501(c)3, nonprofit entity. “They had hard hats on, and their hard hats were peppered with shot from the range. The closure order came from Marine headquarters.”

    Keefe said the Marines told him that preliminary soil samples taken by the Marines' environmental department show “substantial amounts of lead on their side of the fence.”

    Keefe said he and the association's board of directors are trying to come up with a solution to the problem and hope to meet with the Marines on Thursday.

    Compounding the problem is the fact the association's lease with the Marines is up on Dec. 31. Keefe said the association and the Marines are far apart on terms.

    “Right now, our main concern is to get the lease in place, and to come up with a plan to show that nothing will leave the lease area,” Keefe said.

    In an attempt to raise funds, Keefe has asked the association's more than 600 members for a leap of faith, to renew their memberships for 2009 even though the range is closed and there is no new lease.

    Founded as the North Island Gun Club in 1947 in Coronado, the Navy requested the range move to Miramar Naval Air Station in 1957. In 1977, it was relocated by the Navy to the south side of the base, near the junction of Highway 163 and I-15, off Kearny Villa Road. The San Diego Shotgun Sports Association formed in 2001.

    Dennis Rohman, manager at Project 2000 Shooting Range in El Cajon, said he picked up a few shooters at his range since Miramar closed, but not a significant number.

    “I hate to see that range close,” Rohman said. “It's the only range with American Trap Association shoots, the only skeet field the public can shoot at. And it's the only one in the area with international trap bunkers. It's two of 40 in the U.S., so to take two out like that, people don't realize how detrimental to the sport it is.”

    Olympic hopefuls Susan Sledge and Brian Burrows, both members of the U.S. Shooting Team, quit practicing at Miramar when the association voluntarily shut down its two international trap fields. Sledge still took first in the fall selection match last month and qualified for the World Shotgun Championships in Slovenia next year, and Burrows won the U.S. Junior Olympic Championship earlier.
     
  2. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    I find some of the comments incredulous... Men purposely walking in a shotfall fall zone during shooting and at a point close enough to have hard hats "peppered" by shot impact... if they were outside the fence and of normal height, how short is the shotfall zone and what kinds of shell loads are they allowing to be shot out there?

    If lead IS leaving the fenced portion of the range, the shotfall zone is inadequate for the activities or the shooters are disregarding shot size requirements... either problem gives Miramar justification to enforce its landowner rights to protect their adjacent property.

    If I was the leaseholder, my concerns would focus on the age of the lead deposits, who is responsible for the waste management issues and what can I do to ensure lead will not leave the fenced area in the future.

    If shooting ceases permanently, use of that parcel for other activities involving intermittent human contact with the ground will require remediation of the lead down to EPA acceptable levels.

    I don't think this is a new theatre for military action, but a lapse in range operation management.

    respectfully offered,

    Jay
     
  3. SD-99

    SD-99 TS Member

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    I love that that the board wants everyone to send in their 2009 dues even though they have not been forthcoming about the regular lease negotiations for the past year even before this new situation. Now they will not be forthcoming about their solutions to this new problem of shot outside the lease area.

    Hard to have faith in a board and management that caused this problem. Give me all the facts and I will be happy to send a check...for double or triple my dues.
     
  4. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    Being in that very situation, having had closed range and 2 years of federal environmental litigation, I asked for faith on the part of my membership and their monetary support. We were closed for 30 months.

    In all fairness to the SDSSA Board, they may not have any real handle on where this may be going at this moment. But I would encourage as open communication as is possible with the membership.

    Understand that should discussions with an attorney be required or environmental litigation be involved, the membership as a whole is not the "client", and that only a cloistered committee will retain "privilege". So if it appears at times that communication is not forthcoming or abridged or redacted, it is that folks outside of the "inner-circle" may be excluded from discussion for good reasons.

    As far as dues... an option might be to segregate 2009 dues in the event the 12/31 lease is not extended. This way dues would be easier to refund without worying about comingling funds.

    Good Luck to the folks at San Diego,

    Jay
     
  5. ronbo142

    ronbo142 TS Member

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    As a retired Marine I am appalled:

    The California environmental extremists are on the prowl and work for the Government!

    I saw this in Albany GA in the late 80's and early 90's, the base had a "Environmental" employee. I called her the "Environmental Nazi" almost closes down the skeet range and pistol range because she thought that the lead was contaminating the area. She finally gave up and moved on to another position and the base continues today to have its Skeet range and pistol range (by the way Marines shoot guns as a primary job description).

    I bet if someone had the back bone and would ask the base environmental department to test the zone 20 feet on each side of the road in the housing area they would find that the lead contamination is higher there than in the impact area.

    Ronbo
     
  6. SanDiegoShooter

    SanDiegoShooter TS Member

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    I sure hope they can figure out a solution that will get the range open again. If not, ATA shooting will be dead in San Diego for a long, long time...

    -Mike
     
  7. Avaldes

    Avaldes Well-Known Member

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    Now I am depressed. Let's hope that the Thursday meeting goes well. I suspect that reclaiming lead from the canyon might be more difficult than it is from the range.

    -Aaron
     
  8. grunt

    grunt TS Supporters TS Supporters

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  9. JBrooks

    JBrooks TS Member

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    First, just move the fence and extend the shotfall zone. It is a looong way to the runway.

    Second, according to the EPA, lead is considered a recoverable resource as long as a gun range operates. As soon as it closes, it becomes a contaminant/toxic waste and must be cleaned and mitigated.

    As such, the Marines would be better served to let the range operate. Besides, this is really bad PR. Maybe the CO hopes Obama promotes him.
     
  10. chipped1

    chipped1 TS Member

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    said Robert Keefe, president of the San Diego Shotgun Sports Association, a 501(c)3, nonprofit entity. “They had hard hats on, and their hard hats were peppered with shot from the range.

    It might be helpful to keep Robert Keefe away from the media. Maybe he should spend some time in the attic with Barack's uncle.

    Chip
     
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