Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy


Laura Zippel


The EPA currently regulates the Navy program Sink Exercise (SINKEX) under a permit issued under the Ocean Dumping Act. The Navy regards SINKEX as both a “live fire exercise,” important for the training of sailors in tactics and operations, and as a ship disposal program. Due to the toxic materials used to construct the derelict ships–including PCBs, asbestos, and lead–a case was filed in San Francisco District Court alleging that the EPA is required to regulate and permit SINKEX under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This comment addresses the complexities arising from EPA permitting of SINKEX, including a comparison of the Ocean Dumping Act with the TSCA, military waivers and exemptions present in both statutes, and a discussion of possible interagency cooperation and enforcement measures this may implicate. This comment concludes that the most effective method for disposing of derelict ships while maintaining environmental and human health as well as national security is legislative reform and an increased budget for disposal.

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