Edward James Olmos Accuses Puerto Rico, Washington of Delaying Vieques Bombing Range Cleanup
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Edward James Olmos criticized the United States and Puerto Rico on Tuesday for not moving faster to clean up the site of a former bombing range on Vieques Island.
Olmos, an Oscar nominee for 1988's "Stand and Deliver," said officials "have done nothing" to restore an area that environmentalists say is tainted by dangerous pollutants nearly four years after the departure of the U.S. Navy.
"We are not going to stop until we make them see that a (cleanup) is necessary," Olmos said at a news conference in the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan.
The Navy, which withdrew from Vieques in May 2003 following three years of steady protests, has begun controlled detonations of unexploded bombs in sections of the 21-mile-long island and nearby waters.
This has sparked renewed protests by residents who say the explosions are causing more environmental damage on Vieques, some 6 miles off the southeastern coast of mainland Puerto Rico.
Olmos, 59, also urged Puerto Rican legislators to block the construction of large tourist resorts on undeveloped beaches in the U.S. Caribbean territory.
The actor, who was born in East Los Angeles, was among the celebrities who were arrested for trespassing to thwart U.S. Navy bombing exercises on Vieques. "I believe it is wrong to practice near where people live, period," he said in a press conference in 2001.
He trespassed onto the firing range in a fishing boat along with environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy and New York labor leader Dennis Rivera.
Olmos' TV credits include "Battlestar Galactica" on the SciFi Channel, a network of NBC Universal, and the '80s series "Miami Vice."
Source: Associated Press