Green on Green

By Robert Bateman

A recent article in The Post highlighted an interesting dustup between the Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Apparently the Pentagon is considered the country's biggest polluter, with polluted military sites accounting for 10 percent of Superfund sites. Granted, some of those posts have been abandoned since 1919. But the EPA wants them cleaned up, and the Pentagon is on the hook. Fair enough.

The question is how to make that happen. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Wayne Arny told a Senate panel last week that some of the EPA's cleanup plans were "excessive" and that the Pentagon wanted to do its own thing. Sen. Barabara Boxer (D-Calif.) countered: "I don't want the EPA making decisions on war strategy, and I don't want you making decisions on environmental cleanup, because you have an interest in the easiest way out."

I'm not a big fan of Boxer. She has said some pretty stupid things with regards to issues of national security and the military. But one must give props when props are due. And in this case, she's right.

Now, of course, it's incumbent upon her and her peers to provide the Pentagon with sufficient funds to actually do that clean-up in accordance with the Superfund efforts. The current allocation of $30 million across 129 sites? Positively pathetic.

In other words, people can't have it both ways. Me, I'm for the clean up. I hope that Congress will be as well, and I expect Sen. Boxer to lead the charge for more reality-based funding.

By |  September 19, 2008; 5:45 PM ET
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Not sure where you got that number, the Pentagon has their own cleanup budget outside the EPA Superfund accounting. Ala 2004:

"The Bush administration has proposed cuts in the Pentagon's budget for environmental cleanups in each of the past three years. Congress has refused to approve some of the reductions. Even so, overall spending to clean up polluted military sites, including closed bases, has dropped 20% since 2001, from $2.1 billion a year to $1.68 billion."

$30M is probably about what the Feds give the states to monitor cleanups.

Posted by: srv | September 22, 2008 10:49 PM

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