June 30, 2008

Defense Department Rejects EPA Demands

The U.S. Department of Defense is defying demands from the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct cleanup efforts at three military sites, officials say.

EPA officials said chemicals dumped at Fort Meade in Maryland and two other military installations create an imminent and substantial safety risk for residents and the environment, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The department also refused to go along with legally required contracts involving 12 additional military bases, the newspaper said. All 12 bases were on the Superfund list for having higher pollution levels than anywhere else in the nation.

The agreements sought to set up a remediation program, time-lines and permit the EPA to monitor efforts and consider penalties if work was not completed.

The Post said a deadlock between pollution regulators and the Defense Department has been mounting during President George W. Bush's administration.

The EPA is in a legal bind as tries to handle issues concerning chemicals on military sites getting into water supplies and soil, the report said.