September 19, 2008

Pentagon Said Blocking Pollution Cleanup

Efforts to force the Pentagon to clean up polluted military sites have led to U.S. Defense Department retaliation, state environmental officials say.

A group representing California, Colorado, Alabama, Ohio and about a dozen other states said in Washington they have been pressured by the Pentagon to back off the oversight of cleanup at polluted military sites. In some cases, the Defense Department allegedly held back federal oversight dollars due the states, the group said.

The disclosures came during a U.S. Senate hearing Thursday on the Pentagon's refusal to follow Environmental Protection Agency orders to clean up three military bases. These include Fort Meade in Maryland, McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey and Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.

Wayne Arny, deputy undersecretary of defense, told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that he wasn't aware that the Pentagon had cut or threatened to withhold any oversight money. He said if he finds it to be true, he will stop the practice.