Pentagon Threatens States over Environmental Cleanup of Bases

The Washington Post's Lyndsey Layton reported on September 19 in "States Accuse Pentagon Of Threats, Retaliation:Allegations Arise in Base Cleanup Hearing" that the previous day, the Environmental Council of States testified that when environmental officials from California, Colorado, Alabama, Ohio and about a dozen other states tried to force to clean up polluted military sites, the Defense Department retaliated by reducing or withholding federal oversight dollars due them.

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

Congress gives the Pentagon about $30 million annually to dispense to states with contaminated military bases, to help pay the states' costs to oversee cleanup of those sites.

But in 2006, the Pentagon began telling some states they would no longer receive money for various oversight activities and would lose all of the money if they took enforcement action.