Military Can Maintain Readiness without Adding Risk on Homefront

WASHINGTON (March 23, 2006) -- The Department of Defense today revived efforts to have itself exempted from fundamental public health and environmental clean up laws, a move that could threaten the safety of both military personnel and civilians living on and around bases throughout the country, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The Pentagon is seeking immunity from clean air, hazardous and solid waste laws, and the Superfund law that holds polluters accountable for clean up of the nation's worst toxic waste sites. The proposal comes as part of a yearly request, repeating an effort that Congress has rebuffed three times so far.

"Military readiness will not be held up by complying with laws that protect the health and safety of soldiers and the communities surrounding hundreds of bases in America," said Heather Taylor, NRDC's deputy legislative director. "Members of both parties in Congress have already rejected these unwarranted exemptions for the nation's biggest polluter."

In past years, the Armed Services and Energy and Commerce Committees have considered similar proposals. It is likely to be deliberated this year as part of the Defense Department authorization bill.