Republican House Leaders Reject Pentagon Effort to Exempt Military from Health Laws

Statement by Karen Wayland, NRDC's Legislative Director

WASHINGTON (May 6, 2004) -- House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee Chairman Joel Hefley (R-CO) announced yesterday that he has no plans to consider the Pentagon's legislative request for exemptions from three public health laws: the Resource Conservation and Recovery and Liability Act (RCRA), the Superfund law (CERCLA) and the Clean Air Act. Like Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), who recently made a similar decision, Rep. Hefley criticized the Pentagon's proposed exemptions as too broad.

The following is a statement by Karen Wayland, legislative director of the Natural Resources Defense Council:

"We're pleased that members of both parties in Congress reject the Pentagon's push for unwarranted exemptions from laws that protect the air we breathe and the water we drink. No government agency should be above the law, especially not the Department of Defense -- the nation's biggest polluter. Congress recognizes that the Pentagon cannot shirk its duty to comply with laws that safeguard the health of families living on or near military bases around the country."