Monday, June 30, 2008

Military Hubris

The Pentagon has gone to war again, this time with an agency of the federal government, according to this article in the Washington Post. In terms reminiscent of Lily Tomlin's character Ernestine the Telephone Lady, the Pentagon has essentially told the EPA that it will clean up its Superfund sites when it's damned good and ready.

The Defense Department, the nation's biggest polluter, is resisting orders from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up Fort Meade and two other military bases where the EPA says dumped chemicals pose "imminent and substantial" dangers to public health and the environment.

The Pentagon has also declined to sign agreements required by law that cover 12 other military sites on the Superfund list of the most polluted places in the country. The contracts would spell out a remediation plan, set schedules, and allow the EPA to oversee the work and assess penalties if milestones are missed. ...

Under executive branch policy, the EPA will not sue the Pentagon, as it would a private polluter. Although the law gives final say to EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson in cleanup disputes with other federal agencies, the Pentagon refuses to recognize that provision. Military officials wrote to the Justice Department last month to challenge EPA's authority to issue the orders and asked the Office of Management and Budget to intervene.


The move by the Pentagon is significant (and rather testosterone laden) because of the 1,255 sites identified under the Superfund law, the Pentagon owns 129, the most of any organization. The sites are mostly bases, many of which are located near urban centers. Ground water is affected by the military's pollution, and for that reason, the EPA wants those sites cleaned up, and now.

Why the delay and the fight? Well, it can't be money, because the Pentagon gets a huge budget every year. Maybe they could just hold off on buying one new fighter jet. That should more than offset the cost of cleaning up Fort Meade.

Or is it manpower? Well, that's possible. After all, we have a huge contingent of soldiers currently engaged in Iraq. Sending a division home just wouldn't be prudent, or so we are told. Maybe they could contract the work out, say to some subsidiary of Halliburton, although that would mean one fewer fighter jet and one fewer Abrams tank.

In all probability, however, the real reason is that the people at the Pentagon just like to fight, it's their mission, after all. "We're the military. We don't have to care."

Morons.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Woody (Tokin' Lib'rul/Rogue Scholar & O'erall Helluvafella!) said...

They're not morons, Diane, darlin'...

They're criminals. All of 'em.

They should be imprisoned, or better yet, exiled (probably i dare not suggest the other "ex" word?)

8:58 AM  
Anonymous ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

In all probability, however, the real reason is that the people at the Pentagon just like to fight, it's their mission, after all. "We're the military. We don't have to care."

OK then!

Say you have war between AT&T and the military. Who are the shrubites going to support?

P.S. I include Steny Hoyer in the category "shrubite".
~

4:32 PM  

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