In yet another environmental compromise made in the wake of last month’s terrorist attacks, the U.S. EPA has backed off from pressuring the Air Force to eliminate the use of the gas Halon in its fighter planes. Although Halon is banned for most purposes because it breaks down the ozone layer, the Air Force continues to use it in F-16s, the most popular planes in its arsenal and the biggest emitters of the gas. Following Sept. 11, the Pentagon ordered F-16s to patrol Washington, D.C., New York, and nearly a dozen other major cities. The response from the environmental agency? “EPA fully supports the military in its ongoing use of Halon 1301 to safeguard our pilots, crews, aircraft, and ships,” said EPA official Paul Stolpman. In other agency news, the EPA said yesterday that it would devote $500,000 of Superfund money to cleaning up the offices of America Media, Inc., where a tabloid worker caught a fatal case of anthrax earlier this month.

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