Pentagon Seeks Yet More Environmental Exemptions

The U.S. Department of Defense went to Congress again yesterday and requested more exemptions from environmental laws. Congress has granted five of the eight exemptions previously sought by the DOD, which claims — despite findings to the contrary by congressional investigators in 2002 — that environmental restrictions are hampering troop training and readiness. The Pentagon now wants to be exempted from certain sections of the Clean Air Act and toxic waste laws so that military training exercises can, well, pollute the air and the land. Enviros wonder why the Pentagon seems perpetually irritated by the prospect that it might, someday, be slightly constrained by regulations meant to protect the environment and the health of the military families and communities that surround its bases. Raymond DuBois, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, says the military spends $4 billion annually on environmental programs and takes environmental concerns seriously.