State Attorneys General Object to Environmental Exemptions for Pentagon

The Department of Defense’s attempt to exempt itself from several landmark environmental laws has kicked up a storm of resistance at the state level. Yesterday, 39 state attorneys general sent a letter to the chairs of four congressional committees, protesting draft legislation submitted by the Bush administration that would exempt the military from some provisions of the Superfund law, the Clean Air Act, and other environmental laws. “From my perspective, it is just bad national policy to exempt the nation’s biggest polluter, the federal government, from the same environmental laws that states, local governments, and private industries must comply with,” said Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar, whose state contains several highly polluted former military bases. He pointed out that the Pentagon can already request specific waivers when laws might interfere with readiness or training, but that it has never been able to point to such a case.