Pentagon aims to avoid cleanup costs by attacking EPA science

Confused over who they’re supposed to be killing — their enemies? themselves? — the Defense Department in recent years has often defied U.S. EPA recommendations for environmental cleanups and toxicity standards. Case in point: A 2001 EPA draft report estimated that the chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) — a widespread water pollutant found on more than 1,000 military properties — is up to 40 times more likely to cause cancer then previously believed. Skeptical of what they claim is left-leaning science — “If you go down two or three levels in EPA, you have an awful lot of people that came onboard during the Clinton administration,” grumbles a former deputy undersecretary of defense — the Pentagon managed to run recommendations for cleaning up TCE through a bureaucratic maze of White House committees until, in 2003, the matter was cast aside. Have thousands of birth defects and cancers been related to TCE since then? Hundreds of studies suggest so. But they’re not the right studies — if you know what we mean.