States say Pentagon bullies them into not enforcing toxic cleanups
Environmental regulators from more than a dozen states have accused the U.S. Department of Defense of retaliating against them for attempting to enforce cleanup of contaminated military-owned sites. “In the worst-case scenarios, the Department of Defense is intimidating a state environmental agency into not pursing enforcement,” said Steve Brown of the Environmental Council of States at a congressional hearing on Thursday. The DoD is in charge of dispensing $30 million each year to states to help with the costs of cleaning up contaminated military bases, but in 2006, the DoD allegedly started playing politics with the purse strings, withholding cash from states that pursued enforcement actions and only paying up if they dropped such actions. While a DoD spokesperson denied knowledge of bullying, the alleged misdeeds are in line with other environmental battles the department has fought recently, including refusing to cooperate with the EPA on cleanup of many Superfund sites.