Federal agencies and the military have contaminated more than 60,000 sites across the U.S. and cleanup costs for the worst sites are expected to rise above $300 billion, dwarfing the cost of cleaning up contamination from private companies and making the U.S. government the nation’s worst polluter. Outside American borders, the U.S. military has contaminated soil or groundwater on every military base it has operated in foreign countries, defense officials acknowledge. U.S. base commanders are required to follow environmental standards in host countries, but often they knowingly violate them, and sometimes host countries have no standards to follow. Several countries are now demanding that the U.S. help pay for environmental damage caused by the military, but Congress and the Clinton administration are making no moves to do so.

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