2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2000 11:32:42 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] BRAC Funding update
I've been trying to reconcile the fragmentary and sometimes conflicting
bits of information I have been receiving about the cut in fiscal year
2001 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) funding.

Reportedly, the Military Construction Appropriations conference
committee cut the total BRAC appropriation from $1.174 billion to $1.024
billion, a cut of $150 million, but it left the "environmental ceiling"
at $865 million. In making the cut, it noted that the Defense Department
- particularly the Air Force BRAC program - is not using all the funds
currently appropriated. The committee believes that the Defense
Department can carry out its planned BRAC cleanup projects with the
funds not yet spent combined with the new appropriation.

The fact that the environmental ceiling remains at $865 million is moot.
New cleanup money will be cut, because that's where the committee -
based on a recent GAO report - identified the unobligated funds.
Furthermore, if DOD were to allocate the entire $865 million, that would
leave only $9 million for other programmed BRAC activity.

The conference committee has completed its action, and it's unlikely
that either house of Congress or the President will hold up the entire
Military Construction Appropriations budget over this issue.

So what can be done?

First, those communities with BRAC facilities should tell the Defense
Department that funds should be allocated in a way that does not delay
planned projects. Projects at Army and Navy bases impacted by last years
budget cuts are particularly vulnerable.

Second, to discourage further raids on cleanup funding, communities can
let members of Congress know that these cuts do more than absorb
unobligated funds. They make it harder to insist upon complete cleanup.

Third, there needs to be a serious response to the criticism reportedly
raised by General Accounting Office. The timing of cleanup spending is
less certain than other construction spending because the regulatory
agencies are engaged in ongoing negotiations with the Armed Services
over each project. Those discussions sometimes delay activity, but by
delaying funding to match on-the-ground delays, it makes it difficult to
accelerate cleanup projects when they're ready to go earlier than

Lenny Siegel


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 222B View St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/968-1126

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