2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 6 Jun 2002 22:25:30 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] House cuts Defense environmental R & D
Congressional sources report that the House of Representatives has
slashed the fiscal year 2003 budgets for two small, but important
Defense environment research and development programs, the Strategic
Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and the
Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP). The
House version of the Defense Authorization Act cut $8 million from the
Pentagon's $28 million ESTCP request and $30 million (nearly half) from
the $60.5 million SERDP request.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, on the other hand, increased the
ESTCP budget by $5 million for projects related to unexploded ordnance
response, and it upped SERDP by $3 million for the same purpose. The
full Senate has not yet acted on this year's Defense Authorization bill.

The proposed House cuts are, to say the least, disappointing, and they
are likely to severely hamper the work of these two valuable programs.

SERDP and ESTCP work closely together. SERDP's research tends to be more
basic; ESTCP's more applied. They support research and development, at
military, private, and academic labs, on key military environmental
challenges in cleanup, compliance, pollution prevention, and ordnance

Though small, they have a great deal of leverage. One of the projects
that I'm most familiar with is their support of Permeable Reactive
Barrier pilot at Moffett Field - my "home base." The Navy funded
installation of the Barrier as part of the cleanup program. ESTCP (and
later SERDP, too, I believe) supported the evaluation of the technology,
so the results from Moffett could prove useful elsewhere, and they have.

These programs are also known for their foresight, identifying problems
before they are widely recognized. For example, as we've reported, a
growing number of military installations are finding perchlorate
contamination in groundwater. Someone should be doing something about
it, and in fact, they are. SERDP has been sponsoring innovative research
into perchlorate remediation for at least a few years.

Finally, the SERDP/ESTCP research office provides technical leadership
for the Defense Department's growing program in munitions response. If
Congress wants a more reliable, cost-effective program to deal with
unexploded ordnance and explosive wastes, it should boost the programs
that are likely to make that happen. This is the direction that the
Senate is heading. The House, without much explanation, is moving in the
wrong direction.


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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