2005 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 25 Apr 2005 16:50:31 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] PEER critiques new Defense environmental directive
For Immediate Release: April 14, 2005
Contact: Chas Offutt (202) 265-7337

Cleanup and Resource Conservation Duties

Washington, DC  -  In a significant policy shift, the Pentagon has
sharply reduced its environmental duties, according to Public Employees
for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). A new directive signed by
outgoing Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz on March 19, 2005
confines Pentagon anti-pollution work only to activities that directly
"sustain the national defense mission." 

This new "Department of Defense Directive" cancels a Clinton-era
directive on "Environmental Security." The new Directive trims a listing
of Pentagon policy elements by eliminating provisions for  - 

*  "Reducing risk to human health and the environment by identifying,
evaluating, and where necessary, remediating contamination resulting
from past DoD activities";
*  "Protecting, preserving, and, when required, restoring, and enhancing
the quality of the environment"; and
*  "Conserving, and restoring where necessary, the natural and cultural
heritage represented on DoD installations within the United States."

In an apparent concession to criticisms leveled when PEER posted a draft
of the new policy in December, the final version was changed to add as
policy "to protect DoD personnel from accidental death, injury or
occupational illness" and "to protect the public from risk of death,
injury, illness, or property damage because of DoD activities."

"These changes show that protecting the public and even their own
personnel from environmental threats is an afterthought," stated PEER
Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "One additional change to the final policy
is opening ?dialogue' on environmental issues, which is ironic coming in
a document that was developed in secret in the utter absence of dialogue."

The new policy also significantly cuts Pentagon compliance with
anti-pollution rules by dropping requirements that it obey "regulations,
Executive orders, binding international agreements" and other federal
"environmental, safety, occupational health, explosives safety, fire and
emergency services, and pest management policies." In its place, the
Pentagon would pledge to only abide by "applicable law and DoD policy."

In stripping away promises to improve or protect the environment, the
new Directive instead says that the Pentagon "will evaluate all
activities...and make prudent investments in initiatives that support
mission accomplishment, enhance readiness, reduce future funding needs,
prevent pollution, ensure cost effective compliance, and maximize the
existing resource capability."

"Despite having the worst pollution record on the planet, the Pentagon
promises to self-regulate its environmental performance," added Ruch,
pointing to the Pentagon's continuing efforts to exempt itself from an
array of environmental laws. "This new policy says that Pentagon
agencies will do only the minimum pollution prevention and clean-up as
required by its logistical and facility management needs." 

Department of Defense directives define the agency's mission and
responsibilities. By its terms, this Directive covers all "DoD
operations, activities, and installations worldwide, including
Government-owned/contractor-operated facilities."

For the original press release, go to

For the full Defense Department directive, go to
It's currently the third item down the page.


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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