Washington, DC –
U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (Both D-MD) this week urged the Chairman and Ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee to include shovel-ready environmental cleanups at active military bases in the pending economic recovery/stimulus package. In a letter to Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS), Senators Cardin and Mikulski pointed out the urgency of cleaning up hazardous sites at installations like Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County and Indian Head Naval Base in Charles County, as well as the cost-savings, health benefits and job creation generated by these projects.
“The immediate environmental and economic impact of cleaning up hazardous sites like Fort Meade and Indian Head cannot be underestimated,”
said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “As the Congress reviews a wide range of projects that will help our communities and create jobs, I urge my colleagues to look carefully at these urgent clean-up sites that are ready-to-go as soon as funds are available.”
“Cleaning up hazardous sites like Fort Meade and Indian Head is not only good for the health and safety of the servicemen and women and the thousands of people living and working on base and in nearby communities, it will also create new good-paying jobs,”
said Senator Mikulski, a senior member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. “As Congress reviews projects to create jobs and get our economy back on track, I hope my colleagues will look at making funds available for clean-up of hazardous sites on active duty military bases.”
Full text of the letter follows. Sign letter attached as a PDF.
January 14, 2009
The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye, Chairman
The Honorable Thad Cochran, Ranking Member
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee
United States Senate
Dear Chairman Inouye and Ranking Member Cochran:
We are writing to ask that you include funding for Department of Defense (DOD) environmental restoration projects at active DOD facilities in the economic stimulus package.
We have read reports indicating the Military Construction subcommittee intends to include environmental restoration funds in the stimulus for environmental remediation efforts at closed bases.
Many active military bases, however, contain contamination severe enough to have warranted their listing as Superfund sites by the Environmental Protection Agency.
For example, Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, has more than 42 identified contamination sites, including several located under, immediately adjacent to, or in near proximity of elementary schools, military family housing and community centers. Unfunded remediation efforts also waste thousands of dollars in energy costs at active DOD facilities.
For example, the Indian Head Naval Base in Charles County, Maryland must heat and cool dozens of unoccupied buildings slated for demolition which must be kept at controlled temperatures due to the presence of un-remediated substances from explosives testing many years ago.
Instead of limiting eligibility for stimulus funds to restoration projects at abandoned or closing bases, we ask that the Committee make all “shovel-ready” DOD environmental restoration projects eligible for stimulus funding but require the DOD to prioritize projects according to the size of their environmental impact and potential for immediate economic impact.
By including remediation projects at active DOD sites, along with abandoned or nearly closed bases, the Committee can effectively identify and prioritize those “shovel-ready” projects that offer the most immediate, and tangible improvement to the quality of life for our nation’s military families and surrounding civilian communities.
Thank you for considering this request as you make the very difficult funding decisions before you.
Benjamin L. Cardin
United States Senator
Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator