(NaturalNews) The citizens of Maryland are fed up with the U.S. Army for failing to comply with a clean-up order issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a year ago, according to an article in the Baltimore Sun by Timothy B. Wheeler. Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler sent the Army notification that the state plans to sue under federal pollution law, because the Army has been too slow to clean up the mess caused by the careless disposal of fuel and munitions at their Fort Meade base. In August of 2007, the EPA gave the Army a legally-binding timetable, with fines for missed deadlines, to complete the clean-up process.
Army Wants to Take its Time Cleaning Up
While the Army says that it plans to comply with the clean-up order, they aren’t willing to comply with the time deadlines. Dave Foster, an Army spokesman, wouldn’t comment on the threatened lawsuit. He did say that "…the U.S. Army remains fully committed to protecting the health and safety of those living and working both on Fort Meade and in the surrounding communities."
EPA Says Dangers are Imminent and Substantial
Pentagon officials feel, according to Wheeler’s article, that the EPA is making too big of a deal over the toxic pollution. They claim that tens of millions of dollars have already been spent on getting their mess cleaned up, and they want to clean up the rest of it at their own pace. However, according to an article in the Washington Post by Lyndsey Layton, the EPA states that the toxins are an "imminent and substantial" danger, both to public health and the environment.
Remember Bush's 2000 Campaign Promise?
As Layton points out in her article, George W. Bush promised in his 2000 presidential campaign to ensure all federal facilities would comply with environmental law and "make them accountable." However, the Pentagon is not recognizing the EPA’s authority to enforce the clean-up schedule. John D. Dingell, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said, "I find it troubling, not only that the Department of Defense is in flagrant violation of final orders issued by the EPA, but that [the] DOD is now attempting to circumvent the law and Congress' intent by calling on the Department of Justice and the Office of Management and the Budget to intervene," according to the Washington Post. "The EPA is the expert agency charged by Congress with enforcing our environmental laws, and the Administration needs to allow them to do their job to protect the public health and safety."
25,000 Contaminated Sites Span all 50 States
The contaminants of concern at the Fort Meade base in Maryland include "cleaning solvents, pesticides, heavy metals, waste fuels and other hazardous chemicals," according to the Baltimore Sun. The Baltimore Sun also reports that recent studies have demonstrated that the groundwater is also contaminated with arsenic and perchlorate. The Pentagon is responsible for about 25,000 contaminated sites that span all 50 sites, according to Layton. Given the rampant groundwater contamination in the United States, it would certainly appear prudent for all those concerned with their health to be sure to install the best possible water filtration systems in their homes.