Armed forces, environmental regulators square off

Armed forces, environmental regulators square off

The Defense Department made environmental news last week as officials dealt with base cleanups, fuel spills and the use of national parkland to stage a mock invasion.

The California Environmental Protection Agency warned the federal government on Friday to "bolster their toxic cleanup efforts at several military bases" in California, saying the feds have not hired enough personnel to oversee cleanup efforts, despite "assurances to the state that [they] would do so."

The action was directed at the Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin, Calif., Long Beach Naval Complex, Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Treasure Island Naval Station and Alameda Naval Air Station. The California EPA gave the bases 30 days to correct the problem (AP/San Francisco Chronicle/Examiner online, 1/8).

In San Francisco, the National Park Service has blocked a plan by the Marine Corps for a mock landing at the Presidio. The NPS was concerned that the operation involving more than 200 Marines, 30 Humvees, two dozen 14-ton assault vehicles and 20 five-ton trucks in the first wave alone could "damage the coastal environment" at the Presidio, owned by NPS since 1994 (Reuters/Boston Globe, 1/9).

And the Navy and Washington state environmental officials have launched two separate investigations into a 1,000 gallon jet fuel spill on Jan. 5 at Naval Station Everett in Washington's Port Gardner Bay. The Navy at first believed that as little as 20 gallons were spilled, and as a result, the state Dept. of Ecology did not arrive until Jan. 6 to observe cleanup operations.