Tag Archives: Military bases

300 Military Bases With Possible Toxic Forever Contamination

A ir Force fire protection specialists douse a simulated ship fire with foam during a training exercise at the Military Sealift Command Training Center East in Freehold, N.J., on Dec. 5, 2013. (Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht/Air National Guard)


Hundreds of military installations have either known or likely water contamination caused by runoff from firefighting foam used in response to vehicle and aircraft accidents, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Using Defense Department data, the organization built an interactive map of 305 sites, which are found in all 50 states. Each map dot opens up to information and links on perfluorooctane sulfonate or perfluorooctanoic acid, known as PFAS.


“Of these sites, 138 have not been previously identified on EWG’s map of known PFAS contamination at military bases, civilian airports and industrial sites,” according to a Tuesday new release. “In addition, 42 of these sites were not included on a list of 401 locations the Pentagon gave to Congress of active and former installations where PFAS contamination was known or suspected.”

An interactive Environmental Working Group map lays out PFAS contamination across 305 military sites. (EWG)

An interactive Environmental Working Group map lays out PFAS contamination across 305 military sites. (EWG)

The map went live the day after the House and Senate armed services committees finalized a compromise defense authorization bill for 2020, which includes provisions to approaching the PFAS issue going forward.

Expected to see a vote in the House on Wednesday, the law would prohibit the use of PFAS-laden firefighting foam after Oct. 1, 2024, and immediately ban any use of the foam outside of emergency situations.

While the bill dropped a provision that would have brought PFAS-contaminated bases under the federal Superfund law, providing funding and a requirement to clean them up, the NDAA pushes the Pentagon to work with state governments to start clean up using funds from the Defense Environmental Remediation Account.

It would also require that military firefighters are testing for PFAS levels in their blood, as the chemicals do not break down over time and are known to build up in the human body.

In the mean time, the Air Force has been testing a system that might be able to remove PFAS from ground water, and DoD is funding research into a new firefighting foam.”


Climate Change Threatens Critical Military Bases, Pentagon Report Says


A military police officer walks near a destroyed gate at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael on Oct. 12, 2018. The storm caused extensive damage to nearly every building on the base. A new Defense Department report finds that most of the military’s operationally critical installations face a threat from climate change. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)


“More than two-thirds of the military’s operationally critical installations are threatened by climate change, according to a new DoD report.

After several reporters questioned why the report was not made public by DoD, the Pentagon published it on Defense.gov mid-Friday.” _____________________________________________________________________________

“The January 2019 report, “Report on Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense,” was submitted to Congress Thursday without an official announcement of the report or a public release.

The Pentagon did not assess all of its hundreds of installations, instead it selected “79 mission assurance priority installations based on their operational role,” the Pentagon said in its report.

In its assessment of those 79 installations, which included Army, Air Force and Navy installations — and notably no Marine Corps bases — the services reported that 53 of the 79 faced current threats from flooding; 43 of the 79 face current threats from drought and 36 of the 79 faced current threats from wildfires.

The Pentagon also looked at logistics sites and other support that it considered operation critical, including Washington Headquarters Services, which includes the Office of the Secretary of Defense and supporting offices. the Defense Logistics Agency, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

“The effects of a changing climate are a national security issue with potential impacts to Department of Defense missions, operational plans, and installations,” the report found.

Critics said the report not only fell short of Congress’ direction but also questioned why not a single Marine Corps Base was included. The report also did not mention last year’s massive storm damage to military installations. Tyndall Air Force Base sustained serious damage to almost all of its buildings by Hurricane Michael and the Marines’ Camp Lejeune was badly damaged by Hurricane Florence.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, had a few choice words for it.

“The report reads like a introductory primer and carries about as much value as a phonebook,” Reed said in a statement.

The NDAA language also required cost estimated to mitigate the risks at the bases, and a list of the top 10 most climate-vulnerable bases, which it did not, said John Conger, director of the Center on Climate Security.

“It will be interesting to see how Congress views this sort of non-compliance of the law” with the report, Conger said.

When asked why no Marine Corps installations were included, Pentagon spokeswoman Heather Babb said that “in developing the report, DOD focused on mission assurance.”

“The report highlights the climate vulnerabilities of the top 79 mission assurance priority installations. By using this alternative approach, we are able to highlight where there are operational risks,” Babb said.

Conger previously served at the Pentagon as a deputy under secretary in the comptroller’s shop, and as the assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment.

The report, which was directed by the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, required the Pentagon to produce an “assessment of the significant vulnerabilities from climate-related events in order to identify high risks to mission effectiveness on installations and to operations.”