The Department of Defense today issued its Annual Report to Congress on the Environmental Restoration Program. The report highlights DoD's progress in the cleanup of hazardous waste and unexploded ordnance at more than 28,000 sites located on active military installations, formerly used Defense sites, and closed installations in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and territories of the United States. As of Sept. 30, 2001, DoD has completed cleanup activities at 68 percent of its sites.
The report details DoD's progress in reducing or minimizing risk to human health and the environment associated with the sites. Cleanup sites are sites where hazardous wastes have been or are suspected to have been released into the environment and may pose some level of risk to human health and the environment.
Because the hazards associated with unexploded ordnance are so different from the toxicological risks of chemicals, DoD created the Military Munitions Response Program to address these concerns. The report also provides the status of this new program.
Until the mid-1970's, hazardous substances and wastes were often managed and disposed of using then-standard practices that were later found to be detrimental to the environment. DoD's Environmental Restoration Program evolved as an awareness of these consequences grew and, in 1975, created a program to remediate contaminated sites from past DoD activities.
Five years later, Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation, and Liability Act. This act established the framework for the identification and cleanup of past hazardous substance releases. In 1986, Congress passed the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act, which also formally established DoD's restoration program as the Defense Environmental Restoration Program and established the Defense Environmental Restoration Account as the source of finding for the program. Congress appropriated more than $1.8 billion for this program in fiscal 2002.
A copy of the report may be found at: http://126.96.36.199/derparc_fy01/derp/index.htm [link no longer available]