DoD Caps Earth Day Activities With "Green" Supply Codes
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 6, 1999 Environment-friendly supplies will be easier for federal buyers to find because of a new DoD coding system announced in Detroit by the department's top environmental officer.
Sherri W. Goodman, deputy undersecretary of defense for environmental security, announced the initiative at the National Town Meeting for a Sustainable America conference, held May 2 to 5. The conference culminated more than two weeks of DoD participation in Earth Day observances this year.
"This initiative will save the American taxpayers millions of dollars by encouraging DoD purchasers to buy products that are more energy-efficient and environmentally sound," Goodman said. "It will encourage our people to make better use of environmentally oriented products, including recycled items and items able to be recycled."
Supply managers will add the new codes to the Federal Logistics Information System, a computerized list of more than 7 million items ranging from office supplies to military hardware. Listings will now show "green" items -- those that meet or exceed federal environmental guidelines. All federal agencies use the system as a reference. In addition to tracking federal stock numbers, it offers guidance on acquiring, storing, distributing, transporting, using and disposing of items.
"The defense environmental community has a lot to gain from participation in this unique event," Goodman said of the Detroit gathering. Thousands of people from government, industry and communities across America met to discuss environmental issues, she said.
"This is a major conference and a tremendous opportunity for DoD to share its expertise and build partnerships to advance its environmental goals," she continued. "It will allow us to demonstrate our commitment to environmental protection, and our commitment to communities surrounding our installations."
DoD's conference participation included 15 exhibits provided by the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Defense Logistics Agency. The Naval Surface Warfare Center in Bethesda, Md. sent a "Building Blocks of Sustainability Campaign" display made of recycled plastic blocks.
Coinciding with this year's Earth Day theme of "Sustainable America," DoD ceremonially dedicated a renovated 146-acre wetlands refuge at Fort Belvoir, Va., on Earth Day, April 22.
Ceremony keynote speaker Goodman called the environment a quality of life issue. She said by protecting the environment, "we're protecting our military personnel and their families from health and safety hazards where they live and work. Every person has the inherent right to a safe and healthful environment."
Quoting Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, she said, "Protecting our interests around the world is inextricably linked with protecting the Earth itself." "He understands that environmental protection supports his top priorities: protecting people, preserving military readiness and modernizing the force structure," she said.
The armed forces are stewards of 25 million acres of land that they use to train troops, test equipment and forge weapons, Goodman pointed out. "Healthy land, air and water are critical to the defense mission," she said. "In today's world, the throwaway mindset does not cut it anymore -- not in the military, and not anywhere in America. We simply can't afford the waste, expense or the harm to our people and our scarce natural resources."
Fort Belvoir was selected for Earth Day ceremonies after being named as having the best natural resource conservation program for small installations (10,000 acres or less) in the all-Army and DoD-wide competitions.
Improvements in Belvoir's Jackson Miles Abbott Wetlands Refuge included dredging the pond, replacing the inlet and outlet structures, replacing fishing piers and restocking the pond. More than 63,500 one-gallon milk jugs and 738,000 8-inch polystyrene coffee cups were fashioned into lumber-like plastic beams used to make an observation deck and three fishing piers.
Belvoir, on the western shore of the Potomac River about 75 miles upstream from the Chesapeake Bay, is a significant part of the local and regional ecosystem, post officials note. The 8,656-acre reservation includes 11 miles of mostly undeveloped shoreline and is host to 250 species of birds, 27 of mammals and 40 of fish. Bald eagles nest and feed in the area.
Earlier April 22, Goodman dedicated the Washington Navy Yard's renovated Capitol Pump House, the new home of the Earth Conservation Corps. On April 19, she dedicated a new Environmental Science Center at Fort Meade, Md., geared toward enhancing cleaner land, air and water in the Chesapeake Bay watershed area.
For more information on DoD's supply coding initiative, visit the Joint Group on Environmental Attributes Web site at www.jgenvatt.dla.mil[link no longer available] or the Defense Logistics Information Service Web site at www.dlis.dla.mil. For more information on the Detroit conference, visit the event's Web site at www.sustainableamerica.com.