DoD Marks Earth Day's 30th Anniversary
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 14, 2000 Recycling events, awareness festivals, base cleanups and other activities are slated throughout the military to mark the 30th anniversary of Earth Day April 22.
"DoD, like the rest of America, has gained great awareness and respect for the environment in the last 30 years, said Sherri Goodman, deputy undersecretary of defense for environmental security." The department "can be quite proud that as the largest industrial organization in the world, it recognizes the value and importance of environmental stewardship and is doing its share to make this a better place for all Americans," she said.
"I'm very proud that the men and women in our military have really made a great contribution to our environmental stewardship," she remarked during an interview with American Forces Information Service here April 12. "By every measure of environmental performance, we in the Department of Defense are doing a good job, and we want to keep up that good work."
Since 1993, Goodman reported, DoD has reduced hazardous waste by 50 percent, toxic chemical releases by 65 percent and pesticide use by 32 percent. The department has completed cleanup at 60 percent of the department's active installations and formerly used defense sites. DoD also has reduced new notices of violations by 77 percent and increased solid waste recycling by 50 percent.
Goodman said she hopes DoD will continue to perform its military mission and meet readiness requirements, "and at the same time, be good stewards of the land, air and water that are a vital part of our nation and part of the reason we have a military to protect us."
Whether they're stationed at home or overseas, service members can help protect the environment every day, Goodman noted.
"Every day is Earth Day," she said. She urged service members to participate in environmental events whenever there's an opportunity. America's service members can also serve as valuable role models and share their expertise with people in other countries, she said.
"We've had the benefit of environmental awareness for 30 years since the first Earth Day," she said. "Many other countries are only in the last decade becoming aware of the serious environmental challenges that they face."
Along with Earth Day events being held at military installations, DoD has planned two ceremonies in the nation's capital. First, DoD officials will announce the winners of the annual Environmental Security Awards at the Pentagon April 26. The second event is the cornerstone of this year's Earth Day celebration.
On May 1, DoD is slated to open the first federal fuel station to provide alternative fuel. Located at the Navy Exchange, the "Quarters K" station next to the Pentagon will offer compressed natural gas known as "CNG," and "E- 85," a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
"It will be one of the first fueling stations of its type in this area and it will service all federal vehicles," Goodman said. "So this is our contribution to cleaner fuels, to promote a better planet and cleaner environment."
The two alternative fuels significantly reduce air emissions and pollution as compared to gasoline, she noted. "These fuels are now more widely available, and by making them available at this fueling station, we'll be able to use more vehicles that run on compressed natural gas and on ethanol."
The Energy Policy Act of 1992 and a separate executive order require federal agencies to acquire alternative fuel vehicles to help reduce the nation's dependence on foreign sources of petroleum and reduce air emissions, Goodman said.
"In the last year, DoD acquired almost 3,000 alternative- fueled vehicles," she said. "Today, we have about 10,000 alternative-fuel vehicles DoD wide."
A lack of refueling infrastructure has been a major obstacle to meeting federal goals, DoD officials said. E-85, for example, has not been available in the Washington D.C. area for several years.
Federal agencies are encouraged to use commercial refueling stations to the extent practicable. Where commercial stations are unavailable, federal officials try to partner with commercial providers and other federal agencies to make alternative fuel available.
In this case, DoD officials worked with the Marine Corps, Washington Headquarters Services, the Washington Gas Company, and the Navy Exchange Service to provide the CNG. On the ethanol side, the Department of Energy, the National Corn Growers Association and the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board provided resources.