Lawmakers Critical of Protracted Effort to Clean Legacy Bases
The cleanup of installations closed during the first four BRAC rounds is taking too long, partially because the Defense Department “consistently underspends” its annual appropriations, the House Appropriations Committee noted last week.
“The pace of cleanup remains painfully slow, with some bases predicted not to be fully cleaned for upwards of 300 years or more,” according to the committee report accompanying the fiscal 2012 military construction and veterans affairs spending bill.
The committee cited a Government Accountability Office report indicating there are 1,492 BRAC sites awaiting cleanup — in which the response is not yet complete — with an additional 440 sites requiring long-term management to eliminate contamination.
The estimated cost to remediate these sites is more than $3 billion, according to the report.
To address the situation, the committee directs DOD to submit a report 90 days after the FY 2012 spending bill is enacted describing its plan to expedite and expand cleanup of legacy BRAC bases, as well as how it will fully spend its appropriated funds for that purpose.
The committee recommended allocating $374 million in fiscal 2012 for the cleanup of legacy BRAC bases, a $50 million increase over the administration’s request and $13 million greater than current year funding.
The FY 2012 milcon spending bill is scheduled to go to the House floor this week. The committee approved the measure May 24.