Funding for cleanup and ongoing operations and maintenance at installations closed during past base closure rounds would jump $32 million from current year spending to $342 million next year, under the conference agreement for the fiscal 2019 military construction-Veterans Affairs spending bill released Monday. The compromise allocation represents a $74.5 million increase over the administration’s budget request, which conferees said should be used to accelerate remediation at closed bases. The conference report directs $60.5 million of the additional funds to go toward cleaning up Navy BRAC sites. It directs $14 million to be spent on identifying, mitigating and cleaning up PFOA and PFOS, two contaminants found in the drinking water supplies used by a number of BRAC communities. The Navy and DOD need to submit a spending plan for the extra funds within 30 days after the spending measure, part of a three-bill minibus, is enacted, the report says.
The conferees also highlighted the need for “the department to dedicate funds to demolish BRAC facilities and turn the land over to the local community as quickly as possible,” and noted they are concerned DOD does not have “an adequate plan” for demolishing BRAC sites. They cited the example of Ontario Air National Guard Station, which was shuttered in 1997 and now is home to Ontario International Airport. “Yet the old site has sat largely unchanged for 20 years due to the environmental hazards of demolition,” they stated.
Army photo by Cpl. George Huley