Ports reveal unprecedented surge in harmful emissions; officials blame COVID-19 logjam
The latest in a series of reports on the climate crisis.
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon now has more than 100,000 tons of carbon pollution in its streams and rivers, more than twice the amount of emissions it was emitting in 2010, and officials blame a long-standing backlog to complete the new environmental rules that would prevent the release of pollutants from military installations.
The Pentagon has collected more than 1,700 tons in 2019 of climate pollutants, and officials said that they were unable to complete the regulations, which have been stalled by a series of court battles between the environmental agency and the Defense Department.
The EPA has ruled that the Pentagon’s greenhouse gas emissions do not meet the agency’s new standards, which will go into effect in 2020 and require the Pentagon to eliminate nearly all of the gases emitted by its military installations.
As a result, the Pentagon has been forced to continue emitting a large amount of harmful greenhouse gases for up to two years longer than initially planned, and is now beginning to make up the time lost — but it will take hundreds of millions of dollars in extra compliance costs to complete the work.
“It’s a huge issue, and I think it’s a major public relations crisis for this administration,” said former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
She added that the Pentagon’s emissions have increased as more military construction projects are completed, and there are also more civilian structures that would contribute to the pollution, including schools and shopping malls in military areas.
“And the biggest factor is the backlog, the fact that there’s a continuing violation of the standard by the DOD [Defense Department], but we can’t really know exactly what they’re doing because they’re not going into the public record,” McCarthy said.
The Pentagon has collected more than 1,700 tons of carbon pollution from its streams and rivers in 2019, and officials said that they were unable to complete the regulations, which have been stalled by a series of