The Pentagon’s War on America: Toxic Bureaucracy: Confronting the EPA

National Academy of Sciences Building in Washington D.C.  Photo from the National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Sciences Building in Washington D.C. Photo from the National Academy of Sciences
Perhaps because of his near-unconditional job security, Ray DuBois, the Bush era’s first Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment, felt free to question the good faith of EPA scientists when he disagreed with their work. The Pentagon chemicals office was formed in large measure because of the furor that arose when EPA issued a January 2002 draft assessment of perchlorate, the rocket fuel stabilizer, suggesting a drinking water limit of 1 part per billion (ppb) — an infinitesimal amount that can be expensive to achieve — might be needed to protect the health of fetuses of pregnant women who drank water contaminated with the substance, based on thyroid impairment in lab animals. The Public Education Center, DCBureau.org’s parent organization, worked closely with the Wall Street Journal on a 2003 series examining the issue.

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The Pentagon’s War on America: Toxic Bureaucracy: The Balance of Power

President Barack Obama with OMB Director Peter Orszag in the Oval Office.  Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama with OMB Director Peter Orszag in the Oval Office. Photo by Pete Souza
Last month, the Pentagon and several of its top contractors found an open door in President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to discuss potential new health standards for perchlorate. Perchlorate is one of a number of controversial substances used by Pentagon contractors that are known to adversely affect human health. The meeting was the latest maneuver in a long-running campaign — aimed at influencing environmental standards that could mean major new cleanups and liability costs for the military and its subsidiaries — that began in an obscure but powerful office established by the Bush-era Department of Defense (DOD). For the first time, the man responsible for starting this campaign to save contractors and the military from having to face the environmental consequences of their actions has spoken to DCBureau.org.

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The Pentagon’s War on America: Poisoned Patriots: Running the Gauntlet

Dr. Howard Frumkin testifies before the House Science and Technology Committee. Photo provided by the US House of Representative
Dr. Howard Frumkin testifies before the House Science and Technology Committee. Photo provided by the US House of Representative
The military is not the only hurdle in the path of families poisoned at Camp Lejuene. ATSDR faces its own accusations of mishandling and misrepresenting information. When Townsend filed a 2003 Freedom of Information Act request to view some of the supporting documents referenced in ATSDR’s 1997 report, he was told by a Health and Human Services Department official that the files “are no longer in CDC’s possession.

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The Pentagon’s War on America: Poisoned Patriots: The Cover-up

Lexington Veterans Affairs Medical Center  Photo by Russell and Sydney Poore
Lexington Veterans Affairs Medical Center Photo by Russell and Sydney Poore
When someone applies to the VHA for health coverage benefits, they are evaluated by either an Administration doctor or, if one is not readily available, a non-government private practice physician on a contract basis. The customary practice, according to Jim Vance, the director of the VHA office in Boise, Idaho, is for a petitioner to specify the condition for which they need medical attention when they first apply.

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