Environmental CleanupInconsistent Sharing Arrangements May Increase Defense Costs Gao ID: NSIAD-94-231 July 7, 1994
Environmental cleanup at the Defense Department's (DOD) government-owned, contractor-operated plants and the Rocky Mountain arsenal will take longer and cost far more than the military suggests. According to military service and Defense Logistics Agency data, however, projected costs will be $3 billion, or about 70 percent more, than reported by DOD. GAO's work at selected sites indicates that eventual costs will be even higher than indicated by DOD or the services. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 imposes liability for cleanup on a variety of potentially responsible parties, including facility operators and generators of hazardous substances. Lacking clear guidance from the Secretary of Defense, the services have developed policies that interpret their authority to seek cost sharing from other parties differently. Consequently, the services have not required that plant operators share in the cost of cleaning up past contamination.
GAO found that: (1) environmental cleanup at DOD government-owned, contractor-operated (GOCO) plants and the Rocky Mountain Arsenal will generally take longer and cost about $3 billion, 70 percent more that DOD reported; (2) liability for cleanup falls on a variety of potentially responsible parties, including facility operators and generators of hazardous substances; (3) each of the services and the Defense Logistics Agency has a different policy on cost-sharing for environmental cleanups; (4) Environmental Protection Agency policy states that status as a GOCO operator does not shield a contractor from environmental liability; (5) the military services have not requested that GOCO operators share in the cost of cleaning up past contamination; (6) cleanup is managed by the Army Corps of Engineers at former defense sites and former GOCO facilities sold to the private sector; and (7) a contribution of about $250 million has been obtained from the lessee at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal.Recommendations
Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.Director: Team: Phone: