Health and Safety

Environmental Oversight of Classified Federal Research Gao ID: T-RCED-96-99 March 12, 1996

In October 1995, a presidential committee reported a troubling legacy of secret Cold War government radiation research on human subjects and experimental radiation releases into the environment. The committee criticized the government's research ethics and raised the possibility that events similar to the past secret environmental releases could occur today. To guard against this, the committee recommended creating an independent group to oversee the environmental consequences of classified research and a broader oversight role for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This testimony discusses (1) EPA's ability to conduct environmental oversight of classified federal research and (2) the extent to which federal facilities and activities have been exempted from compliance with environmental laws.

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