I listened with disbelief and dismay as Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey told the world, from the forum of COP26, that increasing the Pentagon budget was a good way to fight climate change. Yes, you read that correctly. Congressman Pallone thinks that we can help fight climate change by increasing the Pentagon budget. He has just been told, by Abby Martin of the Empire Files, that the Pentagon is a bigger polluter than 140 countries combined, and is exempt from the COP26 climate talks. Ms. Martin then asks, how can we justify an increase to an already massive Pentagon budget?
The question is being put to Nancy Pelosi but Rep. Pallone can’t wait to jump in. “There is no reason why what we’re putting together with Build Back Better and other things can’t respond to the Defense Dept. and have some impact in terms of reducing emissions.” What, exactly, is he saying? How does this address the issue of pollution or the massive increase in the Pentagon budget. Compounding his Orwellian doublespeak, Rep. Pallone goes on to say, “I don’t see what we’re doing, in any way or, you know, increasing the defense budget as being something that’s inconsistent with climate action.” (https://twitter.com/i/status/1458232030949433352)
Not only is the Pentagon exempt, apparently, from any resolution coming out of COP26, it is also exempt from EPA regulations. It is free to pollute as much as it wants and there are no consequences. If another country polluted our land, air and water the way our military has, we’d declare it a terrorist act and go to war with them. It is the supreme irony that our military is damaging the very country they are pledged to protect. One example was recently reported in the San Francisco Chronicle,
“Amid a continuing crisis over fuel contaminating the Navy’s tap water at Pearl Harbor, Honolulu’s water utility said Friday it shut off one of its wells so it doesn’t taint its own supply with petroleum from an underground aquifer it shares with the military. The Honolulu Board of Water Supply said it acted shortly after the Navy on Thursday disclosed that a water sample from one of its wells had shown the presence of petroleum. The well is near a giant World War II-era underground fuel tank complex that has been the source of multiple fuel leaks over the years. The tap water problems have afflicted one of the military’s most important bases, home to submarines, ships and the commander of U.S. forces in the Indo-Pacific region. They also threaten to jeopardize one of Honolulu’s most important aquifers and water sources.Nearly 1,000 military households have complained about their tap water smelling like fuel, or of physical ailments like stomach cramps and vomiting. The Navy water system serves 93,000 people. Nearly 1,000 military households have complained about their tap water smelling like fuel, or of physical ailments like stomach cramps and vomiting. The Navy water system serves 93,000 people. (Honolulu utility shuts well to prevent fuel contamination by Audrey McAvoy, Associated Press)
So, not only is the Navy polluting the water of nearby residents, it is poisoning its own personnel and their families. Don’t you think, Rep. Pallone, that the Navy needs to clean up it’s act and be subject to EPA regulations, if it’s going to lead on climate change?