The Army and Environmental Compliance
Since the inception of National environmental awareness and protection policies in the 1970’s, the Army has had to adjust how it conducts training. The development of Army environmental compliance programs, policies and strategies enable the Army to fulfill federal and state requirements governing the use of natural resources, while balancing the need for essential training to maintain combat readiness and relevance. As a direct result of positive environmental stewardship, inclusion of environmental compliance enables the Army to provide continuity of operations while protecting the environment.
United States Environmental Policy
The modern day involvement of the United States Army’s responsible environmental stewardship began over 40 years ago and continues unabated today. The catalyst was the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), signed into law in 1970, which established national policy for the protection of the environment. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2011), the Council of Environmental Quality was created to ensure federal and state agencies assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions through scientific analysis and that decisions made include public involvement. Thus, the NEPA process provides the public with information about the Army’s decisions and a mechanism to become informed and involved in actions that impact their environment, health and quality of life.
Department of the Army regulation 200-1, Environmental Protection and Enhancement (2007), requires “the Secretary of the Army to serve as trustee for the natural and cultural resources managed by the Army”. This designation also includes responsibility for “protecting and sustaining the quality of the air, land and water resources entrusted to the Army” (p.2). This requirement is further clarified in Executive Order #13148: Greening the Government through Leadership in Environmental Management, April 2000, which requires the head of federal agency’s be responsible for ensuring that all necessary actions are taken to integrate environmental accountability into agency day-to-day decision making and processes (Federal Register, 2000). It dictates that federal agencies place high priority on funding and obtaining resources to implement appropriate programs.
Army Compliance Measures
According to Stand-to (2011), to comply fully with these requirements, the Army Environmental Compliance Program (AECP) was developed to ensure the Department of Defense (DoD) meets these environmental obligations and conforms to all applicable federal, state and local regulations and laws, both in the United States and overseas. The AECP focuses on air and water quality as well as waste and toxic material handling practices. Additionally,
the AECP ensures that the Army meets its environmental compliance requirements for all Army operations, activities and installations. In doing...