Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Congress turns up heat on burn pits

Congress turns up heat on burn pits

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Jul 15, 2009 13:33:14 EDT

Two lawmakers have called upon the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, to determine if open-air burn pits for waste disposal in Iraq and Afghanistan are exposing troops to harm, as well as if there are any alternatives.

“Preliminary reports have indicated that fumes from these burn pits produce a considerable amount of contaminants that may cause short- and long-term harm to our service members serving in proximity to these operations,” wrote Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., in a letter dated July 9.

And on Tuesday, Feingold and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., proposed an amendment to the 2010 defense authorization bill that would “prohibit the disposal of covered waste in an open-air burn pit during a contingency operation lasting longer than one year” and would direct the secretary of defense to submit a report about what is burned in the pits and a plan for alternative options. The House has already passed a similar amendment in its version of the defense policy bill.
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Congress turns up heat on burn pits

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