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Military Base Closures: Role and Costs of Environmental Cleanup

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Publication Date: October 2006

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS22065

Topic: Military and defense (Military bases and buildings)


Near the end of its first session, the 109th Congress approved a new round of military base closures and realignments. As the Department of Defense (DOD) implements the new round, potential issues include the pace and costs of closing and realigning the bases and the impacts on surrounding communities. The disposal of property on these bases has stimulated interest among affected communities in how the land can be redeveloped to replace lost jobs. Environmental contamination can present a challenge to economic redevelopment if funding or technological constraints would limit the degree of cleanup needed to make the land safe for its intended use. Most of the land on bases closed under prior rounds has been cleaned up and transferred for redevelopment. However, some bases have yet to be cleaned up to an extent adequate for the planned land use. Bases closed under the 2005 round could face similar redevelopment delays if a community's preferred land use requires a costly and timeconsuming degree of cleanup. This report explains cleanup requirements for the transfer and reuse of properties on closed bases, discusses property transfer status and cleanup costs on bases closed in prior rounds, and examines estimates of costs to clean up bases to be closed in the 2005 round to make these properties safe for civilian reuse.