Stevens works toward compromise on measure limiting EPA-military fines

Posted: Sunday, July 23, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Sen. Ted Stevens is working toward a deal with other senators that would limit the amount of fines the Environmental Protection Agency can impose for environmental violations on military bases.

The Alaska Republican had wanted to ban the fines because he disagrees with EPA enforcement actions at Shemya Air Force base in the Aleutians and Fort Wainwright near Fairbanks.

His biggest gripe was about a $16 million fine the EPA slapped on the Army for air pollution from the Wainwright central heating and cooling plant, even though the problem was being fixed.

The compromise would limit fines on military bases to $1.5 million, unless Congress approves something higher. The fine limit would get a three-year trial run. It's part of a defense authorization bill approved Thursday by the Senate.

The measure also includes a provision that would make people exposed to radiation while working on the Amchitka nuclear tests eligible for health care compensation. And it would create a U.S. Energy Department Office of Arctic Energy to research and promote enhanced oil recovery, natural gas uses, cost-efficient power generation for rural areas and renewable energy sources.

The new agency most likely would be established at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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