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Thursday, February 12, 2015

"Indefensible" - More than $20 million for military incinerators up in smoke

"This report highlights the ways in which incinerator operations in Afghanistan were not conducted in a manner that resulted in the most efficient use of U.S. taxpayer funds. Unfortunately, in many instances DOD officials did not take sufficient steps to ensure the proper management of contracts for the construction of the incinerators to address the problems identified during our inspections of particular incinerator facilities. Given the fact that DOD has been aware for many years of the significant health risks associated with open-air burn pits, it is indefensible that U.S. military personnel, who are already at risk of serious injury and death when fighting the enemy, were put at further risk from the potentially harmful emissions from the use of open-air burn pits. " Quote from SIGAR Report

Today's blog post is shared from

Every day, U.S. troops stationed at military bases accumulate waste: from Styrofoam packaging, to batteries and used equipment. Despite health warnings, U.S. bases in Afghanistan have been using open-air burn pits to dispose of all this litter.

By 2011, the Department of Defense (DOD) began using other methods, including installing incinerators at some of the military bases. In its latest report on U.S. government spending in Afghanistan, a government watchdog has found that the U.S. military spent over $80 million on incinerators, but at least $20 million of that money was wasted because four bases never used the machines.

The Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction [SIGAR] reported Thursday that 23 incinerators were built at nine U.S. military bases across Afghanistan since 2011 at a cost of $81.9 million.

The incinerators, along with landfill operations, were meant to replace the open-air burn pits, but because of inadequate planning, design and construction, four installations costing $20.1 million were never operational.
The DOD paid the contractors for all the incinerators in full.

One forward-operating base installed two incinerators that were meant to work 24 hours a day, SIGAR noted. But the base was in a “blackout” area, meaning it couldn't operate anything at night so as not to attract rocket fire. The designation limited the base’s ability to incinerate waste to 60 percent of its daily production.

"Further, given the...

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  have been representing injured military, government contractors and civilian government employees and their families who have suffered illness or injury as a result of burn pit exposures. To contact Jon L Gelman click here.