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New Hazmat Scanner puts the Green in Green Mountain Boys

Vermont National Guard Uses New Hazmat Scanner to Cut Toxic WasteThe Green Mountain Boys are the stuff of legend: Ethan Allen’s rough-and-tumble Revolutionary War volunteers who came down from the mountains of Vermont to capture Fort Ticonderoga and went on to play a central role in the American victory over tyranny.  To this day, Vermont’s National Guard carries the Green Mountain Boys standard.  Now the Green Mountain Boys are leading the way again.  They’re taking on the challenge of sustainability, with the aid of a new hazardous materials scanner.

The Green Mountain Boys and Environmental Protection

The Vermont National Guard Sustainability Policy is an official part of their mission that is fully integrated into their operations, covering everything from community relations and pollution prevention to performance-based goals and business strategies.  Mere compliance is not enough.  Their goal is to keep learning and improving, to exceed current federal and local regulations, and to lead by example in the best Green Mountain Boys tradition.  They’re firmly in the vanguard of the U.S. military’s focus on sustainability.

New Vermont National Guard Hazmat Scanners Cut Waste

As the main industrial facility in the Vermont National Guard, Camp Johnson has been designated the standard-bearer for leadership in sustainability among dozens of Guard facilities around the state.  A new hazardous materials scanner system plays a key role.  This web-based hazmat tracking system links Camp Johnson with every other Vermont National Guard facility.  By tracking inventories down to the last tube of glue, the new hazmat system lets the Guard swap materials among facilities and use up leftovers more efficiently, cutting down on waste and oversupply while providing information and updates on compliance and pollution control.

Vermont National Guard Takes Sustainability to the Community

Another key element of Camp Johnson’s sustainability program helping its soldiers and staff put their environmental knowledge to work at home, through an ongoing community training program.  The facility itself serves as a wetland research center for high school, college, and graduate students.  Multiply Camp Johnson by hundreds of U.S. military facilities here and abroad, and you’ll get an idea how much ground the army’s environmental strategy can cover, just in terms of community outreach alone.  There’s a lot of catching up to do, but there are indications that the military budget is beginning to acommodate more support for sustainability.

Vermont National Guard Wins Army Environmental Award

Camp Johnson’s efforts were recently recognized with the 2008 Secretary of the Army Environmental Award for its impressive lineup of sustainability actions, as detailed by a recent article by the U.S. Army Environmental Command.  Along with the hazmat scanner system and community outreach, this soup to nuts program includes a shift away from using toxic chemicals, especially in painting and stripping operations.  Camp Johnson has also achieved a recycling rate of almost 50% — tons of metals, paper, glass, pastic, light bulbs, e-waste, and hazardous materials such as antifreeze and used oil — and it recycles oil and diesel for use on-site, too.

Support Our Troops with Sustainability

In presenting the honor to Camp Johnson, one U.S. Army official stated that the Army Environmental Award demonstrates how much “the Army is committed to protecting the environment at installations here and overseas,” is becoming “more sophisticated in its use of environmental technology and sustainable practices,” and is “becoming a greener shade of green.”  For further evidence that the entire U.S. military is committed to sustainability, check out the Army Earth Day slogan: sustaining the environment for a secure future.

So, what’s with the Heritage Foundation promoting the idea that sustainability is “not the job of the U.S. military”?  Maybe they haven’t been paying attention.  Wake up, guys!

h/t to Open Left.

image: The National Guard on flickr.com.


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Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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