News From Terre Haute, Indiana

News

July 10, 2014

Feds relent: Military to restore equipment program for fire departments

INDIANAPOLIS — An agreement has been reached to keep surplus military equipment rolling into rural fire department bays in Indiana and 47 other states.

The Department of Defense announced Wednesday that it’s resuming a popular program that provided rolling stock, engines and other equipment to small, financially strapped fire departments.

The program was halted recently after concerns arose that the diesel engines in the aging surplus equipment didn’t meet current federal air quality standards.

After an outcry from firefighters nationwide and pressure from Congress, federal officials decided to resume the program by allowing fire departments to come under a “national security” exemption granted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for military equipment used to defend the nation.

Details of the new agreement had yet to be released to Indiana officials who administer the military surplus program. They’re wary of the possible new restrictions on the program, but heartened by the news that it had been restarted.

“This is a critical program for volunteer fire departments around the state,” said Darren Bridges, the assistant state fire coordinator for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. “Firefighters absolutely rely on this equipment.”

More than 250 volunteer fire departments in Indiana have received about $12 million in surplus military equipment that otherwise would have been sent to depots and supply yards to be crushed or scrapped.

Much of the equipment consists of heavy-duty vehicles that are retrofitted as fire trucks. New trucks can cost up to $150,000, which is beyond most volunteer fire departments’ budgets.

The U.S. EPA issued a brief statement Wednesday, saying it had come to an agreement with the Defense Department’s Defense Logistics Agency to restart the program.

Neither agency offered much detail on the new conditions placed on the program. But a DLA spokesman acknowledged that fire departments would have to work with the state to return the equipment to the military, rather than sell it as surplus, once the equipment reaches the end of its lifespan.

There’s no word on how long the state must store equipment until federal authorities retrieve it or if the state must ship the equipment back to the Department of Defense.

U.S. Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican member of the U.S. Senate’s Armed Services Committee, pushed for the program to be restored. He said the revived program, with new requirements, is “the best short-term answer to maintain the program.”

In a statement released to the press, he said he still hopes to “address the unnecessary regulation created by the agreement.”

When it abandoned the program, federal officials cited a 25-year-old agreement by the Defense Department to abide by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.

The sudden decision outraged fire officials and lawmakers, who demanded that the program be restarted. Fueling their criticism was an announcement that the government planned to destroy vehicles with engines that didn’t meet EPA emission standards.

Maureen Hayden reports from Indianapolis for CNHI, the Tribune-Star’s parent company.

Reach her at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com. Janelle Stecklein reports from Oklahoma City for CNHI’s Oklahoma newspapers. Reach her at jstecklein@cnhi.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
News
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Mother of 2 Makes NFL Cheerleading Squad at 40 Judge OKs Record-setting $2B Sale of Clipper Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. Trial Begins Over OKC Bombing Video Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Suspect Dead, Marshals and Cop Wounded in NYC 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now!
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity
Real Estate News