An announcement by The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) made late Wednesday afternoon brought relief to many Kansas communities. That relief was short lived.
An announcement by The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) made late Wednesday afternoon brought relief to many Kansas communities.
It seemed an agreement had been reached to again allow states through the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) and Firefighter Programs to continue to receive equipment managed through the two agencies.
The relief was short lived.
The EPA recently halted the transfer of surplus military equipment to states and local governments that is used for firefighting and law enforcement. On Tuesday, the Kansas Congressional Delegation, comprised of Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, Congress members Lynn Jenkins, Mike Pompeo, Kevin Yoder, and Tim Huelskamp, sent a letter to EPA and the U.S. Army TACOM requesting they re-implement the use of military vehicles for rural fire departments. The program impacted 83 Kansas counties.
Wednesday’s announcement from the Kansas Delegation and other sources indicated that the program would be resumed. The legislators were taking credit for the action and Eric Ward with the Kansas Forest Service was happy with the response. He stated Wednesday afternoon, “The overwhelming support of the fire services in Kansas, and around the US, tremendous media coverage, and 100 percent backing of the Kansas congressional delegation has caused this very quick answer to the termination of these vehicle transfers.”
However, additional information on Thursday morning indicated the announcement made on Wednesday was misleading. Ward explained in an email early Thursday, “The statement only impacted two of the multiple programs thorough which such trucks can be obtained, and only affects a very limited list of ‘national stock numbers’ or NSNs. A review of that list this morning shows that it does NOT include the 5 ton cargo trucks, large water tankers, or other trucks most frequently requested and utilized by Kansas fire departments. So it is a fix that does not address the concerns,” Ward added, “The issue remains very active and dynamic, changing frequently...but for the time being, the ‘fix’ that DLA announced, and we shared, does not actually fix much of anything.”
No further updates were available at press time.
Belinda Larsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.