Yokota hosts overseas environmental conference

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ryan Lackey

Environmental specialists from U.S. Air Force installations in Japan and the Republic of Korea attended an on-base Overseas Environmental Program Management Review conference hosted by Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Detachment 2, April 17-21.

The OEPMR conference gathers installation-level subject matter experts with AFIMSC and U.S. environmental program experts to share current environmental challenges and successes, updates on Air Force guidance and federal regulations, and to share working strategies and best practices in consideration of host nation environmental concerns.

“This is an opportunity to review the Air Force environmental programs with our counterparts,” said Angelia Binder, AFIMSC Det 2 Environmental expert for natural resources, water quality, fuel and tanks. “We address the latest training, policies, and implementation of programs, but it’s also a great way to discover the challenges our counterparts face so we can find better ways to support their work.”

Installations are required to comply with federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations and Air Force Instructions, but must also consider host nation concerns.

“Everything about keeping aircraft and facilities running well is a messy task,” said Master Sgt. Brian Brozanski, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron Installation Management Flight superintendent. “Yokota is over 70 years old and the environmental standards of the past are no longer acceptable. Our environmental element tracks, contains, neutralizes, and processes existing and emerging contaminants that require disposal so we stay in compliance. There’s a long-term plan to update and replace everything–from aircraft and fuel storage tanks, to energy infrastructure and housing insulation.”

The 374th CES alongside AFIMSC works hard to promote awareness to base personnel and residents to lessen the impact and the cost of caring for the base environment and the health of its community.

“Saving money is done by being diligent,” Brozanski said. “Taking the time to properly recycle, avoid using disposable items, and picking up after one another goes a long way to reducing the cleanup costs, and that translates into having more to address bigger concerns.”

Yokota as an installation is continually evolving as it works to address new policies, technology and innovations that will help the base be more energy efficient, reduce waste, and streamline the incorporation of climate conscious planning in exercises and flight operations.