2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 22 Mar 2002 23:25:40 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Encroachment legislative proposals

The U.S. armed services are clearly concerned about environmental
constraints on "military readiness activities." They've been speaking
out about the problem for a couple of years. But it's not clear, at this
point, whether they prefer to cooperate with or roll over their critics,
who include other governmental agencies as well as environmental and
community organizations. 

On March 14, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Ray Dubois told a
Congressional committee that the Department planned a balanced response,
ranging from land-buying partnerships to dialogue to statutory relief.
He promised to work with critics, testifying: "We have begun the
necessary planning that will lead to the start of a national-level
stakeholder involvement effort to discuss our range sustainability
challenges. We are hopeful that such a process, which we hope to begin
later this year, will not only lead to a greater understanding of our
problems but that it will also lead to development of 'win-win'
solutions for everyone."

We have since learned that the legislative package that the Defense
Department had already sent to the Office of Management and Budget for
coordination with other federal agencies, was anything but balanced.
Perhaps its drafters saw their proposals as simply a strong bargaining
position, but as details leak out it's likely that other stakeholders
will view the Defense package as political opportunism, a laundry list
of legislative objectives that it hopes to have enacted while the
country is in a heightened state of alert.

Our sources say that the Defense proposals would:

1) Exempt combat weapons and equipment from the Noise Control Act

2) Exempt military readiness activities from enforcement under the Clean
Air Act State Implementation Plan

3) Clarify that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act doesn't apply to the
incidental consequences of training activities

4) Weaken the definition of harassment under the Marine Mammal
Protection Act

5) Eliminate Critical Habitat designations, under the Endangered Species
Act, on Defense Department lands governed by Integrated Natural
Resources Management Plans

6) Clarify that munitions and explosive constituents are not pollutants
under the Clean Water Act

7) Override conservation-based restrictions on military airspace

8) At operational ranges, define "solid waste" to exclude explosives,
munitions, and their constituents and clarify that the deposition of
explosives, munitions, and their constituents is not a release under
CERCLA (the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and
Liability Act).

The basic thrust of the Defense Department's legislative proposal is
that it can be counted on to protect the environment voluntarily.
Because environmental concerns - from sprawl to species protection -
limit training and flight operations at a growing number of locations,
"readiness" would trump environmental laws anywhere, anytime.

The Bush Administration is expected to submit a modified package to
Congress soon. Then we'll find out whether the Defense Department has
chosen to assume an adversarial or a cooperative role with other stakeholders.


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

  Prev by Date: [CPEO-MEF] Safe burning OK'd on base
Next by Date: [CPEO-MEF] Ships to be exported for scrapping?
  Prev by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] Safe burning OK'd on base
Next by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] Ships to be exported for scrapping?

CPEO Lists
Author Index
Date Index
Thread Index