2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 2 May 2002 20:29:54 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] RRPI Round Over - the House Committee marks
Round one in the fight over the Pentagon's Readiness and Range
Preservation Initiative (RRPI) legislative proposal is done, and the
results are mixed. The full House Armed Services Committee marked up the 
Fiscal Year 2003 Defense Authorization Act today, Wednesday, May 1, 
2002, and reportedly, here's what happened:

Section 2017(a). Critical Habitat for Threatened and Endangered Species. 
The Committee retained but modified the Defense Department language, 
designed to allow the military to use completion of an Integrated 
Natural Resources Management Plan to preclude the designation of 
Critical Habitat. We'll send out the actual new language when we receive 

Section 2017(b). Migratory Birds. In the wake of the court decision
enjoining Navy bombing in the Northern Marianas, the Committee included 
the Defense Department language to allow the destruction of bird habitat 
by military readiness activities.

Section 2017(c). Marine Mammals. The Committee decided not to include
this language, which would have eased the definition of "harassment" of 
marine mammals, in the bill.

Section 2018. Conformity with State Implementation Plans for Air
Quality. The committee dropped this provision, too. It would have
weakened the requirements for military compliance with the Clean Air

Section 2019. Range Management and Restoration. The committee did not
adopt this language, either. It was designed to clarify limits on RCRA
(Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) and CERCLA (Comprehensive
Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) regulation of
operational military munitions ranges. Critics, however, argued that it 
would also impact the regulation of munitions and explosive constituents 
on former ranges, as well as contamination likely to migrate off range.

Sections 2020 and 2021. Agreements with Private Organizations to Address 
Encroachment and Other Constraints on Military Training, Testing, and 
Operations; and Conveyance of Surplus Real Property for Natural Resource 
Conservation Purposes. These two provisions, to authorize the Defense 
Department to spend money and transfer property to protect habitat or 
other environmental resources, sailed through without opposition.

Hansen Amendment. This amendment, to allow overflights and other
military actions in Utah wilderness areas, passed the Committee after a 
divisive debate. It was not included in the official Defense legislative 

The Defense Authorization Act moves to the House Rules Committee and
then the House floor. Meanwhile, the Senate Armed Services Committee is 
taking briefings from the Defense Department and its critics. Currently 
controlled by the Democrats, the Senate Committee is likely to be more 
skeptical of Defense proposals than its House counterpart. So the 
legislation has many hoops to jump through before it is enacted into 

More than any other piece of Defense environmental legislation since the 
passage of the Federal Facilities Compliance Act in 1992, the Pentagon's 
RRPI has mobilized opposition from states and particularly environmental 
groups that normally pay scant attention, at least on the national 
level, to military activities. By proposing to modify a broad spectrum 
of environmental laws that those groups hold "sacred," the Defense 
Department guaranteed that they would organize their members and 
supporters, not just for round one, but through the final bell.

Maybe that's good thing, because the problems addressed by the RRPI are 
real, and they require the attention of environmental activists as well 
as local, tribal, and state governments. However, the adversarial nature 
of the Capitol Hill fight may make it more difficult for all of the 
stakeholders to work together to solve those problems. The coalition 
opposing the legislation has affirmed its support for national security 
objectives. At some point, no matter what happens to the legislative 
proposals still in play, they should have the opportunity to demonstrate 
their willingness to reduce the tension between readiness and 
environmental protection.


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] Court orders halt to FDM bomber training
Next by Date: Re: [CPEO-MEF] Sprawl Threatens Operation of Arizona's Luke AFB
  Prev by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] Court orders halt to FDM bomber training
Next by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] Can Navy sonar hurt whales?

CPEO Lists
Author Index
Date Index
Thread Index