2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Aimee Houghton <aimeeh@cpeo.org>
Date: 18 Oct 2002 21:33:48 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] RRPI Update
The Fiscal Year 2003 Defense Appropriations Act and Military
Construction Appropriations Act have been finalized, and they should be
signed soon. This legislation sets the funding levels for most military
programs, including environmental activities.

However, the Fiscal Year 2003 Defense Authorization Act remains in
Senate-House conference committee. This bill is supposed to focus more
on policy issues than the Appropriations acts. For months one of the
most controversial issues has been the Defense Department's Readiness
and Range Preservations Initiative (RRPI). It appears that most of those
differences have been resolved. The bill is currently being held up by
the Veteran?s Pension/Concurrent Receipt language. The President has
threatened to veto the bill if that provision appears in the final
version that is sent to him for signature. Consequently, it appears that
the conference has broken down over this legislation.

With mid-term elections looming, it is entirely possible that the
conference report won't be signed until sometime after November 5th.
Nothing is final until the report is signed. However, opponents of RRPI remain
somewhat optimistic.

The conservation provisions, which were supported by the environmental
community, remain intact. However, it appears that only the Migratory
Bird Treaty Act will be affected by legislative changes. It is our
understanding that flexibility will be added, in the form of the
development of a permitting process.

Though it is still too early to call, it appears that the Defense
Department had only limited success in its attempt to solve encroachment
problems legislatively. More importantly, legislation or not, the
problems will remain. Urban sprawl, habitat protection, and other
environmental issues are limiting Defense activities, and the
legal/regulatory process for balancing environmental and other civilian
needs against military requirements have plenty of room for improvement.

Once again, we at CPEO call upon the Department of Defense to :

1. Prepare to utilize the conservation provisions of the law as soon as
it is enacted.

2. Ally with environmental organizations in support of smart growth, and

3. Sponsor one or more facilitated, multi-stakeholder dialogues to
promote communications and seek broad, national solutions to apparent
conflicts between readiness and the environment. Such a dialogue may
lead to legislative proposals, but we believe a great deal can be done
within the current legal framework.

Originally, we proposed a single, overarching dialogue, but we now
believe that it may also prove valuable to establish specialized forums
such as one dealing with marine mammals and sonar. The recent
termination of Naval exercises near the Canary Islands illustrated that
this particular issue will remain ?hot,? deserving its own constructive
debate, no matter what happens with legislation.

Lenny Siegel and Aimée Houghton

Aimee R. Houghton
Associate Director, CPEO
1101 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC  20036
tel: 202-452-8039; fax: 202-452-8095
Email: aimeeh@cpeo.org

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