2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 23 Oct 2002 13:56:10 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Bird Nests and Bomb Ranges
Bird Nests and Bomb Ranges
Hill Nears Pact to Exempt Pentagon from Law Protecting Species
By Eric Pianin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 23, 2002; Page A09

House and Senate negotiators have tentatively agreed to exempt the
Defense Department from an international law designed to protect more
than 850 species of migratory birds, in response to Bush administration
complaints that such treaties seriously hamper military training and
bombing exercises.

The decision, disclosed yesterday by lawmakers and environmental groups,
could effectively allow the incidental bombing of habitats of hundreds
of thousands of migratory birds, including a number of endangered
species, that fly over 25 million acres of military-controlled land.

The administration earlier this year sought exemptions from numerous
environmental laws dealing with endangered species, marine mammals,
migratory birds, clean air and hazardous waste cleanup. The
restrictions, officials said, were impeding military readiness and
training in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Critics,
including environmental groups, some governors and state attorneys
general, said the administration was using the terrorist attacks as an
excuse to undermine important environmental protections.

As a compromise, Senate and House conferees drafted a version of the
fiscal 2003 defense authorization bill granting the military an
exemption from the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which sets forth U.S.
obligations under four treaties to protect birds and guide conservation
management with the governments of Canada, Mexico, Japan and Russia.
While the exemption would be permanent, the Defense Department would be
given a year to identify ways to minimize the adverse impact of military
training activities on migratory birds.

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