2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 4 Feb 2003 14:45:53 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] MMPA Letter to Federal Agencies
The following letter was sent on Jan. 31, 2003.

Animal Protection Institute | Center for International Environmental Law
|Cetacean Society International | Defenders of Wildlife | In Defense of
Animals | Earth Island Institute | Earthjustice | Endangered Species
Coalition | Environmental Defense |
Environmental Investigation Agency | Friends of the Sea Otter | The Fund
for Animals | Greenpeace | The Humane Society of the United States |
Military Toxics Project | National Environmental Trust | Natural
Resources Defense Council | Oceana | The Ocean Conservancy | Public
Employees for Environmental Responsibility | Seaflow | Sierra Club |
Society for Animal Protective Legislation | Whale and Dolphin
Conservation Society | The Whale Center of New England | World Wildlife

January 31, 2003

Mr. Mitchell E. Daniels, Sr.
Office of Management and Budget Director
The Office of Management and Budget
725 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20503

Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere
NOAA Administrator
Department of Commerce
14th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20230

Dr. Steven A. Williams
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Department of Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Gentlemen:

On behalf of our conservation organizations and the millions of members
we represent, we strongly urge you to reject adding anti-environmental
provisions to the Administration’s Department of Defense Authorization
proposal for FY 2004.  National security and environmental protection
are not only compatible, they are inextricably linked.

The Department of Defense (DoD) is preparing to resubmit a proposal to
exempt itself from complying with key provisions in many of the nation’s
most significant public health and wildlife conservation laws.   Similar
to an effort by DoD that was largely rejected by Congress last year, the
Department seeks legislative and administrative waivers from the Clean
Air Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and
Liability Act (Superfund), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Clean
Water Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Endangered Species Act, and Marine
Mammal Protection Act.   The American people have long supported our
nation’s environmental and public health laws and believe government
agencies such as the DoD should not be exempt from complying with laws
intended to apply equally to all Americans.

We understand that the DoD may expand its proposal on the Marine Mammal
Protection Act (MMPA).  This would require consultation with and
approval of your agencies.  We urge you to reject proposed changes that
seek to weaken the MMPA, including a new definition of “harassment” that
introduces ambiguity into a cornerstone provision of the act; blanket
exemptions from the permitting process; proposals that would hamper
permitting agencies from undertaking a thorough review of a “take”
application; and elimination of existing restrictions that would allow
military activities to take more than “small numbers” of marine mammals
in a “specified geographic region.”

By allowing many more military activities to escape vital reviews,
monitoring requirements and mitigation measures, these changes would
undermine 30 years of progress our nation has made in protecting whales,
dolphins, seals, and other marine mammals.  The changes would add
substantial uncertainty to the MMPA, impede the enforcement efforts of
the wildlife agencies, increase the risk of harm to marine mammals, and
only raise the level of public controversy and concern.   Strandings of
marine mammals, similar to the 2000 event in the Bahamas and the 2002
event in the Canary Islands, could become more frequent.

The DoD has not made a case for such dramatic changes to the law.  In
fact, last March, NOAA’s Assistant Administrator William Hogarth stated
before the House Armed Services Committee that no small take or
incidental harassment application submitted by the DoD has ever been
denied.  Moreover, provisions to accommodate Defense Department
activities already exist within federal law, i.e. the Armed Services
Code (10 U.S.C. §2014).

Existing laws provide for case-by-case determinations to ensure that
both military readiness and environmental protection are achieved.
Rather than pursue broad legislative or administrative changes, we would
encourage the agencies to examine ways to make the existing structure
even more effective, such as increasing staffing levels and funding at
the permitting agencies and improving inter-agency consultations.

We appreciate your attention to these concerns.


Dawn M. Martin
Chief Operating Officer

Roger Rufe
The Ocean Conservancy
Vice Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard (ret.)

Phil Clapp
National Environmental Trust

Vawter Parker
Executive Director

John H. Adams
Natural Resources Defense Council

Patricia A. Forkan
Executive Vice President
The Humane Society of the United States

Carl Pope
Executive Director
Sierra Club

Rodger Schlickeisen
Defenders of Wildlife

John Passacantando
Executive Director

Fred Krupp
Environmental Defense

William W. Rossiter
Cetacean Society International

Brock Evans
Executive Director
Endangered Species Coalition

Jeff Ruch
Executive Director
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

Christine Wolf
Director of Government and International Affairs
The Fund for Animals

Alan Berger
Executive Director
Animal Protection Institute

Elliot M. Katz, DVM
In Defense of Animals

David Phillips
Director, International Marine Mammal Project
Earth Island Institute

Donald Ingraham
Executive Director
Friends of the Sea Otter

Allan Thornton
Environmental Investigation Agency

Chris Butler-Stroud
Chief Executive Officer
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

Daniel B. Magraw, Jr.
Executive Director
Center for International Environmental Law

Mary Jo Rice
Executive Director

Tara Thornton
Executive Director
Military Toxics Project

John Kullberg
Society for Animal Protective Legislation

Mason Weinrich
Executive Director
The Whale Center of New England

Brooks Yeager
Vice President of Global Threats
World Wildlife Fund

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