2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 25 Feb 2003 17:32:20 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION: Lean and mean, but green?
ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION: Lean and mean, but green?
02/24/2003 07:40 AM

MARINES storm the beach at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Then they stop storming, board buses and go someplace else to finish invading.

Tanks maneuver gingerly around the marshes, and Marines mustn't dig fox holes willy-nilly. The Marine Corps, it seems, poses a peril to the endangered California gnatcatcher, along with the tidewater goby and the San Diego fairy shrimp.

In Fort Hood, Texas, 66,000 acres of training ground are off-limits during part of the year to protect threatened birds. In Montana, the Air Force sometimes switches training ranges in mid-flight to avoid scaring antelope.

This sort of thing irks the daylights out of generals and admirals. "We need to be able to train as we fight," say the generals. When rumbling over Iraq, they won't stop for gnatcatchers.

Now the generals are pressing Congress to exempt the military from the Marine Mammal Protection, Endangered Species and the Migratory Bird acts.

The military has a problem, but the brass have the wrong solution. Some reasonable compromise is in order.

Soldiering is, to a large degree, about shooting things and blowing things up. So that's what the military practices. That practice is vital to our national security, but it's not environmentally friendly. In fact, it's a dirty mess.

The environmental collisions have become more frequent, and more acute, as urban sprawl has advanced upon animal habitat in areas surrounding military bases. As open land has become subdivisions and strip malls, animals have been forced to take refuge on the military bases - if refuge is the right word.

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