2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 13 Mar 2003 16:57:47 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Pentagon pollution
Pentagon pollution

IN THE PAST 30 years the United States has passed laws to protect the
air, the water, and endangered species from the careless practices of
both the public and private sectors. The laws have always permitted
exemptions in specific cases for the military on national security
grounds. Now the Pentagon wants a blanket exemption from several laws,
including one that requires it to pay damages for contaminated ground
water, as at the Massachusetts Military Reservation on Cape Cod.
Congress should say no.

The Pentagon's end run on environmental laws is in the defense spending
bill, which will be the subject of hearings today. Two laws that the
military has especially in its sights are the Marine Mammals Protection
Act and the Endangered Species Act.

The brass want more flexibility from the first law for sonar and
underwater bombing exercises. Environmentalists say such exercises have
led to beachings by whales. At Camp Pendleton in California, Marines
complain that off-road vehicle travel and trench-digging are limited by
the presence of endangered species.

Last year, when the Defense Department tried to get similar exemptions,
lawmakers declined, noting that presidents have used the laws' national
security exemptions when needed. Last June the General Accounting
Office, the investigative arm of Congress, found that military readiness
data ''do not support the Pentagon's claims that it is being hurt by the
encroachment of environmental laws.''

As recently as last month, the administrator of the Environmental
Protection Agency, Christine Todd Whitman, testified to Congress that
she did not believe that ''there is a training mission anywhere in the
country that is being held up or not taking place because of an
environmental protection regulation.''

This editorial can be viewed at:

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