2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 13 Mar 2003 17:24:12 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Military seeks exemption from laws
Military seeks exemption from laws
By Audrey Hudson

The Defense Department is asking for exemptions from environmental laws
they say are burdensome and restrict military training that leaves
troops unprepared for battle.

"National security concerns mandate that the military be able to train
effectively, test systems adequately and realistically before fielding,
and conduct military operations," said the proposal to Congress, which
begins hearings today.

Extensions of environmental laws have significantly restricted the
military's use of testing ranges, as well as live-fire testing and
training, according to the proposal.

The Readiness and Range Preservation Initiative would give the military
immunity to the Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act, Marine Mammal
Protection Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and Superfund
law. The Pentagon, instead, would operate under the Sikes Act, which
requires the military to integrate natural-resources protections with
actions and training.

Environmental groups oppose the exemptions, saying the government is
using an impending war with Iraq as an excuse to roll back the rules.

Brock Evans, spokesman for the Endangered Species Coalition, called the
potential exemptions a "shocking occurrence" during a teleconference
yesterday with several other environmental groups.

"This is not about military readiness, we all want the troops to have
training, but there are alternatives to exempting environmental laws,"
Mr. Evans said.

Environmentalists say the military has found solutions to pursue
training in compliance with laws on a case-by-case basis.

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