|From:||CPEO Moderator <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|Date:||13 Mar 2003 17:51:23 -0000|
|Subject:||[CPEO-MEF] Military targets environmental law|
The Chicago Tribune requires registration in order to view this article. Registration is quick and free. _________________________ Military targets environmental law By Julie Deardorff Tribune staff reporter Published March 13, 2003 The Pentagon on Thursday will ask the U.S. House and Senate Committees on Armed Services to exempt the military from federal environmental laws that top brass says are hampering military training. The proposed legislation, called the Readiness and Range Preservation Initiative, would excuse armed forces from major provisions of the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Superfund law and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Though a similar measure was defeated last year, the Defense Department says the relaxed provisions are necessary to improve training across the country. Without the changes, military units are forced into "pretend" training, a disadvantage during a war on terrorism, the government contends. At the 125,000-acre Camp Pendleton in California, for example, environmentalists' litigation may force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate more than half of the base as critical habitat--an area considered necessary to the species survival. At the Goldwater Range in Arizona, the Air Force redirects or cancels 30 percent of live-drop missions every year to avoid jeopardizing an endangered antelope called the Sonoran pronghorn. "With the many restrictions placed on military training and weapons testing in recent years, training is losing its realism," said a Defense Department statement. The initiative is aimed only at activities that relate to combat and military training and would not affect closed bases or requirements to clean up old sites, it said. Environmental groups, who will also testify Thursday, say the proposal is part of the Bush administration's ongoing campaign to roll back environmental protections. The exemptions are hidden in the National Defense Authorization Act, a funding bill for the Defense Department that is unrelated to environmental law, said Michael Jasny of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Moreover, the legislation is unnecessary, conservationists say, because federal law already allows case-by-case exemptions when environmental laws hurt troop readiness. And the secretary of defense has unilateral authority to waive one law, the Endangered Species Act. To view this article, copy and paste the following URL into your browser: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0303130340mar13,1,2241909.story?coll=chi%2Dnewsnationworld%2Dhed ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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