2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 19 Mar 2003 22:39:05 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] PENTAGON TO INVOKE "NATIONAL SECURITY" EXEMPTIONS IN ENVIRONMENTAL
 
Press Release
For Immediate Release:  Thursday, March 20, 2003
Contact:  Dennis McKinney  (202) 265-7337

PENTAGON TO INVOKE "NATIONAL SECURITY" EXEMPTIONS IN ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS
Some Exemptions May Be Permanent,
Says Wolfowitz Memo


Washington, DC Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is directing all
military service chiefs to develop plans for President Bush to invoke
national security exemptions to an array of environmental laws,
according to a memo released today by Public Employees for Environmental
Responsibility (PEER).  The memo orders the Army, Navy and Air Force
secretaries to forward domestic military practices they wish to see
exempted from anti-pollution, noise control and wildlife protection
laws.

Under current law, many environmental statutes have exemptions for
activities deemed by the President to be necessary for reasons of
national security or in the paramount interest of the United States.
These exemptions, however, have never been used.

In a March 7 memo, Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz states, without
citing specific cases, that environmental regulation and litigation
threaten our continued ability to conduct necessary military training
and testing.   The memo lists ten laws to which the Pentagon will seek
national security exemptions either for a specified period of time or
indefinitely :

      Anti-Pollution Laws: the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and
the Safe Drinking Water Act;

      Toxic Disposal Laws: the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act
(RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation &
Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund), and the Toxic Substances Control
Act;

      Land Management: Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act
and the Coastal Zone Management Act;

      Noise Limits: the Noise Control Act; and

      Wildlife Protection: the Endangered Species Act.

At the same time, the Pentagon is also asking Congress to rewrite
several environmental laws to eliminate or limit their effects on
military readiness activities.  The Wolfowitz memo suggests that the
Department of Defense has not used exemptions already available to it
due to our past restraint for which we should be commended.   In a June
2002 report, the General Accounting Office concluded that there was no
identifiable loss of military readiness due to the need to comply with
environmental laws [www.gao.gov/new.items/d02614.pdf ].  Tacitly
conceding this lack of quantification, the Wolfowitz memo directs the
services to come up with examples of where environmental laws hinder
military readiness and to forward them up the chain-of-command.

This smug directive portrays a Pentagon cynically playing politics with
public health and environmental protection, commented PEER Executive
Director Jeff Ruch, whose organization exposed a Pentagon plan for a
three-year campaign to immunize itself from virtually all environmental
restraints [ www.peer.org/press/304.html].  This memo is, in effect, an
all points bulletin begging for examples to establish an illusory case
that environmental compliance hurts national security.  It is the height
of chutzpah that the Defense Department wants Congress to change laws
even though the Pentagon has yet to explore the options and flexibility
available under the current statutes.


###

Read the Wolfowitz memo:
http://www.peer.org/Military/Wolfowitz_memo.pdf
OR
http://www.cpeo.org/pubs/Wolfowitz_memo.pdf

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is a national
alliance of local, state and federal resource professionals, working to
protect the environment.

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