2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 27 Mar 2003 17:50:03 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Birds and Warriors
March 27, 2003
Birds and Warriors

With U.S. troops risking their lives in Iraq, it's a good time to
examine rules at home that make it harder for them to prepare to fight.
Congress could start by granting the Pentagon's urgent request to change
environmental rules and lawsuits that limit military training.

Consider that about 72% of Fort Lewis, Washington, is restricted to
troops because it is "critical habitat" for the Northern Spotted Owl --
though none live on the base. Or that 22,000 acres of California's Fort
Irwin are largely unusable because of the Desert Tortoise. Or that 77%
of Fort Hood in Texas is restricted at some time during the year because
of species and cultural artifacts.

The Barry Goldwater range in Arizona must employ four biologists to
chase Sonoran pronghorn antelope and close areas if any are found within
five kilometers of a target; 30% of the Air Force's live ammunition
drops have had to be moved. Environmental lawsuits would put 57% of
California's Camp Pendleton out of use. That's a home of the Marines.

America's troops have just 25 million acres on which to train (less than
1% of the nation) but they must look after 300 threatened or endangered
species. These restrictions are taking their toll. A General Accounting
Office report last year said the situation "limits units' ability to
train as they would expect to fight..."

It's not as if the military isn't trying. From 1991-2001, the military
spent $48 billion on environmental programs, sometimes to its own
detriment. When the loggerhead shrike was listed endangered in 1977, San
Clemente Island had 13 birds. Under the Navy's care the population has
grown to 160 (70 in the wild), forcing the Navy in turn to reduce the
size of two firing ranges -- one by 90%, the other by 50%.

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