2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: kdoyle@psenterprises.com
Date: 3 Apr 2003 20:16:10 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] SF Gate: At war with the environment?
At war with the environment?

Thursday, April 3, 2003
A92003 San Francisco Chronicle | Feedback


FOR DECADES, the military has heeded federal pollution and wildlife laws
on 25 million acres of bases, ports and airfields. The admirals and
generals grudgingly agreed to steps such as cleaning up firing ranges or
avoiding tank maneuvers in bird-nesting areas.

But the Defense Department now wants to use the Iraq war to exempt
itself from these environmental rules. At stake are endangered species
protections, cleanups of toxic rocket fuel, ocean tests that may
jeopardize marine mammals, clean air laws and other hazardous waste
regulations. It's a new form of shock and awe, aimed at the outdoors.

The Pentagon says the exemptions are a military necessity.
Anti-terrorism and the war in Iraq oblige stepped-up training that can't
be impeded by pollution controls, wildlife safeguards or the legal
threats from environmental groups, the brass argues, as it did Wednesday
at a Senate hearing.

Their argument is compelling in times of war, of course. Pilots and
ground troops must be battle-ready, a peak condition that comes from
thorough training at scores of bases and firing ranges. Several key
training posts are in Southern California, where the desert backcountry
and coastal areas match the arid Middle East.

The important job of military preparedness must continue. But the
arguments for broadly brushing aside environmental rules must be
explained and justified.

The Pentagon should make its case, not just cite the pressures of war
for an open-ended exemption.

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