2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: cpeo <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 22 Apr 2003 14:30:50 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Rare grass granted shelter on Kaua'i
Posted on: Tuesday, April 22, 2003
Rare grass granted shelter on Kaua'i
By Derrick DePledge

WASHINGTON  In the sand dunes and coastal shrubs of Polihale State Park
on Kaua'i, the only known population of lau 'ehu, an endangered
bunchgrass, is making what could be its final stand.

Vulnerable to human and natural hazards, only 23 of the rare plants
remain, a thin margin between survival and extinction. Some of the best
habitat for the species, federal botanists believe, is just south of the
park, on the Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands.

Over the Navy's objections, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has
designated 177 acres of the missile range as critical habitat for lau
'ehu, forcing the Navy to consider the plant's survival even though no
plants now exist on the range.

Such conflicts between the environment and the military are nothing new,
especially in Hawai'i. But the Pentagon, frustrated by what it sees as
unnecessary restrictions on training, wants greater protection from

The Bush administration and the Pentagon are pushing for broader
military exceptions to the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal
Protection Act, the Clean Air Act and other federal environmental laws.

Adm. Thomas Fargo, who leads the U.S. Pacific Command at Camp H.M.
Smith, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last month that federal
environmental laws and lawsuits from environmental groups are
restricting the military's ability to conduct training exercises.

"The military's answer to encroachment challenges has been to work
around the problems while seeking to minimize the impact on the quality
and quantity of training," Fargo testified. "But maneuver space is less,
training lanes have become narrow and artificially tunneled, and our
individual maneuvers have become too predictable or repetitive."

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