2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 8 May 2003 15:28:25 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] California state legislature letter
The following is a copy of a letter sent to Senator Feinstein from the
California State Legislature.

The letter can be viewed online as a PDF document at:

Honorable Diane Feinstein
United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 205150

April 14, 2003

Re: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004

Dear Senator Feinstein,

We, the undersigned members of the California State Legislature, would
like to express our deep concerns over the efforts of the Pentagon to
exempt its activities from a broad range of environmental laws designed
to protect the health of the public and the environment.

The Defense Authorization bill would exempt various military activities
from the Clean Air Act, hazardous waste and Superfund laws, the Marine
Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act.  These laws are
the backbone of our country's environmental policy and ensure
accountability for the contamination of our air, water, and land.

We agree that a well-trained and equipped military force is necessary
for the security of our nation and its citizens.  However, in depth
studies of whether we must jettison laws which protect our health and
this environment in which we live have concluded that these laws and
regulations have not , and will not, weaken national defense in any
way.  Last [...], the General Accounting Office (GAO) said that the
Department of Defense (DoD) has failed to produce any evidence showing
that environmental laws or other "encroachments" have significantly
affected military readiness.  As recently as February 26, 2003, head of
the US EPA, Christie Todd Whitman, testified before the Senate that she
has "been working very closely with the Department of Defense and I
don't believe that there is a training mission anywhere in the country
that is being held up or not taking place because of environmental
protection regulations."

In our view, this country's environmental protection policies prevent
short and long term harm caused by human activities to the greatest
extent possible by assuring proper advance planning, important public
participation and serious examination of less damaging alternatives.
These laws also assure that those who pollute our environment remain
responsible for cleaning up the contamination.  In California alone,
there are 3,912 contaminated sites on 441 current and former DoD
properties.  Indeed, if it is truly a matter of "paramount interest of
the United States," many of these laws have a case-by-case exemption
provision already.

The economic health of our state depends on the health of its citizens
and the environment in which they live.  From tourism to fisheries to
agriculture, many of our jobs and much of the income of our state are
dependant on maintaining a robust environment.  Experience repeatedly
demonstrates that prevention is always the cheapest and best way to
maintain a clean and safe place to live and play.

States are already overwhelmed by the increased expenses due to homeland
security costs.  If federal entities exempt themselves from the
protection offered by these laws, Californians will be forced to pick up
the additional costs resulting from activities beyond their control and
supervision.  In addition to being unnecessary, forcing states to assume
this burden is fundamentally unfair.

We fully support the need for first-class training and readiness for
U.S. troops, but this request by the DoD for sweeping exemptions from
environmental laws is extremely troubling.  The laws in question are the
product of many years of debate on behalf of citizens, businesses, and
legislators and, thus, we cannot agree with this shortsighted and
unnecessary attempt to skirt our nation's legislation.

Please use your best efforts to resist the attempt of the Department of
Defense to exempt its activities from the laws that protect the health
and well being of Californians and their environment.


John Laird (A.D.27), Chair
Assm. Environmental Safety Comm.

Hannah-Beth Jackson (A.D.35), Chair
Assm. Natural Resources Comm.

Fran Pavley (A.D.41), Chair
Assm. Sub.3 Budget-Resources

Nell Soto (S.D.32)

Fabian Nunez (A.D.46)

Carol Liu (A.D.44)

Debra Bowen (S.D.28)

Paul Koretz (A.D.42)

John Vasconcellos (S.D.13)

Sally Lieber (A.D.22)

Joe Nation (A.D.6)

Cindy Montanez (A.D.39)

Judy Chu (A.D.49)

Jackie Speier (S.D.8)

Byron Sher (S.D.11)

John Longville (A.D.62)

Loni Hancock (A.D.14)

Mark Leno (A.D.13)

Darrell Steinberg (A.D.9)

Alan Lowenthal (A.D.54)

Simon Salinas (A.D.28)

Gloria Romero (S.D.24)

Patricia Wiggins (A.D.7)

Wilma Chan (A.D.16)

Ellen Corbett (A.D.18)

Martha Escutia (S.D.30)

Don Perata (S.D.9)

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