2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 21 May 2003 18:37:36 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Pataki Letter
 
The following letter was sent to Senator John Warner by Governor George
E. Pataki.

________________________________________________________________
Dear Senator Warner:

I am writing to express the concerns of New York State to Title III,
Subtitle B of S. 747, the environmental provisions of the Department of
Defense (DOD) Authorization bill for Federal Fiscal Year 2004.  As one
of the three sites of the most devastating terrorist attacks in our
Nation's history, New Yorkers are among the strongest supporters of a
strong national defense, and have the utmost gratitude for all of the
military personnel who are acting, each day, to ensure that we never
again suffer the kind of tragedy that we witnessed on September 11,
2001.  New Yorkers also are among the Nation's leading advocates of
environmental protection, and on those grounds are concerned about
potential problems that could result from the enactment of Subtitle B.

New York State has established an excellent working relationship with
the Defense facilities within our borders  Fort Drum, Camp Smith, and
the United States Military Academy at West Point.  These facilities work
cooperatively on a day-to-day basis with the New York State Department
of Environmental Conservation to protect natural resources and to meet
the mandates of the State Implementation Plan for the improvement of air
quality, while concomitantly exercising their authority to train and
prepare the troops and students who are based at these sites.  Our
support for these military facilities demonstrates my administration's
belief in the need for a properly trained military, while striking a
balance with environmental protection.

The amendments to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
which are proposed in S. 747 appear to circumvent the Military Munitions
rule which the United States Environmental Protection Agency promulgated
in 1998, and most of which New York subsequently adopted by regulation.
We are not aware of any instance in which the Military Munitions rule
has impeded DOD activities in the State, therefore, the proposed RCRA
amendments are not necessary for effective DOD operations in New York
State.

In addition, the suggested amendments to the Clean Air Act (CAA) in
Subtitle B appear to be based in part on a concern that the general
conformity provisions of the CAA impeded emergency repair and
reconstruction activities in the wake of the destruction of the World
Trade Center.  The CAA and its implementing regulations already provided
DOD with ample flexibility to carry out its duties during times of war
and emergency (see 118 of the CAA, for example); therefore, the
proposed amendments are unnecessary.  Other important environmental
laws, such as the Endangered Species Act, similarly provide waivers in
the interests of national defense.

Federal Environmental  laws already provide wise and sufficient guidance
that ensures a strong national defense in times of crisis, while
preserving the quality of our environment for future generations.  New
York's experience with the implementation of environmental laws in the
wake of a terrorist attack is unprecedented and, with respect to
Subtitle B, instructive.  Even in the midst of the World Trade Center
crisis, response activities received all the necessary state and federal
authorization, which did not impede the response in any way and insured
that such activities had minimal impact on the people and environment
around the site.  Based upon our experience, I do not believe that these
amendments are necessary, and urge you to consider striking this
language as the DOD Authorization bill moves forward.

Thank you for your consideration of these comments, and for your efforts
as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, to ensure the protection of
New Yorkers and the Nation through a robust National defense.

Very truly yours,

George E. Pataki

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