2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 27 May 2003 15:37:13 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Defense Department's next battle: the environment
Defense Department's next battle: the environment

The military's preparedness is threatened. Our troops can't train
properly. We could be in danger from another terrorist attack, but our
fighting forces might not be ready.

The culprit? Sea otters.

That's right, protections for marine mammals and endangered species in
two important laws are undermining our military's ability to train and
prepare for war and anti-terrorist activities. And President Bush's
administration, ever eager to weaken our environmental laws, wants to do
something about it.

Problem is, there is no problem. At least, not to the extent that the
administration would like the public to believe.

Earlier in the year, the Department of Defense approached Congress with
a request for exemption from the Marine Mammal Protection and Endangered
Species acts in order to strengthen military readiness.

At the time, this request shocked me; the readiness of our military is
the best in the world. Our military should be commended for its
stewardship of the environment in certain situations, such as the Navy's
40 years of creating technology to eliminate waste on ships and the
Army's research on reuse of timber from barracks on abandoned bases such
as Fort Ord.

Thursday, the House voted to grant the Defense Department its request to
decrease habitat protection of threatened and endangered species on
military lands and increase the harassment of marine mammals by
weakening the standards set by the Marine Mammal Protection and the
Endangered Species acts. First, this bill attacks our endangered species
by prohibiting the secretary of interior from conserving their "critical
habitat," areas where endangered species live and breed, on lands
managed by the Defense Department. Second, it weakens the definition of
"harassment" for Defense Department-related activities, meaning marine
mammals could be exposed to high intensity sonar testing and military
maneuvers near breeding areas, which could kill the animals or disrupt
their mating behaviors.

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