2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 28 Aug 2003 15:57:53 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] No war on whales
No war on whales

TO EXEMPT the Navy's underwater bombing and sonar operations from the
Marine Mammals Protection Act would be as nonsensical as exempting all
fishing gear from the law. Both can be harmful to the whales and other
sea mammals that the law aims to protect. But a bill passed by the House
of Representatives would give the Department of Defense a blanket
exemption from this statute as well as from the Endangered Species Act.
These laws are hallmarks of an attempt to coexist with other species,
especially ones threatened by human activities. The Pentagon, which has
long chafed at the restrictions it says these laws put on its freedom to
do training exercises, wants the exemptions included in the defense
authorization bill.

The military is seeking separate legislation that would exclude its
discarded munitions and explosives from the category of hazardous waste.
This could affect the ability of Massachusetts to collect damages from
the Defense Department for harm that the Massachusetts Military
Reservation on Cape Cod has done to Cape ground water.

Fortunately, the Senate version of the authorization bill includes much
more measured language on environmental exemptions. Like the House, it
would allow the military to do its own natural resource management plans
for habitats on military property that are critical to endangered
species. But unlike the House, the Senate would require that the plans
be reviewed by the Fish and Wildlife Service. The service's director
would have to certify that the plan would actually protect wildlife and
that it is backed up by enough funding to ensure it would be

This editorial can be viewed at:

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