2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 26 Sep 2003 14:22:14 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] A Threat to a Lifeline in Arizona
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A Threat to a Lifeline in Arizona
Legislation would free an Army base from maintaining the level of a
free-flowing river.
By Julie Cart
September 25, 2003

The San Pedro River, one of the last free-flowing rivers in the
Southwest and an oasis for hundreds of species of migratory birds, could
be seriously depleted if Congress agrees to exempt a nearby military
installation from water restrictions.

Pushing for the exemption at Ft. Huachuca is Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.),
whose father is an executive at a firm with contracts worth more than
$450 million at the post.

Renzi's measure, in the form of an amendment to the defense
authorization bill, would exempt Ft. Huachuca from responsibility for
maintaining water levels in the San Pedro River as called for in an
agreement made last year with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The House recently approved the exemption despite opposition from
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat. The state's senior senator,
Republican John McCain, said last week that he too opposes the

The bill with the amendment attached is in a House-Senate conference.

The proposed exemption would allow the post 70 miles southeast of Tucson
to use more water and to expand. Critics say that would benefit private
sector contractors.

Renzi's father is retired Maj. Gen. Eugene Renzi, executive vice
president with ManTech, a Virginia-based defense contractor that
provides communications and information technology networks to Ft.

The company, which has an office in Sierra Vista, Ariz., was also the
largest contributor to Renzi's 2002 congressional campaign. The company
has more than $1 billion in pending contracts at the base.

Gary Ruskin of the nonprofit Congressional Accountability Project said
Rep. Renzi's provision needlessly opened him to ethical questions.

"This isn't rocket science. It is a clear conflict of interest," Ruskin
said. "It is utterly mystifying why he would not have some other Arizona
member pick this up."

The freshman congressman championed the amendment at the behest of Rep.
Jim Kolbe, (R-Ariz.), who represents the district and who himself
unsuccessfully introduced the measure last year.

Renzi scoffed at the conflict-of-interest claims, saying: "ManTech will
do fine. They don't need a congressman helping them."

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