2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 25 Nov 2003 23:20:22 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Military get raises; environmental rules change for Pendleton
Military get raises; environmental rules change for Pendleton
By Darrin Mortenson
November 24, 2003

CAMP PENDLETON ---- President Bush signed a $401 billion defense
spending bill into law Monday that gives Marines and sailors a
significant pay raise and blocks environmental agencies from roping off
more training ground at Camp Pendleton to protect endangered species.

The 2004 National Defense Authorization Act also sets aside more than
$25 million for a new tertiary sewage plant on the base that will
replace four outdated plants built in the 1950s.

As a bill, the measure had passed easily through both houses of Congress
in recent weeks only after a long, hard slog in conference committee.

The law funds the military for the fiscal year that began in October. It
is in addition to the $87 billion supplemental bill for operations in
Iraq and Afghanistan that recently passed Congress and was signed by
President George Bush.

Several provisions directly affect Camp Pendleton and other local
installations, as well as local military communities and related

Environmental restrictions eased

One of the most contentious measures in the act signed Monday was what
lawmakers coined the "freedom to train" provision, which will keep
environmental agencies from designating additional lands on military
installations as critical habitat for endangered or threatened species.

It also opens the door for the Pentagon to negotiate with the Department
of Interior to relax restrictions that military officials say hinder

Camp Pendleton was the poster child of the Pentagon's campaign to amend
the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act in the
military's favor.

Base officials and local conservative politicians have said
environmental restrictions on the base threatened the lives of Marines
by not permitting them to practice basic skills such as digging fighting
positions, driving off-road and conducting unfettered beach landings.

Environmentalists have said they believed the bill was a Trojan horse
intended to break down the system of laws that have protected the
environment from military and industrial pollution for decades.

The argument about training was just a smokescreen, they said, and
recent military successes in Afghanistan and Iraq have demonstrated that
the Marines and soldiers are adequately trained without exemptions.

This article can be viewed at:

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