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[greenyes] Guns or Butter or the Environment
From ENN:


Pentagon says enviromental laws hamper training for war

Friday, March 14, 2003
By Sue Pleming, Reuters

WASHINGTON  Angering environmentalists, defense officials Thursday
argued in Congress for an exemption from environmental laws they said
hindered training, including for a possible war against Iraq. 
Officials from the Pentagon and regulatory agencies told lawmakers some
environmental laws had led to lengthy legal challenges and this
jeopardized training for the fight against terrorism as well as a
looming attack on Baghdad.

But environmentalists, some of whom accused the Pentagon of using war
as an excuse to erode these laws, countered that the exemptions would
give the military a green light to dump spent munitions, poison the
seas, and endanger protected wildlife.

"(This) is a giant step in the wrong direction. Instead of making the
Defense Department a leader in 'environmental compliance and
protection,' the initiative would give the military special treatment
that is not necessary for it to fulfill its mission," said Lenny Siegel,
executive director of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight.

The issue was aired at a hearing of the sub-committee of the House
Armed Services Committee.

The administration is hoping to present proposals on changing specific
environmental acts by this summer.

The military, while insisting it will continue to protect the
environment, has proposed exemptions from legislation such as the Clean
Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection

Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Raymond DuBois said a
"disproportionate" environmental burden had been placed on the
Department of Defense, which worked hard to strike a balance between the
environment and training for battle.

"Expanding restrictions on training and test ranges are limiting
realistic preparations for combat and therefore our ability to maintain
the readiness of America's military forces," DuBois said.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Wayne Arny, said that with two
sons in the Navy and as a former fighter pilot himself, he knew
firsthand how important it was to be exposed to "realistic training"
before going to war.

"We are not looking for wholesale suspension of environmental laws as
they apply to military readiness." he said. "We are merely trying to
restore balance where environmental requirements adversely affect
uniquely military activities  activities that are necessary to
prepare sailors and Marines to engage in combat and win," he added.

However, Nina Young, director of marine wildlife conservation at the
Ocean Conservancy, a group which works to protect marine life, said
proposed changes to the law would increase injuries and deaths to

Several Democrats voiced opposition to the proposals, questioning
whether it was necessary to change the law to suit military training.

However, one Republican lawmaker, Rep. Robin Hayes from North Carolina,
charged that "radical" environmentalists had compromised essential
training of troops and praised the military for its environmental

Source: Reuters



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