Tuesday, April 30, 2002

warbirds, whales, and military pollution
Should the environmental laws apply to the military? Is the endangered species act making it difficult to defend our country? Should pollution be ignored when it comes from military training?

Bombing exercises were recently called to a halt by a federal court on a US territory in the South Pacific when it was discovered that migratory birds were being killed. The military is concerned that the ruling may impact other military actions, and the Pentagon is asking for exemptions. They've received some responses from this request:
The administration's call for broad environmental exemptions for the Pentagon has been strongly opposed by environmental groups, governors and state attorneys general, and public interest groups. The military is among the nation's largest polluters, and it manages 25 million acres of land that provide habitat for 300 species listed as threatened or endangered.
A sonar system to detect new "quiet" submarines is also coming under attack by environmentalists. The sonar can confuse, and kill whales and other "noise sensitive marine mammals."

I understand the need for military preparedness, and laws applied without the exercise of reason and common sense are dangerous in themselves. But when you continue to carve out exceptions to laws and rights regarding free speech, privacy, the environment, and so on, something can be lost forever.

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