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US MILITARY Exemption From Environmental Laws


US MILITARY Asking For Exemption From
Environmental Laws
Thursday, March 14, 2002

By Taffy Lee Williams


The House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing to consider “Environmental and Encroachment Issues” on March 14th, 2002, and will hear from representatives of the U.S. Military on the "burdensome" nature of environmental laws, citing specifically the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act. Exemption from these laws in the name of “national security” will shield the Military from being held accountable for the impacts of environmentally catastrophic activities.

MILITARY TECHNOLOGIES OF CONCERN (selected) that can cause significant or permanent loss of viability, biodiversity, disruption of ecological processes and the ability of a region to repair itself, and are thus in violation of environmental laws:

DEPLETED URANIUM: (DU) the heavier-than-lead by-product of nuclear weapons production is being used to coat shells, bombs, even tanks. DU “dust” (with a half life of 4 billion years) is littered throughout Vieques, Puerto Rico, the Balkans, Iraq, and now Afghanistan; this has coincided with a rise in the rates of infant deformity, cancer and illness in civilian populations. Agricultural products, crops and water supplies have been contaminated.

WEAPONIZATION OF SPACE: Predicted effects are extensive damage and alteration of the upper atmosphere and protective ozone layer.

NUCLEAR WEAPONS TESTING in western states has destroyed regions once rich with life, imperiled countless lives and precipitated a skyrocketing cancer rate.

HAARP – HIGH FREQUENCY ACTIVE AURORAL RESEARCH: An intensive and increasingly destructive program designed to "understand, simulate and control ionospheric processes” by beaming 3.6 Gigawatts of effective radiated power of high frequency radio energy into the ionosphere.

SURTASS LFA (Surveillance Towed Array System Low Frequency Active (LFA Sonar): At 240 decibels (dB), the “pings” of the US Navy’s LFA Sonar are some of the loudest sounds ever heard on earth. These sounds can travel 300 miles in any direction while attenuating (weakening) to only 140 dB, covering an astonishing 374,000 square miles of ocean. (105 dB is the standard fire alarm; the decibel scale is logarithmic.) Powerful military sonars have been linked over the past 20 years to dozens of mass strandings of whales and dolphins; specimens collected revealed severe acoustic trauma: lungs, ears, and cranial tissues had ruptured or exploded from the violence of resonance. Mass species extinctions are predicted as the Navy plans to “patrol” 80% of the world’s oceans although non-intrusive powerful passive systems are available.

The US Military should not be given freedom from compliance with US environmental laws. Nor should it be excused from violating foreign environmental regulations and statutes as this will ultimately undermine our security by exacerbating worldview of the US as a disrespectful superpower bully.

Congress has excluded testimony from community and state witnesses during the previous three similar hearings held in the past year.

Urge your representatives, Sec. Rumsfeld and the House Armed Services Committee to:

1. Strengthen environmental laws and OPPOSE any attempt to weaken them to accommodate military activities.

2. OPPOSE environmentally catastrophic activities such as the use of Depleted Uranium, Nuclear Weapons Testing, the Weaponization of Space, and HAARP Technology.

3. OPPOSE the use of high intensity military acoustic devices like SURTASS LFA Sonar, and SUPPORT new passive technologies that won’t harm the environment.

4. OPPOSE Military attempts to bypass legislative review and gain exemption from environmental laws through amendments to any other committee bills (such as Military Procurement or Appropriations).

5. SUPPORT expansion of the witness list to include representatives from impacted communities, regions and states.

6. Enforce a full disclosure of military technologies and the creation of an independent citizen and scientific defense oversight committee.

For House members contact information: (zip code entry)
The capitol switchboard is at (202) 224-3121.

Everyone should contact Armed Services Committee Chairman Bob Stump (fax: (202) 225-6328 and Resources Committee Chairman James Hansen (fax: (202) 225-5857) on this issue.


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