The US military has complained that environmental laws are "burdensome" and have been battling the courts for broad exemptions, this despite already having a national security waiver that can be applied if needed. Yet the military has polluted up to 21,000 sites worldwide, and in the US, an area the size of Florida. Exemptions would excuse the DOD from responsibility for cleanup, casting this enormous burden on the states and communities damaged. Besides this, environmental exemptions will unleash an uncontrolled "assault" on the environment by the use of devastatingly destructive technologies, such as low frequency active sonar, or HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program). Please copy and print the following letter, gather signatures and send it to your senators and congresspersons, as well as members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees.
For more information contact the Military Toxics Project at http://www.miltoxproj.org/.
Dear Congresspersons, Senators and Legislators:
Please oppose any attempts by the Department of Defense (DOD) to gain exemptions from national environmental laws. Attached to the current Defense Authorization bill are provisions that would abolish protections for our environment, including the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. However, the DOD admits that it has never tried to use the national security waivers of environmental law that it already has. Furthermore, exempting the military from environmental laws will absolve them of responsibility to clean up the toxic mess they have left behind all over the nation and world.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., in the Chicago Tribune, May, 16, 2003, said, "The Pentagon is responsible for more than 21,000 potentially contaminated sites, and according to the EPA, the military may have poisoned as much as 40 million acres, a little larger than Florida. That result might be considered an act of war if committed by a foreign power." The DOD's own inspector general warned that, "DOD presence in other countries has resulted in environment damage.... Potentially significant liabilities may exist in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Turkey, Great Britain, Spain, Canada, and other nations."
If the DOD has its way, local municipalities, cities and states will bear the burden of cleaning up the military's toxic legacy which includes everything from depleted uranium (DU) to heavy metals, dioxins, PCB's and nerve gas. It has been reported that 20 million Americans in 43 states drink water contaminated by cancer-causing perchlorate found in missile and rocket fuel and spilled on military bases. Aerosolized DU from firing ranges, bomb testing sites and even manufacturing, has a half-life of 4 billion years. Military sonar is so powerful it can rupture the lungs, brains and ears of marine mammals, permanently deafen fish and disable divers a hundred miles away. Mass marine mammal strandings worldwide are being linked to powerful naval sonar. The unwise and immoral use of these and other technologies is beginning to plague us with the scale of its destruction.
I urge you to vehemently oppose military exemptions from environmental law and any additional attempts to grant impunity to the DOD for its environmental crimes. I fully support the U.S. military, especially in its efforts to protect our national security, but believe firmly that no government agency should be above the law, and that protecting our environmental heritage should be a priority. Efforts should be made by the DOD to clean up its contaminated military sites in order to protect public health and environmental resources while preventing resentments that may present a future threat to national security.
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The New York Whale and Dolphin Action League
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