The House Subcommittee on Military Readiness held a hearing yesterday to discuss whether environmental regulations are impeding the full functioning of the U.S. military. Subcommittee Chair Joel Hefley (R-Colo.) said his goal was to “find a balance between the need to protect national security and the environment.” He then proceeded to criticize “ever-increasing limitations and restrictions on land and waters” as interfering with military training exercises. Among the examples he cited: Troops at some Army bases need environmental permission before digging trenches, and $2.4 million of the San Clemente Island Navy base budget goes toward protecting a nearby bird colony. Environmentalists counter that the Defense Department already enjoys partial exemptions from the Clean Water Act, Oil Pollution Act, and Superfund program.