Pentagon Requests Exemption From Three More Environmental Laws

The Department of Defense plans to petition Congress for exemption from three federal environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act and two toxic waste statutes. This will mark the third time in three years the Pentagon has made the appeal; Congress denied the first two requests, although it did grant the military exemption from the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. While testimony from former U.S. EPA Administrator Christie Whitman (and numerous others) made a pretty darn good case that military readiness has never been adversely affected in any way by the restrictions these laws impose, according to the Pentagon’s deputy general counsel, there have been some “near misses.” (Can’t be too careful!) Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), clearly unaware of the slim possibility that these laws might one day inflict some slight inconvenience on the Pentagon, had this to say: “Never has a set of legislative proposals had so much audacity and so little merit.”