Subject:        040423 OPNAV N45 Newsclippings


Military Bid For Environmental Relief Is Debated
Dingell Wary Of Pentagon's Assessment Of Enviro Laws
Indefensible Pollution
Defense Exemption From Waste Laws Should Be Site-Specific, Utilities Say
Military Seeks More Exemptions From Environmental Regulations
Allard Calls Salazar Wrong On Cleanups
House panel passes bill to exclude non-native birds from migratory bird law
Judge Puts Brakes on Navy Jet Landing Field
N.C. Task Force Pushing Alternate Site For Navy Landing Field
Senators Open to New Federal Policy Idea But Question Funding, Governance
DoD Leader Notes Department's Environmental Record
Use of these articles does not constitute official endorsement. Reproduction
for private use or gain is subject to original copyright restrictions.

San Diego Union Tribune

April 22, 2004

Military Bid For Environmental Relief Is Debated

The Dispute Runs Along Party Lines

By Otto Kreisher, Copley News Service

WASHINGTON - The military's renewed effort to get relief from some of the
environmental laws that officials say could restrict training necessary to
prepare troops for combat triggered a partisan dispute in a House committee
hearing yesterday.

Most Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee appeared willing to
approve the requested exemptions and clarification to ensure that training was
not affected.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, whose district includes the Camp Pendleton Marine
base, argued that government often has to make decisions that balance
environmental concerns against other needs. In this case, he said, "if it's a
close call, the military has to be able to make its case."

Although the Navy and the Marines have complained frequently about the
environmental restrictions on their operations at Coronado Amphibious Base and
Camp Pendleton, the naval services were not represented at the hearing.

Committee Democrats hammered the administration witnesses for lack of evidence
that the environmental laws have hurt combat readiness and for not using the
national security waivers allowed by the existing laws. The Democrats were joined
by an array of environmentalists and state and local government and water agency
officials, who argued that the requested changes were overly broad, unnecessary
and would be harmful to service personnel and their families and to citizens in
communities near military bases.

Two congresswomen and water agency officials from Southern California cited the
widespread problem from perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel, which has
polluted scores of public water supplies in their area, as an example of the
danger of unrestricted defense operations.

The opponents quoted statements by former Environmental Protection Agency
administrator Christine Whitman and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz that
the environmental laws have not stopped the military from conducting necessary

While admitting they have been able to train under the current laws, the Pentagon
officials said they were worried that environmentalists' lawsuits filed under
those laws could force them to close essential training ranges.

Raymond DuBois, the deputy undersecretary of defense for environment and
installations, cited legal action pending against an Army training area at Fort

Alaska, and the lawsuit that temporarily stopped bombing of a tiny Pacific island
inhabited only by birds. Repeated protests and legal action forced the Navy and
Marines to give up the training areas on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques.

DuBois insisted that the requested changes were narrowly focused on operational
training ranges, did not apply to routine military functions or to defense
contractors and did not change the Pentagon's obligation to clean up closed
installations or pollution that extends beyond military reservations.

The goal, he said, was to protect the military's ability to conduct training with
real ammunition, which is essential to prepare troops for combat.

"There is no substitute for realistic, live-fire training," DuBois said. "My
experience as a young soldier in Vietnam convinces me we owe that" to the men and
women in uniform today.

Brig. Gen. Louis Weber, director of Army training, said the requested changes to
the Clean Air Act and two hazardous waste laws were "common-sense clarifications
to ensure that these laws are applied as intended and that we preserve military
training vital to our national defense."

Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, chairman of one of the two subcommittees holding the
hearing, called the Pentagon's requests "very reasonable."

"We can't train our troops in a video arcade," he said.

The full committee chairman, Joe Barton, R-Texas, said he was concerned that the
environmental laws "are hampering our ability to train our troops," a view shared
by nearly every Republican who spoke.

But Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., led the opposition by declaring: "Never has a set
of legislative proposals had so much audacity and so little merit."

Dingell noted that the Pentagon has provided no evidence of harm to combat
readiness and has used the existing national security exemptions in only one
instance, for the top secret Groom Lake Air Force Base in Nevada.

Reps. Hilda Solis, D-El Monte, and Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, complained about
the perchlorate pollution in their districts and argued that the requested
changes would risk further environmental harm.

The strong opposition by the Democrats and other critics suggests that the
proposed changes to the environmental laws are unlikely to pass in an election

Similar proposals passed the GOP-dominated House last year, but were stalled in
the Senate by Democrats and moderate Republicans. Congress then approved three
minor provisions, including one that overturned the ruling on the tiny Pacific

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National Journal's Congress Daily

April 21, 2004
Dingell Wary Of Pentagon's Assessment Of Enviro Laws
Democrats today disputed Pentagon assertions that environmental laws are
hamstringing the armed forces' ability to maintain combat readiness. During a
House Energy and Commerce Air Quality Subcommittee hearing, Energy and Commerce
ranking member John Dingell, D-Mich., asserted the Pentagon has not offered a
single instance of military readiness being compromised by the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act or the Comprehensive Environmental Response
Compensation and Liability Act, better known as the Superfund law. He also
chastised the Pentagon for saying it is "under siege" by environmental groups
pursuing litigation. Pentagon and EPA officials said if the laws are not
clarified, environmental groups and individuals could sue for activities at
live-fire training facilities. Energy and Commerce Chairman Barton noted that
numerous environmental groups have threatened lawsuits on Clean Air Act
violations to force the Pentagon to settle out of court.

Raymond DuBois, the Pentagon's deputy undersecretary for installations and
environment, acknowledged the laws have not directly affected military readiness,
but said the department has "had to provide workarounds" in some situations to
avoid legal action. Dingell said the Pentagon's proposed changes are unnecessary
because the laws allow the president to exempt any military training installation
from certain environmental requirements if military readiness is at risk. He
noted that the president has invoked this exemption each year since 1997, but for
only one base at a classified location in the western United States. Critics of
the proposed changes are concerned they would allow the military to pre-empt
state authority to protect drinking water and the environment. In addition, the
Pentagon could emit unlimited amounts of pollution over a three-year period
regardless of the impact on air quality.

-- by Amy Klamper

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Boston Globe

April 22, 2004
Indefensible Pollution
LAST YEAR the Defense Department succeeded in using Congress's wartime deference
to the military to win waivers for its training operations from the Endangered
Species Act and the Marine Mammals Protection Act. This year the Pentagon wants
to go even further by having its training ranges exempted from laws governing air
pollution, munitions disposal, and toxic wastes. Members of Congress, which held
a hearing on the Pentagon's request yesterday, should say no.

When the Clean Air Act and other pillars of environmental protection were passed
30 years ago, they granted the military exemptions in specific cases on national
security grounds. But that is not enough for the Pentagon under Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney.

The goal now is to move much of the military outside the reach of these laws even
though the Defense Department is responsible for 80 percent of all federal
facilities on the Superfund's national priorities list of most dangerous sites.
To improve the measure's chances, it is attached to the defense authorization
bill. Passage of it could hinder any chance of getting the Pentagon to pay
damages to the state of Massachusetts for harming the aquifer under the
Massachusetts Military Reservation on Cape Cod.

The title of the bill, "Readiness and Range Preservation Initiative," hints at
the way the Pentagon will wrap its legislation in a flag of maximizing the
training of troops. In fact, the military has never been able to cite a single
instance when one of these environmental laws got in the way of a training

More to the point, the bill would increase the risk that troops and their
families drink contaminated water or breathe polluted air. That would not improve
military readiness.

The Pentagon's proposal would let states and the federal Environmental Protection
Agency regulate ranges if munitions or toxic releases moved off the base to
threaten public health. But it is always more effective and cheaper to limit
pollution sources, such as an undergound plume, before they become such a serious
problem that they spread to nearby areas. Residents of areas surrounding the
ranges, many themselves military families, should not have to wait until their
own drinking water is poisoned before the military is forced to address its
pollution problem.

The bill is opposed by several national organizations of public and private water
supply agencies, groups representing state and local air pollution control
officials, and many congressmen. At yesterday's hearing US Representative Edward
Markey of Malden said "there is no reason to incur `collateral damage' to our
public health while meeting our military needs." Congress should heed his words
and not give the Pentagon a carte blanche to be an environmental scofflaw.

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Daily Environment Report

April 23, 2004
Defense Exemption From Waste Laws Should Be Site-Specific, Utilities Say
If the Defense Department is granted an exemption from environmental laws, the
exemption should apply only to specific essential facilities, a representative of
drinking water utilities told a House panel April 21.

Moreover, the department should be required to identify and monitor contamination
at these facilities and report the results to the Environmental Protection Agency
and the public, said Ronald Gastelum, president of the Metropolitan Water
District of Southern California.

"This is necessary in order to detect contamination before it has migrated beyond
the boundaries, and into a source of water used for domestic, municipal, or
agricultural purposes," Gastelum said at a hearing held by the House Energy and
Commerce Committee on proposed Defense Department exemptions from some
environmental laws.

At issue is mainly perchlorate, an unregulated contaminant used in rocket fuel,
munitions, fireworks, and airbags. The chemical, which has migrated into
groundwater in at least 30 states, is often associated with Defense Department

Perchlorate interferes with human thyroid function, particularly among children,
and may cause developmental and learning disabilities, according to EPA. It may
also cause cancer in both children and adults.

Defense officials argued at the hearing that revisions to the Comprehensive
Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act are necessary to ensure lawsuits do not stop
military training activities ( 77 DEN A-11, 4/21/04 ).

Water utilities oppose the Pentagon's legislative proposal because they fear they
may end up being liable for perchlorate contamination caused by military

In his testimony, Gastelum also called for the development of a new national
strategy to fund the assessment and remediation of perchlorate contamination.
Gastelum represented the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, the American
Water Works Association, and the Association of California Water Agencies.

Utilities Say Defense Proposal Too Broad.
Under the Defense Department's current proposal, the department would be exempt
from federal regulation of perchlorate on, and possibly near, what the agency
calls "operational ranges," said Gastelum, who questioned the need for such an

The proposal also would amend RCRA and CERCLA to redefine the terms "solid waste"
and "release," that would inhibit the ability of EPA, states, and water systems
to prevent contamination and the loss of drinking water sources, he said.

The Defense Department's proposal also would require "human health and
environmental effects" to occur beyond the boundaries of an operational range
before action could be taken, according to Gastelum. Acting only after the damage
has occurred would result in unnecessary public health risks, unacceptable losses
of water sources, and high costs to clean up water supplies and find alternative
sources, he said.

"Worse, even in the event of contamination beyond the boundaries of a range, the
language would appear to deny any accountability to clean up sources and prevent
further migration of contamination," he said.

Gastelum said the full extent of perchlorate contamination is not yet known and
urged DOD to provide more information on contamination at its military training

Such information would better equip water suppliers to evaluate the threat of
perchlorate contamination in a "cooperative and strategic manner," he said.

Many states have also voiced their opposition to a DOD exemption from
environmental laws. In an April 19 letter to members of the House of
Representatives and the Senate, the attorneys general from 39 states said
proposed changes to RCRA and CERCLA are not needed ( 76 DEN A-4, 4/21/04 ).

By Pat Ware

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April 21, 2004
Military Seeks More Exemptions From Environmental Regulations
By Bill Walsh, Newhouse News Service
WASHINGTON -- The Department of Defense is once again asking Congress to exempt
its live-fire training exercises from certain environmental restrictions, saying
that troop preparedness is at stake.

Over the past two years, Congress has granted the military leeway from provisions
of federal laws designed to protect marine mammals, endangered species and
migratory birds. Now the Pentagon is seeking extra time to comply with the Clean
Air Act, plus exemption of thousands of firing and bombing ranges around the
country from hazardous waste laws.

Environmental groups say the military's proposals would deal a blow to public
health. They also challenge the Pentagon's claim that training has suffered,
saying there is no evidence that American soldiers are unprepared for battle
because of environmental restrictions.

The package of legislation will be presented Wednesday before a hearing of the
House Energy and Commerce Committee.
"We are looking for modest changes," said Glenn Flood, a spokesman for the
Department of Defense. "We need some language (in the law) saying that just
because you fire a piece of ammunition doesn't mean you are creating hazardous

Concern over environmental fallout from military exercises has come to the fore
as once-remote military installations have been enveloped by urban sprawl. The
military is anxious to avoid the kind of public outcry that forced the closure of
the Vieques testing range in Puerto Rico last year.

The requests come at a time when the military is ramping up plans for base
closings in 2005. All members of Congress want to avoid having bases shut down in
their districts, and that possibility will likely be on their minds as they
consider the Pentagon's environmental plans.

The proposal also comes during an election year when many members of Congress
will be reluctant to oppose anything requested by the military, especially as
hostilities continue in Iraq.

The Department of Defense wants the Clean Air Act modified to give itself three
years to remediate harmful emissions associated with the deployment of new
weapons systems and large-scale movement of troops from one base to another.

The agency is also seeking to change the definition of "solid waste" in the
Resources Conservation and Recovery Act, so that explosives, munitions and other
toxic material, including chemical weapons, would not be included.

In the Superfund law, which requires polluters to clean up toxic releases, the
military is asking that its explosives and munitions be exempted from the
definition of "releases."

Environmentalists say that none of the laws has hampered military exercises, so
there is no need to change them. The alterations, they say, would severely
hamstring states and communities in addressing pollution until it migrates off
the base.

Opponents also say the president already has the authority to override
environmental restrictions on a case-by-cases basis.

"These proposals are top-down driven and have to do more with ideology than any
needs of the bases," said Kevin Curtis, vice president of the National
Environmental Trust. "This is the third time (the military) has proposed these
exemptions. These are the ones that directly affect public health."

Flood, the Pentagon spokesman, couldn't cite instances where training has been
sacrificed, but said the military is worried that it could happen. He also said
seeking a special exemption from the president isn't practical for day-to-day

"The point isn't that it hasn't happened before," he said. "The point is that it
could happen tomorrow. The military wants to be prepared in case the need

Prospects for the proposals are uncertain, even in the Republican-controlled
House that has generally been amenable to requests from the military. The hearing
Wednesday is not intended to move the legislation, but rather to give the
Department of Defense a chance to publicly make its case.

"They asked us to take a look," said a committee official. "We'll listen to what
they have to say and go from there."

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Denver Post

April 23, 2004
Allard Calls Salazar Wrong On Cleanups
U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard released a letter Thursday calling Colorado Attorney
General Ken Salazar "alarmist and careless" for his position on cleaning up
military bombing ranges and training facilities across the country.

On Monday, Democratic Senate candidate Salazar joined 38 states' attorneys
general in signing a letter that urged Congress to reject the military's request
to exempt 24 million acres from three environmental laws. In Colorado, those
exemptions would hurt the state's oversight of cleanups of weapons at the Rocky
Mountain Arsenal, Lowry Bombing Range and Pueblo Chemical Depot, Salazar said.

Allard, who has endorsed former U.S. Rep. Bob Schaffer's bid for the Republican
nomination for the Senate, contended that Salazar's position would hurt military
readiness for combat. Salazar said it was "very disturbing, and just plain wrong"
to cast doubt on his patriotism and his support for troops overseas.

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Environment & Energy Daily

April 23, 2004

House panel passes bill to exclude non-native birds from migratory bird law
Natalie M. Henry
A House Resources subcommittee easily approved a bill yesterday that would
exclude non-native birds from the protections provided by the Migratory Bird
Treaty Act.

Prior to marking up the bill, Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans
Subcommittee Chairman Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.) said during the first 80 years of
the act, the Fish and Wildlife Service and state resource agencies all operated
with the understanding that MBTA applied only to native birds. As such,
non-native, invasive birds were managed and sometimes eradicated if they
interfered with other native species or native ecosystem functions.

In 2001, the D.C. Circuit Court changed all that, ruling that the non-native mute
swan was protected under MBTA because it was related to the same family of birds
protected under the United States' migratory bird treaty with Canada. Gilchrest
said his bill, H.R. 4114
<> >, is intended
to clarify Congress' intent -- and that of Mexico and Canada -- that non-native
birds are not protected under MBTA (E&E Daily, April 21).

Without such clarification, the court ruling could result in extending the act's
protection to at least 86 other species of birds, said Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.).
Gilchrest said even pigeons, which he called the most destructive birds of all,
could end up protected under the act.

The issue of the mute swan hits home for Gilchrest, whose eastern Maryland
district is flocked with the birds. Mute swans are notorious for eating their way
through acres of native bay grasses and other vegetation, thus destroying habitat
for native birds, fish and other organisms. The swans have also even been known
to chow down on small native critters. FWS, which supports H.R. 4114, approved a
state plan to eradicate some of the birds, which was halted by a federal judge
last fall after animals rights groups filed suit.

Subcommittee ranking member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) voted in favor of the bill but
said he has some reservations he would like to have addressed before H.R. 4114 is
considered by the full committee. For one, he said several animal rights groups
oppose the bill. In addition, the bill basically overturns a court ruling,
smudging the lines between legislative and judicial powers.

Furthermore, the act already has a provision allowing FWS to issue take permits
to kill migratory birds in certain instances, making Pallone wonder why that
option has not been discussed more thoroughly before ushering through a bill to
amend the law.

An unlikely alliance of 35 groups signed a letter to Gilchrest supporting the
bill, including the American Bird Conservancy, National Audubon Society,
Environmental Defense, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy,
Izaak Walton League of America, Ducks Unlimited, The Wildlife Society, Wildlife
Management Institute, Ruffed Grouse Society, Congressional Sportsmen's
Foundation, U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, Safari Club International and others.

Marine turtles and wildlife refuges
The subcommittee also handily passed another Gilchrest bill authorizing up to $5
million annually for the Interior Department to create a conservation fund for
marine turtles.

H.R. 3378 <
<> >, the Marine
Turtle Conservation Act, is modeled after highly successful conservation funds
established for African elephants, Asian elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers, great
apes and neotropical migratory birds. The bill follows a 1994 report from the
World Conservation Union suggesting that an existing fund for turtles be
augmented to promote conservation of the amphibians and their nesting habitat.

The subcommittee also approved a bill to expand the Kilauea National Wildlife
Refuge on Hawaii's island of Kauai. Kilauea currently encompasses 203 acres. H.R.
2619 <
<> > would allow
the Interior Department to acquire up to 219 acres from willing sellers to expand
the refuge, which is home to several endangered birds, plants and marine mammals.

Finally, the subcommittee passed a bill honoring Siegfried and Roy's achievements
furthering conservation of endangered species and wishing Roy a speedy recovery
after being mauled by one of his own beasts.

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Environment News Service

April 23, 2004
Judge Puts Brakes on Navy Jet Landing Field
RALEIGH, North Carolina, (ENS) - A federal judge has issued an injunction that
temporarily blocks the U.S. Navy's plan to build a military jet landing field a
few miles from a North Carolina national wildlife refuge.

The Navy intends to build a new F/A 18 and E/F Super Hornet jet training field
within five miles of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in eastern North
Carolina. Pilots would use the field to practice landing on aircraft carriers.

Officials say the decision is justified by national security concerns, but
critics contend the government's environmental impact studies for the landing
field downplayed the substantial risk of collisions between jets and the large
flocks of tundra swans, snow geese and other birds that winter in the area, and
minimized adverse impacts to the wildlife refuge.

Experts - including the Air Force's leading authority on bird/aircraft collisions
- have described the plan as an ill considered one with a high likelihood of bird
and aircraft collisions producing catastrophic results.

The refuge is within the heart of the Atlantic migratory bird flyway and winter
home to 100,000 large waterfowl, including tundra swans and snow geese from
Arctic Canada and Alaska.

This week's decision by U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle is a victory for
a coalition of conservationists and local officials who filed suit in January to
block the Navy's plan.

In comments accompanying his decision, Judge Boyle said the Navy's decision to
locate the training field at the proposed site "may have been a clear error of

The court also noted out that the Navy's planned land acquisitions will
immediately "result in irreparable harm," including "harm to the numerous tundra
swans and snow geese that spend the winter months at the lakes and refuges close
to the proposed [site]."

"An injunction is a first, very important step in carrying forward our case,"
said Michelle Nowlin, an attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center,
which is representing the National Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife and the
North Carolina Wildlife Federation in the suit.

"We know the Navy's work fails to meet federal requirements and believe the court
will ultimately send them back to the drawing board," Nowlin said. "At least now
the citizens of the area have some breathing room while we finish proving our

The $186.5 million facility would be located on 30,000 acres the Navy plans to
acquire in Washington and Beaufort counties - it has already purchased some of
the land. The counties have filed their own lawsuit against the Navy.

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Virginian Pilot

April 23, 2004

N.C. Task Force Pushing Alternate Site For Navy Landing Field

By Estes Thompson, Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. - Members of a governor's task force studying the Navy proposal to
build a jet practice landing field in eastern North Carolina continued Thursday
to push an alternate site.

Task force member John Pechmann of Fayetteville, a lawyer who is chairman of the
state Wildlife Resources Commission, said he didn't understand why the Navy
didn't reconsider a site in Carteret County that's mostly a huge farm owned by an
Italian company.

Capt. Stu Bailey, project manager for the North Carolina field, said the Carteret
County site sits south of Piney Island range that military aviators use for
bombing and aerial combat practice. Other restricted air space nearly surrounds
the site as well, he said.

Bailey had just answered questions about the landing field in California, located
on San Clemente Island, east of San Diego, which also has lots of activity. The
landing field shares the area with a naval bombardment range that warships use
for target practice.

Navy officials schedule conferences so they know which unit is using the San
Clemente field when, Bailey said. That would work in North Carolina as well,
Pechmann said. "I think if scheduling conferences can work on the West coast,
scheduling conferences can work on the East coast," he said.

But Bailey said that at San Clemente, the military can conduct naval gunfire on
one end of the island while landing field operations proceed at the other end.

The Navy wants to spend $186 million to buy more than 30,000 acres of land in
Washington and Beaufort counties and build an outlying landing field, or OLF, to
serve F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighters that it plans to base at military
airfields in Virginia and North Carolina.

A federal judge this week stopped the Navy from performing more work on the
project while a lawsuit by the counties and environmental groups is heard. The
Navy is reviewing the ruling, said a spokesman who couldn't say if the Navy will

Chris Canfield, executive director of Audubon North Carolina, said he hoped Gov.
Mike Easley will empower the task force to take an active role in finding an
alternate site for the landing field. His group is one of the plaintiffs in the
federal lawsuit that contends the Navy didn't consider environmental damage when
it selected the remote site near Plymouth.

Easley has said he wants the Navy to base jets in North Carolina, but has
concerns with the Washington County site. The issue has taken on political tones,
with Democratic Senate candidate Erskine Bowles saying Wednesday that he opposes
the Washington County site.

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Daily Environment Report

April 23, 2004
Senators Open to New Federal Policy Idea But Question Funding, Governance
Recommendations by a presidentially appointed commission to develop a new federal
policy for coordinating and managing ocean-related activities was lauded April 22
by members of two Senate committees, but the senators raised funding questions.

The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy released its preliminary findings April 20
indicating that the oceans are in trouble because of overfishing, pollution, and
poor management ( 76 DEN A-1, 4/21/04 ).

The 16-member panel recommended a comprehensive federal policy whose direction
would be set by a White House oceans council consisting of the heads of federal
agencies that share responsibility for ocean programs, a strengthening of the
National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, and voluntary regional councils
to consider issues at the local level.

Cost of Recommendations.
The plan is expected to cost $1.2 billion the first year, $2.4 billion the second
year, and $3.2 billion in the third year.

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee,
said funds for fiscal year 2005 are already committed, but he left open the
possibility that money could be found.

"We already have a budget for 2005, and there's no money there for this," he
said. "If you want, we've got to find some and in an amount that's doable."

Members of the commission, led by former Energy Secretary James Watkins,
presented their findings to the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Committee and then to the Senate Appropriations Committee April 22.

"The time to act is now, and everyone who plays a role in oceans and coastal
policy must be a part of it," Watkins told the Senate Commerce Committee.

The commission recommended that efforts to craft and implement policy
recommendations should be paid for by a trust fund financed with revenues from
offshore oil and gas development activities, which amount to about $5 billion
annually. Roughly $1 billion of that is already committed for the land and water
conservation fund, for the national historic preservation, and for coastal states
that have offshore oil and gas development, Thomas Kitsos, executive director of
the commission, said.

"We want to make a run at the remainder of that to help states on crafting a
national ocean policy," Watkins said.

Creating Integrated Ocean Observing System.
One important recommendation in the draft report, Watkins said, is the
establishment of an integrated ocean observing system.

"Recognizing the enormous national benefits that have accrued from the weather
observing network, it is time to invest in a similar observational and
forecasting capability for the oceans," the report said. "This system would
gather information on physical, geological, chemical, and biological parameters
for the oceans and coasts, conditions that affect--and are affected by--humans
and their activities."

Watkins estimated the observing system would cost about $290 million in the first
year and about $652 million over the long haul. However, he refused to prioritize
the commission's recommendation, saying that should be done by the National Ocean
Council once it is established.

Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee,
expressed skepticism that an ocean council would be effective. Rather, he and
others said the commission should have recommended the establishment of a full
department that might actually have the ear of the president.

He told Watkins that he agrees with just about everything in the report. "You're
passionate in your answers but tentative and almost a sissy in your
recommendations," he said, referring to his belief that a new department should
be created.

Time Not Right for New Department.
Watkins said he did not think it would be a good idea to create a new department,
especially since a new department--Homeland Security--was just established.
Moreover, he said, creating a new department would use up too much energy that
could be better expended beefing up NOAA and working on implementing "the other
195 recommendations."

This approach would allow NOAA to realize where the redundancies in ocean policy
are being duplicated in other agencies, bring those responsibilities together
under one agency, and perhaps after a few years, Congress and the White House
will realize that NOAA is functioning as a department and it could be formally
elevated to one "without the guillotine action like what happened with DHS," he
said.  "I'm not against an independent NOAA. I'm against moving so fast that we
stumble along this way," Watkins said.

Hollings said he thought a plan as bold as the one the commission was
recommending needed more than a council and an adviser to the president to move
it forward.

Watkins agreed that the effort would not happen without a strong commitment from
the White House.

Ocean Issues Related to Climate Change.
The draft report recommended that a new national ocean policy also involve
increases in research and research funding. Expanded research would provide more
scientific understanding on such issues as climate change and non-point source
pollution, Watkins told the Commerce Committee.

"The climate change issue alone is powerful enough to drive the recommendations
all by itself," Watkins said, adding that climate change relates to "every single
topic in the report."

A warming climate can cause the thermal expansion of the oceans resulting in
flooding of coastal areas and melting ice caps, which can then affect ocean
currents, Watkins said.

An ocean observing system would be able to monitor changes in ocean temperature
and other properties and make it easier to predict impending effects from climate
change that may affect coastal areas as well as marine ecosystems.

"If the United States takes a leadership role in this, it will be doing something
great for mankind," Watkins said, adding that an observation system would include
components such as real time monitoring and temperature gauges.

Several members of both committees said more is known about the surface of the
moon and Mars than about the ocean floor.

Some suggested revising priorities so that some of the money spent on space
exploration be transferred to pay for more ocean research.

By Susan Bruninga

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American Forces Press Service

April 21, 2004

DoD Leader Notes Department's Environmental Record

WASHINGTON- The Department of Defense is a good steward of America's
environmental heritage, a top DoD official said.

April 22 is Earth Day, and the department has had a stellar record on the
environment, said Ray DuBois, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations
and environment.

"There are awards that have been made to posts, camps and stations all over the
country," Dubois said recently. DoD manages the health of about 300 endangered
species that on the "very bio-diverse 30 million acres which we manage in the
United States."

The Air Force and Army have been recognized for their work, for example, in
saving the red-cockaded woodpecker in the Southeast. The Navy and Marine Corps

have worked to ensure the survival of the fairy shrimp in the West Coast, DuBois

The department dedicates nearly $4 billion a year on environmental programs.

"Clearly this obligation is taken seriously by this department," he said.

All of the services will celebrate Earth Day. For example, the Navy Department
will mark Earth Day under the theme of "Celebrating Successful Partnerships."
This recognizes the Navy's work with many partners around the world. "Earth Day
presents an excellent opportunity to highlight the department's continued
contributions to ensuring a sustainable environmental future," said Navy
Secretary Gordon R. England. "Earth Day 2004 is an occasion for the Navy and
Marine Corps to work with partnering organizations to re-emphasize our commitment
to the environment in which we work and live, both in the U.S. and overseas."

The service gave a few highlights of its environmental accomplishments in 2003,

A joint venture between Norfolk Naval Shipyard and Atlantic Wood Industries to
remove 38,000 tons of calcium hydroxide, 3,900 tons of wood debris, 1,400 tons of
abrasive blast media and 1,700 tons of contaminated soil from two adjacent
National Priority List sites in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Partnerships between the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and the Virginia Institute of
Marine Science and the Elizabeth River Project to construct a 1.33-acre wetland
and plant a 1.6-acre riparian buffer to provide upland a habitat that consists of
native grasses, bushes and trees that provide additional storm and water
filtration control.

The implementation of a Navywide "At Sea" Policy that requires all fleet
exercises to be reviewed for environmental compliance and for potential effect on
marine mammals and other marine life.

The Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, Calif., has one of the largest alternative
fuel vehicle fleets in the nation and is broadly recognized as a

leader in the field.

The Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake, Calif., is operating a 270-megawatt
geothermal power plant that provides nearly pollution-free power for 180,000
homes. Since its inception, the Navy has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 4.5
metric tons at China Lake.

All the gas-powered vehicles in the executive motor pool at Naval Station
Anacostia here were replaced with alternatively fueled vehicles.

The Navy also has been recognized for its leadership in energy conservation and
its environmental stewardship. Recently, President Bush cited the Naval

Facilities Engineering Command with a Presidential Award for Leadership in
Federal Energy Management in the category of "Outstanding Performance." The

award was one of five Presidential Awards presented in 2003.

Each year, the Navy commands sponsor booth displays, tree plantings, volunteer
cleanup projects, environmental fairs, and other Earth Day-related events.