Members of the conference committee on the Defense Authorization Act for 2002 are currently working to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. House conferees are proposing language that would dramatically change the relationship between the Department of Defense and other federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency.
The proposal, as described in a letter from Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin to the White House, is as follows:
This proposal would establish a new process under which Federal agencies other than the Department of Defense would be required to identify proposed actions that may have an adverse impact on national defense and consult with the Secretary of Defense before finalizing the proposed actions.
According to Lenny Siegel of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight, the language:
would allow Defense to "identify those classes of actions of Federal agencies other than the Department of Defense that it is reasonably foreseeable may have an adverse impact on national defense." The Defense Department would then prepare a National Defense Impact Statement analyzing those impacts and recommending "means to eliminate or [reduce]/[mitigate] those adverse impacts." The other agency would be required, as part of its decision-making process for the proposed action, to respond to each Defense Department recommendation. In short, the mission of the Defense Department would permanently be elevated, giving it extraordinary powers to challenge environmental and other rule-makings and other actions initiated by other agencies.
TAKE ACTION TO STOP THIS PROPOSAL NOW!
This language - if passed - would legally place the Department of Defense above all other federal agencies. The DoD would be able to unilaterally decide that any regulations, policies, or actions proposed by any other federal government department or agency will impact national security, and hold up the proposed regulation or action while its concerns are addressed.
What You Can Do If you are represented by any of the House or Senate conferees listed below, call or fax them IMMEDIATELY and express your strong opposition to this proposal.
Everyone please call or fax Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), the Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Ted Kennedy (D-MA). Senator Levin's number is (202) 224-6221. Senator Kennedy's number is (202) 224-4543. Spread the word and encourage others to call.
Talking Points and House and Senate Conferees are listed below.
You can find all 535 members at: http://www.eMailCongress.net
No other fedeal department or agency has such unlimited and unilateral authority to contest the actions of other departments.
This language would hamstring the ability of EPA and other agencies to do their jobs.
The DoD is already completely or partially exempt from most federal environmental and public safety laws.
DoD has already produced almost 28,000 contaminated sites across the country, they don't need any more authority to contest or avoid environmental regulations.
U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Conferees
Carl Levin (MI), Chairman, John Warner (VA), Ranking Member, Edward M. Kennedy (MA), Strom Thurmond (SC), Robert C. Byrd (WV), John McCain (AZ), Joseph I. Lieberman (CT), Bob Smith (NH), Max Cleland (GA), James M. Inhofe (OK), Mary L. Landrieu (LA), Rick Santorum (PA), Jack Reed (RI), Pat Roberts (KS), Daniel K. Akaka (HI), Wayne Allard (CO), Bill Nelson (FL), Tim Hutchinson (AR), E. Benjamin Nelson (NE), Jeff Sessions (AL), Jean Carnahan (MO), Susan M. Collins (ME), Mark Dayton (MN), Jim Bunning (KY) and Jeff Bingaman (NM).
U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee Conferees
Bob Stump (AZ), Chairman, Ike Skelton (MO), Ranking Member, Duncan Hunter (CA), John M. Spratt, Jr. (SC), James V. Hansen (UT), Solomon P. Ortiz (TX), Curt Weldon (PA), Lane Evans (IL), Joel Hefley (CO), Gene Taylor (MS), Jim Saxton (NJ), Neil Abercrombie (HI), John M. McHugh (NY), Martin T. Meehan (MA), Terry Everett (AL), Roscoe G. Bartlett (MD), Tom Allen (ME), Howard "Buck" McKeon (CA), Victor F. Snyder (AR), J.C. Watts, Jr. (OK), Mac Thornberry (TX), John N. Hostettler (IN) and Saxby Chambliss (GA).