Stop Military Exemptions from Environmental Laws

October 16th, 2003 - by admin

by –

Stop Military Exemptions from Environmental Laws

Congress is considering proposals by the Bush Administration to exempt the military from the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). These amendments have been added to National Defense Authorization Act, which is being debated behind closed doors in a Conference Committee (see below for more details).


Fax, call, or write to Senator John Warner, Senator John McCain and Senator Olympia Snowe. These three Republican Senators are key members who can influence the Defense Authorization Bill conference committee and need to hear from the public!

Senator John Warner (R-VA)
Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee and Chairman of the Defense Authorization Bill Conference Committee
Room SR 225, Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2023 (Phone)
(202) 224-6295 (Fax)

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
Member of the Defense Authorization Bill Conference Committee and Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee (with jurisdiction over MMPA)
Room SR 241, Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2235 (Phone)
(202) 228-2862 (Fax)

Senator Olympia Snowe (R-MA)
Chairwoman of the Senate Oceans Subcommittee (with jurisdiction over MMPA)
Room SR 154, Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5344 (Phone)
(202) 224-1946 (Fax)


1. Oppose any amendments to exempt the military from environmental laws, especially from the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the final conference Defense Authorization Bill. A strong nation needs a healthy, clean environment! Environmental exemptions will lead to more toxic waste, more lost habitat, and more dead marine mammals on our beaches. The Pentagon has more impact on the environment than any other sector, public or private, of the U.S.

2. The Senate version of the Defense Authorization Bill is the stronger version from an environmental standpoint.

Defense Authorization Bill Amendments:

We understand the members and staff in Congress are working on deals behind the scenes to approve a final Defense Authorization Bill, and that there is enormous pressure on the Republican-controlled House and Senate to gut environmental laws, using this conference committee for the Defense Authorization Bill. While actual votes in Congress on this issue are not expected until later this fall, it is important that the public weigh in to oppose gutting of the MMPA and the ESA.

Different Senate and House Versions of Defense Authorization Bill:

The Senate version of the Defense Authorization Bill includes weakened language for the Endangered Species Act (ESA), exempting military lands from Critical Habitat designations. Environmental groups succeeded in pushing an amendment putting some legal teeth into wildlife habitat plans on military lands that would replace the stronger Critical Habitat Designations under the ESA. The Senate version includes no language on the MMPA, which is good.

The House version is by far the worst bill. The “small take” permit process of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), which is currently limited to small numbers of marine mammals in restricted geographic areas, would be broadened for anyone, so there would no longer be a numerical or any geographic limits to the government issuing a “small take” permit. Also, the provision proposed by the Pentagon to allow Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and his successors to exempt the military from the MMPA for any reason was also left in the House version. The House version further exempts military lands from consideration as Critical Habitat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and exempts the Navy and other military agencies from provision of the MMPA in several important ways.

Clearly, the Senate version is the better of the two.

However, we are hearing rumors that the Republicans are leaning towards the House version, or at least including some MMPA exemptions in the final bill for Congress. The recent legal victory by Natural Resources Defense Council against the Navy’s deployment of Low Frequency Active (LFA) Sonar due to violations of the MMPA and ESA is being used by the Pentagon and the Bush Administration to put further pressure on the Senate/House conference committee to overturn the lawsuit by amending the final bill to exempt the military. Furthermore, environmental clean-up language that both houses of Congress left out of the bill is now being revived, reducing or eliminating the need for the Pentagon to clean up toxics and hazardous waste left on military lands, if approved by the conference committee.

The public must stand up to the military and DEMAND that Congress maintain environmental laws that apply to the Dept. of Defense to protect endangered species, marine mammals, and human health!

What You Can Do!
For starters, write, fax, or call members of the House & Senate Conference Committee:

General mailing address for all:

Senator _______________
[Room Number]
Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

[Room Number]
House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Phone and fax numbers are included below. Remember, members respond best to folks in their states who will be voting for them. If you do not live in their state, consider contacting friends, relatives, or other groups in that state to in turn contact their Senator. (NOTE ON E-MAILS: Members of Congress do have e-mail addresses, but many do not pay any attention to e-mail received at this time. This will change in time, as e-mails become more pervasive in our society. But right now, you are better off sending a hand-written note, a personal fax, or making a person phone call, which has more clout, than sending an e-mail.)

Too many names? Contact Senators Warner and McCain. Senator John Warner is Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and will have strong influence on the outcome; similarly, Senator John McCain is Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee which has jurisdiction over the MMPA. You might also contact their House equivalents, although the House is more committed to gutting environmental laws at this stage than is the Senate.


Senator John Warner (R-VA)
Room SR 225
(202) 224-2023 (Phone)
(202) 224-6295 (Fax)

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
Room SR 241
(202) 224-2235 (Phone)
(202) 228-2862 (Fax)

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)
Room SR 453
(202) 224-4721 (Phone)
(202) 228-0380 (Fax)

Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Room SH 302
(202) 224-4774 (Phone)
(202) 224-3514 (Fax)

Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO)
Room SD 525
(202) 224-5941 (Phone)
(202) 224-6471 (Fax)

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Room SR 493
(202) 224-4124 (Phone)
(202) 224-3149 (Fax)

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
Room SR 172
(202) 224-2523 (Phone)
(202) 224-2693 (Fax)

Senator John Ensign (R-NV)
Room SR 364
(202) 224-6244 (Phone)
(202) 228-2193 (Fax)

Senator James Talent (R-MO)
Room SR 493
(202) 224-6154 (Phone)
(202) 228-1518 (Fax)

Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Room SR 416
(202) 224-3521 (Phone)
(202) 224-0103 (Fax)

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Room SR 290
(202) 224-5972 (Phone)
No Fax Available

Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)
Room SR 120
(202) 224-6342 (Phone)
(202) 224-1100 (Fax)

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)
Room SH 517
(202) 224-2934 (Phone)
(202) 228-2856 (Fax)

Senator Carl Levin (D-MI)
Room SR 629
(202) 224-6221 (Phone)
(202) 224-1388 (Fax)

Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
Room SR 317
(202) 224-4543 (Phone)
(202) 224-2417 (Fax)

Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV)
Room SH 311
(202) 224-3954 (Phone)
(202) 228-0002 (Fax)

Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)
Room SH 706
(202) 224-4041 (Phone)
(202) 224-9750 (Fax)

Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)
Room SH 320
(202) 224-4642 (Phone)
(202) 224-4680 (Fax)

Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Room SH 141
(202) 224-6361 (Phone)
(202) 224-2126 (Fax)

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Room SH 716
(202) 224-5274 (Phone)
(202) 228-2183 (Fax)

Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE)
Room SH 720
(202) 224-6551 (Phone)
(202) 228-0012 (Fax)

Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN)
Room SR 346
(202) 224-3244 (Phone)
(202) 228-2186 (Fax)

Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN)
Room SR 463
(202) 224-5623 (Phone)
(202) 228-1377 (Fax)

Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
Room SR 476
(202) 224-4451 (Phone)
(202) 228-0282 (Fax)

Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR)
Room SR 217
(202) 224-2353 (Phone)
(202) 228-0908 (Fax)


Committee on Armed Services:

• Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Room 2265 RHOB; Phone: (202) 225-5672/ Fax: (202) 225-0235

• Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA)
Room 2466 RHOB; Phone: (202) 225-2011/ Fax: (202) 225-8137

• Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO) – Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee Chair
Room 2230 RHOB; Phone: (202) 225-4422/ Fax: (202) 225-1942

• Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ)
Room 339 CHOB; Phone: (202) 225-4765/ Fax: (202) 225-0778

• Rep. John McHugh (R-NY)
Room 2441 RHOB; Phone: (202) 225-4611/ Fax: (202) 226-0621

• Rep. Terry Everett (R-AL)
Room 2312 RHOB; Phone: (202) 225-2901/ Fax: (202) 225-8913

• Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD)
Room 2412 RHOB; Phone: (202) 225-2721/ Fax: (202) 225-2193

• Rep. Howard McKeon (R-CA)
Room 2242 RHOB; Phone: (202) 225-1956/ Fax: (202) 225-0683

• Rep. William Thornberry (R-TX)
Room 131 CHOB; Phone: (202) 225-3706/ Fax: (202) 225-3486

• Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN)
Room 1507 LHOB; Phone: (202) 225-4636/ Fax: (202) 225-3284

• Rep. Walter Jones Jr. (R-NC)
Room 422 CHOB; Phone: (202) 225-3415/ Fax: (202) 225-3286

• Rep. Jim Ryun (R-KS)
Room 330 CHOB; Phone: (202) 225-6601/ Fax: (202) 225-7986

• Rep. James Gibbons (R-NV)
Room 100 CHOB; Phone: (202) 225-6155/ Fax: (202) 225-5679

• Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC)
Room 130 CHOB; Phone: (202) 225-3715/ Fax: (202) 225-4036

• Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM)
Room 318 CHOB; Phone: (202) 225-6316/ Fax: (202) 225-4975

• Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Room 2201 RHOB; Phone: (202) 225-1986/ Fax: (202) 225-2004

• Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO)– Armed Services Democratic Ranking Member
Room 2206 RHOB; Phone: (202) 225-2876/ Fax: (202) 225-2695

• Rep. John Spratt (D-SC)
Room 1536 LHOB; Phone: (202) 225-5501/ Fax: (202) 225-0464

• Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-TX) –Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee Democratic Ranking Member
Room 2304 RHOB; Phone: (202) 225-7742/ Fax: (202) 226-1134

• Rep. Lane Evans (D-IL)
Room 2211 RHOB; Phone: (202) 225-5905/ Fax: (202) 225-5396

• Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS)
Room 2311 RHOB; Phone: (202) 225-5772/ Fax: (202) 225-7074

• Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI)
Room 1502 LHOB; Phone: (202) 225-2726/ Fax: (202) 225-4580

• Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA)
Room 2447 RHOB; Phone: (202) 225-3411/ Fax: (202) 226-0771

• Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX)
Room 1527 LHOB; Phone: (202) 225-4831/ Fax: (202) 225-2016

• Rep. Vic Synder (D-AR)
Room 1319 LHOB; Phone: (202) 225-2506; Fax: (202) 225-5903

• Rep. Jim Turner (D-TX)
Room 208 CHOB; Phone: (202) 225-2401/ Fax: (202) 225-5955

• Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)
Room 1230 LHOB; Phone: (202) 225-2965/ Fax: (202) 225-5859

Mark J. Palmer, Assistant Director
International Marine Mammal Project , Director, Wildlife Alive, Earth Island Institute , 300 Broadway, Suite 28 , San Francisco, CA 94133 , (415) 788-3666 x139 , (415) 788-7324 (fax)