PDF _ RS22149 - Exemptions from Environmental Law for the Department of Defense: Background and Issues for Congress
1-May-2008; David M. Bearden; 6 p.

Update: Previous Releases:
August 17, 2007
May 15, 2007
March 12, 2007
January 3, 2007 (/NLE/CRSreports/07Jan/RS22149.pdf)
December 12, 2006
June 19, 2006
May, 2006
August, 2005

Abstract: Since FY2003, DOD has sought broader exemptions from environmental laws that it argues are needed to preserve training flexibility and ensure military readiness. There has been disagreement in Congress over the need for broader exemptions in the absence of data on the cumulative impact of environmental requirements on readiness. There also has been disagreement over the impacts that broader exemptions would have on environmental quality. Although certain exemptions DOD has requested have been enacted into law, Congress has opposed others. After considerable debate, the 107th Congress enacted a temporary exemption from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the 108th Congress enacted exemptions from the Marine Mammal Protection Act and certain parts of the Endangered Species Act. As in each year since FY2003, DOD again has requested exemptions from the Clean Air Act, Solid Waste Disposal Act, and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). These exemptions are included in the Administration’s FY2008 defense authorization bill (S. 567), but Congress has not included them in the FY2008 defense authorization bills (H.R. 1585 and S. 1547), nor the FY2008 defense appropriations bills (H.R. 2642, H.R. 3222, and S. 1645), on which it has acted so far. Apart from these bills, standalone legislation (H.R. 3366) would seek to clarify the compliance of military activities with environmental laws.

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Topics: Government, Legislative, General Interest

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