Statement of Senator Jon S. Corzine
Environment and Public Works Committee
July 9, 2002
††††††††††† Thank you, Mr. Chairman.† I appreciate you holding this hearing on the Administrationís proposals on military readiness.
††††††††††† Mr. Chairman, like all of my colleagues I strongly support military readiness.† The war on terrorism demands that our troops receive the best training possible, and be prepared for any contingency that they might encounter.†
††††††††††† But I also believe that we need to be careful about what we sacrifice in the name of the war on terrorism, whether itís civil rights or environmental protection.†
††††††††††† So I am here today to say that I oppose the Administrationís proposals to provide blanket exemptions from our environmental laws to the Department of Defense.† DOD has asserted that these exemptions are needed for readiness, but they simply have not made a compelling case.† Thatís not just my opinion.† Thatís what the GAO found when they looked at the issue in May of this year.
††††††††††† Iím sure we will hear some damning anecdotes today about how environmental laws have caused problems.† But to provide blanket exemptions on the basis of a few anecdotes is at best a knee-jerk reaction to what has not been shown to be a systemic problem.† Furthermore, most environmental laws already have provisions that enable exemptions in cases of national security.† In the case of the Endangered Species Act, the relevant provision has never been used, which to me strongly suggests that the ESA is not hindering DODís ability to train and prepare our troops.†
††††††††††† Mr. Chairman, let me repeat:† I strongly support DOD in the war on terrorism, as do my constituents.† We all support doing what it takes to ensure that our troops our ready.† But I canít support additional exemptions from environmental law when they have not been shown to be needed, and when current law already contains mechanisms to address national security concerns.† Thank you.†