NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Environmental Extremists Shutting Down Military Training Sites

December 11, 2001

At a time when the U.S. is at war, environmental groups and no-growth activists are succeeding in placing invaluable military training sites off limits to America's armed forces. As Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Edward Hanlon Jr., commander at Camp Pendleton, warned Congress earlier this spring, "Our ability to train is being slowly eroded by encroachment on many fronts."

Here is part of the toll thus far:

  • The Puerto Rican island of Vieques -- which the Navy has used as an exercise area for 60 years and which is the only live-fire training range for the U.S. Atlantic Fleet -- is now scheduled to close in 2003 at the behest of eco-activists.
  • At sites throughout California -- ranging from near the Big Sur to Coronado Island and Fort Irwin -- military training is being shut down amid protests of too much noise and possible endangerment of species.
  • Self-styled wildlife defenders have brought suit to halt training exercises for military pilots -- which have been going on since 1941 -- at the Barry Goldwater bombing range near Phoenix, Arizona, because of possible dangers to lizards and antelope.
  • The Army's Makua Military Reservation in Hawaii -- used for live-fire training since World War II -- has been hamstrung by lawsuits seeking to protect the Oahu tree snail and the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat.

Then there is the gaggle of groups -- even including a group of witches calling itself "Friends of Gaia" -- trying to shut down the Pinecastle bombing range in Florida. Their pleas are to give the area's bears more quiet and save the gopher tortoises.

Source: Michelle Malkin, "Hostile Fire from Eco-Extremists," Washington Times, December 11, 2001.


Browse more articles on Environment Issues