“Restoring military readiness means lifting burdens on our military installations where possible and reasonable” Congressman Bridenstine said. “The U.S. military takes great pains to comply with the many regulations imposed by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). ESA imposes costs on our military every day. We need to balance those costs against the imperative of training and preparing the force.”
The Congressman noted errors in the studies for the original listings of two species, the Lesser Prairie Chicken and the American Burying Beetle. The LPC has already been de-listed. Both species are subjects of repopulation efforts and are thriving. Neither species is endangered or threatened, but both hinder military readiness.
Bridenstine further explained, “The McAlester Army ammunition plant in Eastern Oklahoma sits squarely in the Beetle’s known range. The plant jumps through hoops every day to deal with the ESA requirements and future plans to expand and modify the plant are impacted, too. We shouldn’t be burdening this Army ammunition plant or any other military installation for a species which is clearly thriving.
“There are seven military bases within the historic range of the Chicken, including in New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, and Oklahoma. All of these installations would face significant impacts if the LPC is relisted, particularly in terms of future expansion. Before we jeopardize readiness, let’s give time for the state-based conservation program to work.”
The amendment was approved as part of the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bipartisan bill authorizes funding for America’s armed forces and sets Department of Defense policy. Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act 53 years in a row.
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