Well, my verbosity has again left me short of time and space. Based on several emails I received, I was hoping to address military compliance issues today, but do not have time (maybe that can be my single focus if I’m ever asked to guest-blog again).
In short (yeah, right!), Mike Lee did an excellent piece in today’s U-T on military compliance issues, particularly related to the 2-year sewage leak into San Diego Bay from a Navy barracks. I can assure you Coastkeeper is tracking this issue, and other compliance issues at San Diego’s military facilities, though we have not yet determined a course of action.
There can be little doubt about the need for our military and the role it plays in San Diego. There is also little doubt about the pollution that Department of Defense (DOD) facilities and supporting companies (such as shipyards) contributes to our land, air and water.
Despite improved practices, the military is still exempted from many environmental regulations and enforcement actions, and is a (if not the) leading cause of pollution in many communities throughout our country. While most people would agree there should be certain compliance exceptions to environmental rules in true national security situations (just as certain stormwater regulations are waived when fighting fires, for example), we are, as Lincoln said in Gettysburg, “a government of the people, by the people and for the people.” Our federal facilities must strive to not only comply with the same environmental laws as everyone else, but should actually look to lead in these areas. And when pushed to do so, as was done in our settlement with Camp Pendleton, they are certainly capable. As challenging as it is, Coastkeeper will continue to provide oversight of our military to ensure they play an active role in preserving the resources they are helping to protect.
Thanks again for letting me ramble. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you want more information on San Diego Coastkeeper or our campaigns.