Democrats Dispute Claim That Shielding Birds Hurts Military
Apr 27, 2016 01:32 AM EDT
On Tuesday, the House Democrats released the letters from Pentagon officials saying they should put an end to the 'silly speculation' Republicans fueled that protecting a bird known as the greater sage-grouse will affect the US military.
According to Associated Press, the Democrats are hoping that the additional evidence will persuade lawmakers to oppose the GOP provision in the annual defense policy that would block the administration from protecting the sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act for 10 years. The measure will also prevent the implementation of land-use plans by US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to preserve the bird's habitat.
ABC News wrote that Democratic Representative Adam Smith of Washington State along with Raul Grijalva of Arizona and Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts said that the letters will show how the plan is working, how they don't interfere with military readiness and help that the birds won't be listed. Tsongas even added that the letters will "demonstrate that arguments to halt this progress are not actually about military readiness but instead are an attempt to interfere with management of our nation's public lands and undermine the Endangered Species Act."
Daily Mail published that GOP lawmakers previously argued that the protection plans for the sage-grouse will be a restriction to the availability of training grounds for Western states. It is known that half of the sage-grouse's habitat is on federal grounds, which is managed by Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Meanwhile, Claude Chafin added that the provision is essential so that there is assurance that the critical military training isn't interrupted by 'environmental extremism.'
He added that the listing of sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act comes at a high cost to military readiness but Grijalva was fast to say that "letters put to bed once and for all the silly speculation that a few birds could hamstring the greatest fighting force in the history of the world."