Center for Biological Diversity seeks to destroy Fort Huachuca to save the San Pedro Riverby Hugh Holub on Jun. 01, 2011, under Center for Biological Diversity, endangered species act, environment water and energy, litigious environmental groups, politics
The Center for Biological Diversity’s war against Fort Huachuca has taken a dangerous turn as far as the future of that important military base is concerned.
A federal judge threw out the US Fish and Wildlife’s plan for the San Pedro River at the urging of the CBD and now the base may have to be reduced in scope of its activities to save the river.
From the Arizona Daily Star May 31, 2011:
….Calling the Army’s reliance on this 2007 opinion “arbitrary and capricious,” the judge said the Army has violated its duty under the Endangered Species Act to ensure that its operations don’t jeopardize the two species’ existence. The ruling grants a motion from two environmental groups requesting that the service be forced to rewrite the biological opinion again.
In 2002, another judge tossed out an earlier biological opinion from the wildlife service, forcing a rewrite. Four years later, the service and Army agreed to withdraw and rewrite a second opinion —which led to the 2007 opinion that was tossed out in last week’s ruling.
The continuing litigation is part of an ongoing effort by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Maricopa Audubon Society to force reductions in groundwater pumping to keep the river from going dry.
The ruling’s significance should be “that it is finally clear that they can’t come up with enough mitigation measures to preserve the river with the fort’s current troop strength,” said Robin Silver, the center’s conservation chairman.
“In order to save the river, they need to reduce the number of missions at Fort Huachuca,” said Silver, who has been battling the fort, the wildlife service and other local, state and federal agencies for the past two decades to try to save the river.
COMMENT: The battle between the Center for Biological Diversity and Fort Huachuca is a classic example of the conflict between US environmental law…especially the Endangered Species Act…and other missions of the US government namely national security.
Obviously from the quote from Robin Silver, saving the San Pedro River takes precedence over saving Fort Huachuca. In Silver’s world…and CBDs… the environment is more important than anything else.
The same conflict exists on the border with groups opposing the border fence and access by the Border Patrol near the border on federal lands. They don’t mind it if Mexican drug cartel goons armed with AK 47s are running around the country so long as animals and plants are not disturbed.
The goal to “reduce the number of missions at Fort Huachuca” is essentially to kill both the Army base and the city of Sierra Vista.
There are alternatives to what CBD is seeking that would allow both the Fort and the river to prosper.
Take the Santa Cruz River south of Tucson. It has been restored to pretty close to what Father Kino saw in 1691…by treating the sewage from Ambos Nogales and discharging it to the river.
The riparian area of the Santa Cruz River is every bit as environmentally important as the San Pedro.
But the CBD and other environmental groups make a distinction between “free flowing natural rivers” and an effluent dominated river like the Santa Cruz. The Santa Cruz is bad, the San Pedro is good.
I doubt of the riparian vegetation and the birds and the fish care where the water comes from as long as it is there and of good quality.
The US government funded a $60 million upgrade to the Nogales International Wastewater Treatment Plant to guarantee that the effluent discharged into the Santa Cruz was of high quality to protect the environment.
And that is a road map for Sierra Vista. All of the wastewater generated by Sierra Vista and Fort Huachuca should be treated and discharged back to the San Pedro River. That would offset most of the groundwater pumping in that area.
In addition, all the stormwater that lands on the base and the city should also be captured and released to the San Pedro. Ultimately 100% of the groundwater pumping could be offset by treated effluent and managed stormwater.
But you do not hear the Center for Biological Diversity working for a “win-win” solution to save the base and the river. The river must be natural and the base and Sierra Vista must go away to save the river.
The people funding the Center for Biological Diversity and Robin Silver’s jihad against Fort Huachuca need to take a hard look at what is going on and ask yourselves…do you really agree with their agenda?
Are you really trying to save a river or destroy a military base?
[Note: Hugh Holub is a water attorney and Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable Development which seeks to provide the truth about the litigious environmental movement to the public and to work on"win-win" solutions that protect BOTH the economy and the environment.]
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