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Lay of the Land

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"[T]he more birds that the [Department of Defense] kill[s], the more enjoyment Mr. Frew [a plaintiff] will get from seeing the ones that remain: ‘Bird watchers get more enjoyment spotting a rare bird than they do spotting a common one.’"
–From a March 2002 court summary of the U.S. Department of Defense’s argument for an exemption from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, one of the country’s oldest environmental laws. The court rejected the DOD’s request, but Congress granted the exemption in the 2003 defense authorization bill, signed in December.

"Additional ecological benefits are provided from small areas of marsh that will be created around each completed mine pit."
–From the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ online factsheet regarding new mining permits it issued near Everglades National Park.

"It is not in my view a ridiculous possibility that our discharge actually protects the fish in that they are not inclined to bite (and get eaten by humans), but they go ahead with their upstream movement and egg laying."
–Comment included in an internal EPA document, regarding the Army Corps’ annual dumping of toxic sludge into the Potomac River, as reported in June 2002 by the Washington Times. After the document surfaced in a congressional hearing last year, the EPA proposed stricter regulations on future discharges.

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