Peace Time: January 15, 2001


During World War II, the US Marines established Camp Pendleton along the southern California coast. Then, as now, it's the major training area for Marines. But since the 1970s, suburban California has closed in from all sides. No problem. But the 1973 Endangered Species Act has increasingly been invoked. Many local species have had all their other habitat wiped out by urban sprawl. So environmentalists are continually after the Marines to avoid operating in those areas that represent the last remaining habitat of endangered species. The Marines comply, telling the troops to consider several thousand bits of land and wetlands to be equivalent of gassed areas (that can never be decontaminated) or minefields (that can never be cleared.) Training isn't what it used to be, but the Endangered Species Act comes first, even before national defense. 


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