Environmental Coalition Alert on Proposed Fort Irwin Expansion Legislation
RESOURCES THREATENED BY THE FORT IRWIN EXPANSION
July 26, 2001
*********MOJAVE DESERT TORTOISES AT RISK*********
LEGISLATION TO EXPAND THE FORT IRWIN NATIONAL TRAINING CENTER IN CALIFORNIA'S MOJAVE DESERT THREATENS ENDANGERED SPECIES AND WILDERNESS
PLEASE CONTACT CALIFORNIA REPRESENTATIVES ON THE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE TODAY
Legislation is about to be introduced in the House of Representatives that would jeopardize California's desert wildlife and wilderness. The U.S. Army is proposing to expand the sprawling 642,000-acre Fort Irwin National Training Center in California's Mojave Desert by an additional 131,000 acres. The proposed expansion would destroy currently protected public lands, plants and animals in the California desert.
Please call the following California Representatives on the Armed Services Committee TODAY and ask them to oppose legislation that would expand The Fort Irwin National Training Center in California's Mojave Desert.
Susan Davis (D-49th) - (202) 225-2040 D.C., (619) 291-1430
Loretta Sanchez (D-46th) - (202) 225-2965 D.C, (714) 621-0102
Ellen Tauscher (D-10th) - (202) 225-1880, (925) 932-8899
Mike Thompson (D-1st) - (202) 225-3311, (707) 269-9595
Tell them that expanding the base southwest will allow tank training on 130 square miles of critical habitat for the federally listed desert tortoise and Lane Mountain Milkvetch. Furthermore, it will severely impact recovery efforts designed to save the West Mojave population of the desert tortoise and the Lane Mountain milkvetch from going extinct.
Also, please state that the army should not acquire land in the proposed expansion areas until they have complied with environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. Any impacts must be fully mitigated.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
The expansion of the Army's National Training Center (NTC) and their combat training operations would the Superior Valley, an irreplaceable refuge for a wide variety of unique and vulnerable desert plants and animals, including two species threatened with extinction the desert tortoise and Lane Mountain milkvetch. Much of the original habitat for both of these species has already been destroyed by development, mining, grazing and military training.
The desert tortoise has suffered a steady decline in population over the past several years. The Superior Valley is federally designated critical habitat for the desert tortoise. Destruction of this habitat, which is deemed critical to their conservation, will hasten the demise of the tortoise in the West Mojave Desert. In addition to the Superior Valley, the southern portion of the NTC, which is designated critical habitat and has been historically closed to tanks to protect tortoises, would be opened to tank training.
The endangered Lane Mountain milkvetch, a slender spring flowering perennial, would be devastated by the expansion. Most of the known Lane Mountain Milkvetch plants lie within the proposed expansion area.