U.S. Military Aviation Training and Environmental Regulations - Research Paper Example

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Waitz et al. (2005) argued that military aviation was responsible for a small and decreasing fraction of total fossil fuel use contribution to local air quality impacts and community noise in the United States in the period 1960 – 2000…
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U.S. Military Aviation Training and Environmental Regulations
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Download file to see previous pages Though in many cases the US military protects the wildlife, noise, air quality and endangered species are issues over which they sometimes dispute with the local communities. This paper is structured around the influence of environmental laws on the US Air Force training activities and inventory. Environmental laws went hand in hand with the lawsuits against the US Air Force. Technological changes brought along an increased use of the airspace. However, laws were based on the ancient Roman law, which was developed at a time when airplanes did not even exist as an idea. Thus, lawsuits preceded the legislation, which will be described in the 1946 the United States vs. Causby (1946) case in particular. Legislation then affected not only the usage of airspace but also of technology and structure of the US Air Force bases. Environmental laws interplay with the current events. Be it endangered species or noise levels, the September 11 attacks changed the dynamics of lawsuits against the US Air Force. It will be shown later on in this paper that recent events, such as the financial crisis, have led to conflicting interests of local communities and local authorities with regard to the US Air Force training activities. Through the interaction of the three interest groups it will be shown how environment is treated by some interest groups as a secondary concern. Military pollution is decreasing and smaller than commercial pollution levels. Utilization of commercial aircraft is higher than for military, standing at 4.7 times per day versus 0.35 respectively (Waitz et al., 2005, p. 334). However, military aircraft are noisier because of the kind of thrust engines employed by these aircraft. Waitz et al. (2005) argued that noise pollution increased from 1960 to 1995 for new military fighter aircraft (p.337). However, because of fleet reductions and a reduction in number of operations, the noise contributions decreased overall on a national level (Waitz et al., 2005, p.329). With regard to emissions, according to Waitz et al. (2005), the US Air Force contributes insignificantly to the overall US impact on the climate, amounting to 1 percent of the total climate impact (p.338). The commercial aircraft fleet burned by 2000 around 7 times the amount of fuel used for military aviation (Waitz et al., 2005, p.337). Moreover, the US military protects wildlife by offering it large, untouched areas. The US military administered over 25 million acres of land in 1994, being one of the largest stewards of federal land (Wheeler, 2006, p.440). However, urbanization pushes wildlife into military bases as cities and suburban areas expand (King, 1996, p.3). Thus, any reduction in training area has not only an adverse effect for the military, but also for the environment (Wheeler, 2006, p. 441). Rand Corporation assessment indicated that the US military is one of the friendliest users of environmental resources (Wheeler, 2006, p.445). Still, the US Air Force has been sued for decades over endangered species and air pollution. Following paragraphs will provide examples of lawsuits and corresponding legislation. Before the 1960’s, the US law was based on the Roman law maxim cujus est solum, ejus est usque ad coelum, according to which whoever owns the land also owns the airspace above it (King, 1996, p.5). The corresponding law was formulated during the ancient Roman times, when technology was based on horsepower. Airplanes were not discussed as a possibility by the intellectuals of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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