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Marine Corps spent millions clearing trees with ‘environmental and social justice’ group

The North Beach at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Adam Korolev/Released)
April 18, 2023

The Marine Corps has spent millions of dollars clearing acres of invasive mangrove trees from a base in Hawaii with help from the “environmental and social justice” group Sierra Club.

The invasive species removal effort was touted in a Defense Department pamphlet dating to 2011, which was circulated during an Earth Day event at the Pentagon on Monday, the Daily Caller reported.

The pamphlet, called “Commander’s Guide on Invasive Species,” states that Marine Corps Base Hawaii “has spent millions of dollars to clear three acres of invasive mangroves from installation wetlands by physically removing them with shovels and chainsaws.”

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The non-native stands of mangrove trees could grow as tall as a six-story building and “interfere with military readiness by allowing training areas to be flooded and by impeding lines of sight,” according to the pamphlet.

The project to remove the trees involved “the teamwork of installation natural resources staff, soldier Marines, contractors, [and] groups such as a local chapter of the Sierra Club,” a nonprofit organization that describes itself on its website as fighting for “environmental and social justice.”

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The Sierra Club, founded in 1892 by conservationist John Muir, has a mission to “explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth,” according to its website. The group also states that “environmental issues can’t be separated from social justice – because we all breathe the same air and share the same land.”

The organization is currently organizing a campaign against an oil operation in Alaska recently approved by President Joe Biden.

At Monday’s Earth Day event at the Pentagon, a defense official described a new “climate assessment tool” that can detect climate vulnerabilities at all major military installations. 

The tool will be rolled out soon to six unspecified allied countries, said Brendan Owens, assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment.