WASHINGTON, D.C [08/16/18]—U.S. Senator Tina Smith’s (D-Minn.) bipartisan effort to fund military readiness and environmental conservation—also supported by her Minnesota colleague Sen. Amy Klobuchar—was recently signed into law by the President.
The Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program helps military facilities across the country, including Minnesota’s Camp Ripley, manage and protect surrounding land to ensure community development does not impede our nation’s military training. Earlier this year, the Army considered reinterpreting the statute that defines a military installation to remove state-owned military facilities, meaning that state-owned National Guard facilities like Camp Ripley would have been unable to receive REPI funding. Sen. Smith introduced a provision to ensure these facilities continue to receive this vital support, and her measure became law as part of a larger bipartisan defense bill.
“We have a program in place that is cost-effective, and good for our military, the environment, and communities in Minnesota—making sure it continues just makes sense,” said Sen. Smith. “I was proud to lead an effort to make sure Camp Ripley and state-owned military facilities across the nation continue to get the critical readiness and conservation support they need, and I’m glad I was able to help get this signed into law.”
“This program is good for our military facilities and the environment,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “This law will ensure that military training facilities like Camp Ripley will continue to receive the funding they need to maintain military preparedness while getting important support for conservation.”
“This legislation will help ensure Camp Ripley continues to provide quality training opportunities to Soldiers and Airmen, while at the same time being a responsible steward of the environment, natural resources, and being a good neighbor to those who live around Camp Ripley,” said Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General-Army and Camp Ripley Senior Commander, Brig. Gen. Lowell Kruse.
Sen. Smith’s bipartisan amendment—also supported by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)—clarifies that it has always been Congress’ intent that state-owned National Guard facilities receive this funding.
You can learn more about the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program here.