The Navy is not “exempted from compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act” and a court injunction creating a 12 nautical-mile no-sonar zone off Southern California, U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper wrote in a 36-page decision.
“We disagree with the (exemption) judge’s decision,” White House spokesman Tony Fratto said. “We believe the (exemption) orders are legal and appropriate.”Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Cindy Moore said the military was studying the decision.
The president signed a waiver January 15 exempting the Navy and its anti-submarine warfare exercises from a preliminary injunction creating a 12 nautical-mile no-sonar zone off Southern California. The Navy’s attorneys argued in court last week that he was within his legal rights.
There is little doubt that sonar severely disrupts whale communication and can lead to bizarre behavior and decompression sickness. Here’s a video (narrated by Pierce Brosnan, no less!) that sheds some light on this issue.