Court Rules for Whales in Case Challenging Navy Activities in the Pacific

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Is this whale trying to high-five someone? (Photo Credit NOAA SEFSC).

Today, the U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii, found that the National Marine Fisheries Service - the agency charged with protecting marine mammals - violated multiple requirements of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act when agreeing to the Navy's plan for training and testing off the shores of Southern California and Hawaii.

The court said, "the problems this court identifies are so fundamental that the court cannot conceive of a new Final Rule or new LOAs that simply tweak the earlier documents and regurgitate old language."

Perhaps the Court said it best with, "NMFS cannot just parrot what the Navy says."

I couldn't agree more. It's time for NMFS to do its job and protect whales and dolphins from the Navy's danerous activities.

The case was brought by my organization, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and our fellow plaintiffs, Cetacean Society International, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Pacific Environment and Resources Center, and Michael Stocker. The court also ruled in favor of whales in a related case brought by Earthjustice for Conservation Council for Hawaii and other plaintiffs, which had additional Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act claims.

I look forward to reporting more about the ruling as we digest the Court's 66-page decision. Stay tuned...