Reaction to the sonar ruling by the Navy and NRDCNovember 12th, 2008 by cdunagan
Navy officials and attorneys with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which brought the sonar lawsuit, offered these responses to today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
For further details about the ruling, see the entry below in Watching Our Water Ways.
Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter:
“This case was vital to our Navy and Nation’s security, and we are pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision in this matter. We can now continue to train our Sailors effectively, under realistic combat conditions, and certify our crews “combat ready” while continuing to be good stewards of the marine environment.”
Admiral Gary Roughead, chief of Naval Operations:
“We are pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision on this case of vital importance to our National Security. We will continue to train realistically and certify the Sailors and Marines of our Navy strike groups in a manner that protects our nation’s security and the precious maritime environment.”
Lt. Sean Robertson, media relations action officer, CHINFO
“Without the crippling restrictions contained in the preliminary injunction, our Sailors can train realistically and the Navy is able to certify our forces are ready for Anti-Submarine Warfare, reducing risk to our Sailors and national security, while simultaneously protecting the environment. The Navy appreciates the careful consideration and prompt review the Court gave this important case involving national security.”
Rear Adm. James A. Symonds, commander of Navy Region
“Although this decision does not directly affect the Puget Sound, some SONAR training does occur on a smaller scale in the Northwest training ranges. It is important that our Sailors are able to train as they would be called to fight, in a realistic environment.
“When Sailors train, they adhere to the 29 protective mitigation measures whenever mid-frequency active SONAR is needed to minimize potential harm to marine mammals. This includes posting lookouts, power-down and shut-down requirements. The Navy is preparing an environmental impact statement to comprehensively analyze the effects of all Navy activities in the Northwest training ranges.”
Joel Reynolds, senior attorney and director of NRDC’s marine mammal program:
“The Supreme Court held that the lower courts did not properly balance the competing interests at stake, and struck down two significant safeguards that reduce harm to whales from high-intensity sonar training.
“The decision places marine mammals at greater risk of serious and needless harm. However, it is a narrow ruling that leaves in place four of the injunction’s six safeguards. It is significant that the court did not overturn the underlying determination that the Navy likely violated the law by failing to prepare an environmental impact statement.”
Richard Kendall, NRDC co-counsel:
“It is gratifying that the court did not accept the Navy’s expansive claims of executive power, and that two thirds of the injunction remains intact.”
See the full press release from NRDC