The Whales Vs the US Navy
by Alan Harten
June 25, 2008
The United States Supreme Court has decided to take on the case of Defenders of Wildlife v. Chertoff, No. 07-1180.
This could also be known as the whales Vs the US navy.
The disputes between the big mammals and the mighty US military superpower has been ongoing for some time, and centers around the US navy’s use of sonar while training in the Pacific, off southern California.
The white house claims that the Navy must use sonar as an essential part of its exercises in preparation for any potential war.
The appeals court had earlier placed conditions on the navy and its use of sonar in exercises.
But now the highest court in the land has agreed to hear a further appeal from the navy with regard to these restrictions.
The current court order states that the navy must ‘suspend or minimize’ its use of sonar in the waters where the exercises are currently taking place, when it is known that the whales may be in the vicinity.
The Navy has already agreed with the conservationists that the sonar waves can contribute to what they term “behavioral disruptions” and may also be a contributing factor to other physical problems for the whales and other sonar dependant mammals, that includes hearing loss in not only whales but also dolphins.
The crux of the argument is that the navy considers that these effects are both not serious or long term.
The Natural Resources Defense Council have argued that this is not the case and that in fact these mammals suffer many serious ailments that can even be fatal such as hemorrhaging and ‘loss of direction’ which causes the animals to stray onto the land and become beached.
The Supreme Court has made it clear that they do not intend to settle the extent to which the animals suffer, but will instead focus on the acceptable limits of civil courts interference in military affairs.
At the beginning of this year US President Bush gave the Navy immunity from several environmental laws including the Coastal Zone Management Act, as well as further exemptions under what are termed “emergency circumstances” that allow the armed forces to ignore many laws aimed at protecting the environment.
The Supreme Court will decide just how far the civil courts can interfere with such directives, and how much influence they will be allowed to have in military affairs such as the use of sonar in waters frequented by whales.
Discuss this in the Fair Home Forums
Related posts to "The Whales Vs the US Navy":
- Navy to recycle battleships in Liverpool
- More whales beached in Australia
- Unlikely coalition campaigns for Coral Sea
No Comments »
No comments yet.
Leave a comment
Previous: « China tops carbon emissions leaderboard
Next: Expert panel derides eco-town proposals »
Visited 1656 times, 1 so far today