Sonar Testing | Whales 2 – Navy 1

whales002 Sonar Testing | Whales 2   Navy 1

The latest ruling by a judge from the U.S. Ninth District Court of appeals provides protection for oceangoing wildlife within 12 miles of the California Coast. Next stop for the Bush administration if they want to keep up the fight: The Supreme Court. And don’t put it past the lame-duck administration that has packed the court with conservatives over the past 8 years.

The Ninth District, comprised of 3 judges and based in San Francisco, upheld most of a lower court finding that restricted the Navy from using powerful, high-intensity sonar within 12 miles of the coast. The Bushies, in their usual paranoia-mongering, protested. The decision, they said, endangered Americans by disallowing Navy training exercises within the 12 mile zone and adding other restrictions on training operations that were designed to protect large mammals farther out in the ocean. Some of these restrictions were eased by the Ninth District to ensure that ships would be ready for combat duty.

Despite lighter restrictions, many environmental groups hail the decision as a victory because both the president and the Navy are being held to the letter of the law, not being placed above it. The Navy is also tasked with creating training practices that are not detrimental to the environment, perhaps a major step forward for all military training, which has always placed national security over environmental concerns.

As the nightmare that is George W. and his politics winds down, we must return to some sanity in our homeland security pursuits and replace fear with stewardship. We must also ask “Who is really endangered here?”

(via New York Times)

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