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Federal appeals court orders Navy to limit use of high-powered sonar

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled [PDF text; NRDC press release] Tuesday that the US Navy's use of high-powered sonar should be limited during training exercises in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California. The Court vacated its earlier stay on a temporary injunction [JURIST report] preventing the Navy's use of the high-powered sonar technology effective as of the end of the Navy's current training exercise in that area or November 23, 10 days from the date of the ruling, which ever occurs first. The case was remanded to a Los Angeles district court for modification of the temporary injunction pursuant to the appeals court's ruling.

The ruling comes in a lawsuit brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council [advocacy website] against the Navy. The NRDC has argued that the Navy's decision to use "medium frequency active sonar" without preparing a full environmental impact statement violates several federal laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act [EPA materials], the Endangered Species Act [PDF text], the Administrative Procedures Act [text] and the Coastal Zone Management Act [text]. AP has more. The Los Angeles Times has local coverage.

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