Federal Waters, Navy Noise and the Reach of National Security
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Recent court rulings have raised the stakes in an ongoing saga about the effects of the U.S. Navy’s sonar testing on marine mammals and the federal government’s obligations to assess and mitigate the impacts of military activities in Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdictional waters. Federal courts have recently ruled that the Navy violated several federal laws designed to protect the environment by forging ahead with sonar testing in coastal and United States’ territorial waters without properly completing required studies and undertaking appropriate mitigation measures. An injunction against the planned naval training exercises has issued, requiring a variety of actions. In response, the Bush Administration is seeking review of the case in the Supreme Court. The latest developments in the Navy sonar case are occurring amidst efforts by the administration to bypass environmental requirements in the name of national security in this case and in other contexts (most notably, the “immigration fence” along the United States-Mexico border).
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