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Supreme Court weighs whales vs war preparation

•  National News     updated  2008/06/24 09:41


The Supreme Court will have the final say on whether war preparation trumps whale protection.

Acting at the Bush administration's urging, the court agreed Monday to review a federal appeals court ruling that limited the use of sonar in naval training exercises off Southern California's coast because of its potential to harm marine mammals.

Sonar, which the Navy relies on to locate enemy submarines, can interfere with whales' ability to navigate and communicate. There is also evidence that the technology has caused whales to strand themselves on shore.

The Navy argues that the decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco jeopardizes its ability to train sailors and Marines for service in wartime in exchange for a limited environmental benefit. The Navy says it has already taken steps to protect beaked whales, dolphins and other creatures in balancing war training and environmental protections, officials said.




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