Environmental groups seeking to protect whales from the possibly harmful effects of sonar scored a legal victory against the Navy and the Bush administration.
U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper ruled Monday (Feb. 4) that the Navy is not exempt from complying with the National Environmental Policy Act and a court injunction that created a 12 nautical-mile no-sonar zone off Southern California.
The president signed a waiver Jan. 15 exempting the Navy and its anti-submarine warfare exercises from the injunction.
The judge also said she has “significant concerns about the constitutionality of the President’s exemption,” but that “a finding on this issue is not necessary” to reinstate the sonar injunction.
Scientists have said loud sonar can damage the brains and ears of marine mammals, and may mask the echoes from natural sonar that some whales and dolphins use to locate food.
Whales throughout the Pacific reportedly showed their approval of the ruling by spraying HUGE spouts of water up through their blowholes.
Ocean waters all along the California coastline looked like they were covered with giant lawn sprinklers.
Let’s hear it for the whales! /Gary