Animal Writes
From 31 August 2003 Issue

NRDC Wins Landmark Case Against Navy Sonar!
From Stacy De-Lin - [email protected] 

A federal court has just handed down its decision in our case against the U.S. Navy and I wanted you to be the first to hear the great news. In a resounding victory for whales and other marine mammals, the court ruled that it will bar the Navy from deploying its high-intensity LFA sonar system across most of the world's oceans.

The LFA (Low Frequency Active) sonar system would have blasted hundreds of thousands of square miles of ocean habitat with noise so intense it can maim, deafen and even kill whales. In her historic ruling, Judge LaPorte agreed with NRDC that the sonar's booming noise could "irreparably harm" the marine environment and threaten the very survival of endangered populations of whales, sea turtles and other marine species.

Judge LaPorte has ordered the Navy to begin negotiations with NRDC on a plan for safely testing the sonar system in a limited area.

This is truly a banner day for the Earth's environment. The court has granted a life-saving reprieve to dozens of species of magnificent marine mammals. But its ruling also sends a message loud and clear to the White House that it is not above our nation's environmental laws. The Bush administration trampled all over those laws when it gave the Navy a blank check to operate the deadly LFA sonar system virtually anywhere in the world.

It's also a banner day for hundreds of thousands of NRDC members and activists like you. When we began this fight eight years ago, we were told that our chances of stopping the military's classified LFA program were slim to none. But that conventional wisdom seriously underestimated the collective power of a determined citizenry.

Your financial contributions and online activism fueled an NRDC legal strategy that prevailed, in the end, over the world's most powerful military establishment. There is no finer example of democracy in action.

The fight to protect our oceans against high-intensity sonar is not over. The Navy could appeal the court's ruling. And right now the Bush administration is trying to get exemptions for the Navy from some of the very environmental laws NRDC used to block deployment of the LFA system. With your help, NRDC will do everything it can to ensure that these efforts do not succeed.

But all that lies ahead. For today, at least, we've won a significant victory, one worth savoring and celebrating. On behalf of our entire legal team, I want to thank you for coming to the defense of marine mammals around the world.


John H. Adams
Natural Resources Defense Council

BioGems: Saving Endangered Wild Places
A project of the Natural Resources Defense Council 

NRDC Press Release:
Washington Post story: 

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