NRDC Sues Navy on Mid-frequency Sonar
On October 19, 2005, the Natural Resources Defense Council, several other NGOs, and Jean-Michel Cousteau sued the Navy in federal court in Los Angeles. In its own words, the NRDC complaint "challenges the [Navy's] testing and training with a battery of high-intensity active sonar systems, known to cause the death and injury of whales, porpoises and other marine species, in United States waters and on the high seas."
The complaint alleges that the Navy's use of mid-frequency sonar violates the National Environmental Policy Act, the Marine Mammals Protection Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
In particular, the complaint alleges that the Navy violated NEPA by failing "to prepare an adequate (or, in many cases, any) environmental assessment...or an environmental impact statement... for individual navy exercises that employ mid-frequency sonar, or for the use of such sonar as a whole."
The complaint alleges the Navy violated the MMPA by failing "to seek or obtain a small take permit' or an incidental harassment authorization' from the National Marine Fisheries Service...."
The complaint alleges that the Navy violated NEPA, the MMPA, and the ESA by continuing "regularly to plan and conduct Navy exercises that employ mid-frequency active sonar without complying with" those statutes.
Among other relief, the complaint seeks a court order requiring the Navy "to propose within 60 days a plan to remedy the violations of law alleged in this Complaint, including a mitigation plan for uses of its mid-frequency active sonar during testing and training activities."
The complaint states that it "addresses only the navy's testing and training activities." It "does not address the Navy's use of mid-frequency active sonar in combat."
Click here for NRDC complaint