Posted by: r.m. | November 14, 2008

US navy vs whales

Remember the US Supreme Court case which pitted the US navy against the whales? (reminder – here’s the post)

Unfortunately, the US Supreme Court was too predictable – once again ruling with the militarily strong.

The ruling, the first of the court’s 2008-09 term, accepted the Navy’s arguments that the limitations would hinder vital exercises in the use of sonar to detect enemy submarines. The restrictions, imposed by lower courts, would have required the Navy to reduce or halt underwater sonar pulses when marine mammals might be nearby.”

Fortunately, “One unchallenged restriction, which remains in effect, bans the Navy from using sonar within 12 miles of the coast.”

The full opinions in the case, Winter vs. Natural Resources Defense Council, 07-1239, can be read at



  1. You win some you lose some;that’s life.But at least people are trying and standing up for what they belive.The bright side is that one of the restrictions is still in effect.

  2. What’s more is that the probem of the naval sonar is going to get even worse. One of the unexpected consequences of CO2 rises is an increase in ocean acidity and the range that sound can travel in water. having an ocean with a higher pH means that sonar danger zones for marine mammal are just going to get larger.

  3. The problem here i guess is that there are only 2 alternatives: risking the american national security or killing marine life..but i believe that the navy is being quite lazy and doesn’t want to bother exploring alternative ways to carry out its exercises. Come on. The Navy has some of the brightest minds and best engineers on the planet. I’m sure if they put their heads together they can figure something out that isn’t so detrimental to marine life.

  4. I totally agree with Zeina. The easiest approach to any problem is to give the simplest confrontational image, two opposed and reciprocally cancelling ideas. However there are always midway solutions, compromises and more viable alternatives to be exploited.

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