Active Sonar Use For RIMPAC Denied
A District Court judge for the Central California District Court on Monday issued a temporary injunction against the use of active sonar during RIMPAC 2006 off the coast of Hawaii. This order, at least temporarily, overrides the national security exemption that was issued last week to allow ships to use active sonar during the exercise despite possible damage to marine mammals. Until this is resolved, the warships involved will be reduced to using passive sonar (a.k.a. a "different type of sonar", according to today's AP article on the flap).
I expect the Navy to argue that this injunction could cause irreparable harm to the participant's ability to practice anti-submarine warfare, and will present evidence that these exercises, which only happen every two years, present a unique training opportunity. Since the lawsuit was filed in the Central California district court (as opposed to the Hawaii District Court -- maybe the plantiffs did a little court-shopping, no?) I'm not sure how eager the courts would be to overturn the injunction. Eagle1 would probably have a better idea of what might happen next.
Staying at PD...
Update 0051 06 July: The Navy's press release is here.
Update 0818 06 July: The Navy yesterday asked the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to block the order; given the history of the Ninth Circuit, though, I'm not too optimistic.