Navy, Greenies Settle Sonar Dispute

Both sides declare victory in long-running lawsuit
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2008 12:54 PM CST
The Navy says sonar training is essential for sailors to be prepared to detect super-quiet diesel submarines that are being purchased or built by rogue Third World nations, including Iran.   (AP Photo/US Navy - James R. Evan)
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(Newser) – The Navy and environmental groups both declared victory today after the two sides settled a lawsuit over sonar and its effect on whales and other marine mammals, the Los Angeles Times reports. The settlement, reached Friday, calls for Navy ships to avoid sensitive areas and reduce or halt sonar when marine mammals are nearby.

The deal doesn’t resolve scientists’ issues with the Navy, said an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, but “we’re hopeful it will lead to a much more effective dialogue.” The Navy, which says the settlement protects national security, argues that sonar is essential to detecting submarines from enemy states. Environmentalists counter that its piercing sounds harm and kill whales.