Groups sue over Navy sonar use off Northwest coast

Jan 26, 2012

Conservationists and Native American tribes have filed a lawsuit over the Navy's expanded use of sonar in training exercises off the Washington, Oregon and California coasts, saying the noise can harass and kill whales and other marine life.

The environmental law firm Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other groups filed the lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco against the National Marine Fisheries Service, saying it was wrong to approve the Navy's plan for the expanded training.

They said the regulators should have considered the effects repeated sonar use can have on those species over many years and also required certain restrictions on where the Navy could conduct sonar and other loud activities.

The groups want the permit granted to the Navy to be invalidated.

Representatives for the Navy and fisheries service say they haven't yet reviewed the lawsuit.