"The National Marine Fisheries Service violated multiple environmental laws when it authorized the Navy to conduct training activities off Hawaii and Southern California, a federal judge ruled yesterday.
The ruling comes after years of debate over how that training affects dozens of marine mammal species in the area, including nine species listed under the Endangered Species Act. NMFS acknowledged that the Navy's use of sonar, underwater explosions and airguns would harm -- and could even kill -- many mammals, but it asserted that the impact on each species was "negligible."
U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway disagreed. In a 66-page order, she ruled that NMFS's negligible impact finding was "arbitrary and capricious" and violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA)."