LOS ANGELES (AP) –The Navy must follow environmental laws placing strict limits on sonar training that may harm whales, despite President Bush’s decision to exempt it, a federal judge ruled Monday.
The Navy is not ”exempted from compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act” and a court injunction creating a 12 nautical-mile no-sonar zone off Southern California, U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper wrote in a 36-page decision.
”We disagree with the judge’s decision,” White House spokesman Tony Fratto said. ”We believe the orders are legal and appropriate.”
The president signed a waiver Jan. 15 exempting the Navy and its anti-submarine warfare exercises from a preliminary injunction creating the no-sonar zone. The Navy’s attorneys argued in court last week that he was within his legal rights.
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