The high-powered sonar used in Navy training exercises off the Southern California coast was justified by Chief Justice John Roberts as being in the “public interest.” The ruling will allow training to be conducted under what Roberts termed “realistic conditions.”
While some whales’ hearts are as big as cars, the hearts on the Supreme Court that ruled Wednesday against a ban on high-powered sonar in Navy training exercises must be shrinking by the minute. The decision was a defeat to environmentalists, who argue that sonar panics whales, makes their ears bleed and pushes them to beach themselves.
The L.A. Times:
The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a defeat to environmentalists today and cleared the way for the Navy to use high-powered sonar off the Southern California coast even if it poses a threat to whales and other marine mammals.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts said the Navy needs to train its crews to detect enemy submarines, and it cannot be forced to turn off its sonar when whales are spotted nearby. “The public interest in conducting training exercises with active sonar under realistic conditions plainly outweighs” the concerns voiced by environmentalists, he said for a 5-4 majority.
Roberts faulted judges in California for “second-guessing” the views of Navy leaders. “Where the public interest lies does not strike us as a close question,” he said.