NRDC Goes to Court Against Deadly Sonar

From: John Adams,
Date: 7/9/03

Dear NRDC BioGems Defender,

I wish you could have been with us in court last week as we argued our landmark case to save millions of marine mammals from the Navy's deadly LFA sonar system.

Getting this case to U.S. District Court has been an enormous undertaking: eight years of legal sparring with the Navy; hundreds of pages of carefully drafted legal arguments; tens of thousands of pages of documents entered into the court record; and a never-say-die belief on our part that the health of ocean ecosystems will one day prevail over the world's most powerful military establishment.

But, above all, the road to the courthouse door was paved with thousands and thousands of letters and contributions from caring people like you. That's why, with a ruling in this case still a month away, I wanted you to know right away that we fought the good fight on your behalf last week. The rest is now up to Judge Elizabeth LaPorte.

As you know, Judge LaPorte stunned the Navy last fall by blocking deployment of LFA sonar across 75 percent of the world's oceans until this case could be heard in full and all of NRDC's evidence presented. It is unusual for a judge to clamp this kind of injunction on the military -- especially in times like these -- unless the case against the government is exceedingly strong. We have that kind of case.

Judge LaPorte's courageous ruling last year signaled that the Bush administration had likely violated multiple laws when it gave the Navy permission to harass and injure thousands of marine mammals by flooding ocean habitats with high-intensity noise.

Since then, NRDC's case has only gotten stronger. We have uncovered reams of new evidence -- much of it drawn from the Navy's own files -- that high-powered LFA noise can cause hemorrhaging in whales, internal injuries in fish, and seizures in human divers.

When our Marine Mammal Protection staff entered the courtroom last week, they encountered a phalanx of Bush administration lawyers and a parade of the government's top scientific experts. But that formidable array of government talent (all paid for by your tax dollars!) faced an uphill battle trying to refute the almost overwhelming case against LFA sonar that we have painstakingly constructed over the past decade.

Based on Judge LaPorte's many thoughtful questions, there is little doubt that she understands the far-reaching dangers posed by this technology -- as well as the illegal manner in which the Bush administration approved its deployment.

All we can do now is wait and hope that Judge LaPorte will impose a permanent ban on the global deployment of this acoustic menace until such a day as the Navy can prove it has complied with federal law and will do no serious harm to marine life. I will, of course, alert you via email the minute we have the judge's ruling in hand.

On behalf of our entire legal team, I want to thank you again for coming to the defense of marine mammals around the world and making this historic case possible.

John H. Adams
President, Natural Resources Defense Council

Thanks to Larry with "Ocean Sanctity: Action Alert!" & for this report.

Int'l Marine Mammal Project -NOT "Dolphin Safe Tuna Dolphuman contact -Sample letters to send & info What to do -Updates-letters, links on LFAS
LFA Sonar Stop Whaling! NRDC Court Case on LFAS
Alert! -Dolphin Capture, Solomon Islands Future Link Ecstatic Dolphin Journeys with Matisha