Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The whole porpoise of the military...

"Today the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case testing how far the president and his agencies can go in setting aside environmental laws in the name of national security — and how far the courts can go in intervening in such a controversy."

"At issue is the long-running dispute over the Navy's use of mid-frequency sonar in training exercises off the California coast. Environmental advocacy groups contend that federal law requires the Navy to assess the damage that could be caused to whales and dolphins and to adopt steps to minimize that damage."

Some of the dialogue among the justices...

Chief Justice Roberts: We should stop the Navy from doing this just because we think there is a likelihood they might be inflicting unneeded damage?

Justice Kendall: Yes ... the Navy cannot be the judge of its own cause. There's a limit to deference. ... The evidence is overwhelming that beaked whales are being stranded by sonar and killed. Autopsies show they are hemorrhaging and dying.

Justice Breyer: The whole purpose of the military is to hurt the environment. You go on a bombing mission — do you have to prepare an environmental impact statement?

Justice Kendall: No, of course not in combat. But here in a training exercise, the military is supposed to minimize the damage.

Full report here

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