navy sonar

Supreme court wrestles with whales vs. sonar

ShareThis[1330] Madin, K., "Supreme court wrestles with whales vs. sonar", Oceanus, vol. 47, issue 2, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, pp. 42-43, 09/2009. Get PDF:  Full Text.pdf (format PDF / 2 MB)

Arguments about the impact of Navy sonar on marine mammals rose to the highest court in the land last fall. But not every issue is best settled in court. One source of knowledge related to the case—marine mammal scientists—was essentially left out of the debate.

The U.S. Supreme Court weighed competing interests—“a balance of harms” in legal terms. On one hand is the potential threat to whales from sonar; on the other, the military risk posed by naval forces inadequately trained to use sonar to detect enemy submarines.

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