As previously reported here, the National Resources Defense Counsel has sued the Navy to prohibit the use of sonar during training exercises off Southern California because such training may be harmful to whales. This case made its way through the 9th Circuit, and was recently ruled on by the Supreme Court. Chief Judge Roberts authored the opinion,
Roberts wrote that “the Navy’s need to conduct realistic training with active sonar to respond to the threat posed by enemy submarines plainly outweighs” the environmental concerns raised by advocacy groups. “We do not discount the importance of [the challengers’] ecological, scientific, and recreational interest in marine mammals,” the opinion remarked.
It added: “Of course, military interests do not always trump other considerations, and we have not held that they do. In this case, however, the proper determination of where the public interest lies does not strike us as a close question.”