Military trumps marine life

Conservationist group settles lawsuit with U.S. Navy

A longstanding legal battle between the U.S. Navy and several prominent conservation organizations ended with a compromise last week.

The Navy has agreed to study the effects sonar may have on marine life, especially whales. That decision comes about three years after the Natural Resources Defense Council filed a lawsuit against the military branch, challenging its use of sonar during submarine exercises used to detect other underwater vessels.

The organization’s decision to settle the case also comes about a month after the conclusion of another case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Navy’s use of sonar bested the interests of ocean life, reported The Associated Press.

NRDC had originally asked that the Navy stop using mid-frequency sonar—the type that sends out sound pulses. The organization argued that the method interferes with marine feeding patterns and can lead whales to beach themselves.