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Navy beats enviro-nitwits

By Michelle Malkin  •  November 12, 2008 12:35 PM

Some good news to report: The Supreme Court has sided with the Navy and national security over the enviro-nitwits in a long-running dispute over sonar training exercises off the southern California coast. (I’ve covered the issue since 2002.)

Bloomberg reports:

The U.S. Supreme Court, ruling that national security trumps environmental rules, lifted restrictions on the Navy’s use of sonar during training exercises off the coast of Southern California.

A divided high court rejected arguments by environmentalists that the judge-ordered restrictions were warranted to protect whales and other marine mammals.

The environmental interests “are plainly outweighed by the Navy’s need to conduct realistic training exercises to ensure that it is able to neutralize the threat posed by enemy submarines,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.

The case tested the power of the White House and the military to skirt federal environmental regulations in the name of national security. The Bush administration argued that courts should be deferential when the president concludes that a military exercise is essential for the country’s safety.

Two justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter, dissented, while two others, Stephen Breyer and John Paul Stevens, agreed with Roberts in part.

The ruling applies to the last of 14 training exercises designed to prepare naval strike groups for deployment in the western Pacific and Middle East.

As I wrote six years ago:

Despite numerous precautions and mitigation measures being taken by the Navy, Mark Palmer of the San Francisco-based Earth Island Institute fretted on CNN…that the system is a “sonar bomb” developed by the Navy “to attack whales and other sorts of things in the name of finding submarines, and we don’t think it’s appropriate. We know very little about the effects on fish, on squid, on other types of marine organisms.”

Foreign enemies invaded our borders and murdered over 3,000 men, women and children on Sept. 11. Hundreds of thousands of young men and women have volunteered to make sure it doesn’t happen again. And all this guy can worry about is the comfort level of squid and plankton?

Of course, Navy planners should be conscientious environmental stewards. They are. The branch will spend upwards of $700 million next year on environmental protection alone. But the balance between environmental protection and military effectiveness is out of whack. Isn’t it time to put American lives over spineless invertebrates-human and otherwise?

Posted in: Enviro-nitwits

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