July 3, 2006

Judge Temporarily Bars Navy Use of Sonar

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday barring the Navy from using a type of sonar, allegedly harmful to marine mammals, during a Pacific warfare exercise scheduled to begin this week.

The order comes three days after the Navy obtained a six-month national defense exemption from the Defense Department allowing it to use "mid-frequency active sonar."

Environmental groups had sued to stop the sonar use during the exercises off Hawaii. The sonar portion of the war games was set to start Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper wrote in her order that the plaintiffs "have shown a possibility that RIMPAC 2006 will kill, injure, and disturb many marine species, including marine mammals, in waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands."