clear
Thursday September 3rd, 2015 5:28PM

Court clears Navy to build undersea training range

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) - A federal appeals court on Tuesday cleared the way for the Navy to build a $100 million undersea training range off Georgia and Florida.

The Southern Environmental Law Center, which represents about a dozen conservation groups, had challenged the Navy's plans, saying war games in that area would pose a risk to right whales, which migrate each winter to the coasts of Georgia and Florida to give birth to their calves. Experts say only about 400 of the whales remain, and each death brings the species a significant step closer to extinction.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday issued an opinion upholding a lower court ruling that said the Navy had appropriately studied whether the location of the range posed a risk to whales. The three-judge panel also agreed that further studies to determine whether certain activities on the range might be harmful to endangered animals could be completed later.

"We're disappointed that the court endorsed construction of a $127 million training range without full consideration of its impacts on the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale and its only known calving grounds," Catherine Wannamaker, senior attorney at the law center, said of the 11th Circuit's ruling.

The conservationists sued in 2010, hoping to halt the Navy's plans to install a web of cables on the ocean floor about 50 miles offshore to allow sailors from nearby bases in both Georgia and Florida to train with a mix of submarines, surface ships and aircraft. The undersea infrastructure would include about 300 sensors covering an area of about 500 square miles.

The Navy has said it wants to begin installation of the undersea range next year and has agreed to suspend construction during the calving season from November to April. However, the military refused a request to halt training at the site during the same months, saying it would undermine readiness. The lower court judge had ruled the Navy considered and ``rationally rejected'' the precautions requested by conservationists.

After the lower court ruling in September 2012, the Navy said evaluations conducted since the lawsuit was filed only reinforced its conclusion that right whales would be at minimal risk.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
The Latest: Attorney for couples says defiant Kentucky clerk holds the keys to her jail cell
ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) — The latest on the county clerk in Kentucky who has refused to issue marriage licenses since the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage (all times local):4:20 p.m.An attorney for the...
4:29PM ( 59 minutes ago )
Trump signs GOP loyalty pledge to back party's 2016 nominee, forego potential third-party bid
WASHINGTON (AP) — Presidential candidate Donald Trump ruled out the prospect of a third-party White House bid Thursday and vowed to support the Republican Party's nominee — whoever it may be.The billi...
3:59PM ( 1 hour ago )
Judge nixes 4-game 'Deflategate' suspension for Tom Brady; NFL quickly appeals to 2nd Circuit
NEW YORK (AP) — Tom Brady learned Thursday he will start the season on the field after a judge lifted the league's four-game suspension of the star quarterback for a scandal over deflated footballs, s...
3:45PM ( 1 hour ago )
College Board reports lower SAT scores, most test-takers missing college-ready benchmark
WASHINGTON (AP) — Student performance on the SAT college entrance exam is lagging, continuing a mostly downward trend over the last five years.The College Board says in a report that a record number o...
8:14AM ( 9 hours ago )
1 Marine killed, 9 others hurt in helicopter hard landing at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (AP) — One Marine has been killed and 9 others were hurt when a helicopter made a hard landing at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter came down hard...
7:41AM ( 9 hours ago )