WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy and several plaintiffs, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Cetacean Society International, the League for Coastal Protection, the Ocean Futures Society, and Jean-Michel Cousteau, entered into a settlement agreement to resolve a worldwide challenge to the Navy's testing and training with mid-frequency active sonar.
The settlement essentially adopts the long range program for environmental analysis and research that the Navy undertook in August 2005, months before this lawsuit was originally filed. The Navy will continue to implement a variety of protective measures previously developed in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The agreement does not require any additional mitigation measures.
"The Navy is pleased that after more than three years of extensive litigation, this matter has been brought to an end on favorable terms," said Frank R. Jimenez, General Counsel of the Navy. "The Navy welcomes an approach that relies more upon scientific research than litigation."
The settlement agreement additionally highlights the Navy's investment program in marine mammal research - $26 million in fiscal year 2008. As part of the settlement, the Navy has agreed over the next three fiscal years to direct $14.75 million of its research dollars to marine mammal topics of mutual interest to the Navy and the plaintiffs.
This settlement reaffirms the Navy commitment to balancing its leadership role in environmental stewardship with its responsibility to protect the public interest in national security by preserving the ability to conduct realistic training.
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