[MARMAM] major court ruling on the MMPA

Jasny, Michael mjasny at nrdc.org
Mon Jul 18 08:22:16 PDT 2016


On Friday, the Ninth Circuit-the federal court of appeals that presides over much of the western United States-issued a ruling in NRDC v. Pritzker.  The case concerns the impacts of the U.S. Navy's SURTASS LFA system on marine mammals, and came to the Court on an appeal by NRDC and our co-plaintiffs.

We argued that NMFS had failed its duty under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to prescribe mitigation measures achieving the "least practicable impact" on marine mammals and their habitat.  The Court agreed with us and, in so doing, made a number of major rulings on the MMPA's mitigation standard.

In particular, the Court held that NMFS must ensure the least practicable impact on marine mammals "even if population levels are not threatened significantly."  It also held that protecting marine mammal habitat from Navy sonar is "of paramount importance" under the law, and that, where data on marine mammal distribution are limited, the agency is compelled to err on the side of overprotection rather than underprotection.

Please let me know if you'd like a copy of the opinion.  Best,

Michael jasny
Director, Marine Mammal Protection

4479 W. 5th Avenue
Vancouver, bc v6r1s4
T 604.736.9386
c 310.560.5536
mjasny at NRDC.ORG<mailto:mjasny at NRDC.ORG>

Please save paper.
Think before printing.

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