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SEATTLE — A federal judge has set an August deadline for the National Marine Fisheries Service to reassess how it will protect whales and other ocean life from the U.S. Navy’s expanded use of sonar in training exercises off the West Coast.
U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Nandor Vadas said in a ruling Tuesday that officials must ensure that the Navy’s training exercises comply with the federal Endangered Species Act by Aug. 1.
In September, Vadas ruled that officials failed to consider the best available scientific data when it approved permits for the Navy in 2012. He also said the agency should consider the long-term effects of the ongoing activities on whales and other marine life.
The permits had authorized a five-year Navy plan for operations in the Northwest Training Range Complex. That area stretches from Northern California to the Canadian border.