Well they wouldn't admit anything until somebody sued them. Go figure.. Report: Navy to limit sonar to protect whales Monday, October 13, 2003 Posted: 2:26 PM EDT (1826 GMT) http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/science/10/13/whales.sonar.ap/index.html SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- The Navy has agreed to limit its peacetime use of a new sonar system designed to detect enemy submarines, but which may also harm marine mammals and fish, an environmentalist group said. The Navy and the Natural Resources Defense Council, which sued the military on the issue, reached a legal settlement last week in which the Navy agreed to use the new system only in specific areas along the eastern seaboard of Asia, according to documents provided by the environmental group. The agreement must be approved by a federal magistrate to become permanent, but if implemented the deal would greatly restrict the Navy's original plan for the sonar system, which once was slated to be tested in most of the world's oceans. Navy officials familiar with the case could not immediately be reached for comment. Environmentalists say sonar systems endanger marine mammals and fish, especially whales. They point to a different system the Navy used in 2000, when at least 16 whales and two dolphins beached themselves on islands in the Bahamas. Eight whales died and scientists found hemorrhaging around their brains and ear bones, which could have been caused by exposure to loud noise. Last year the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups sued the Navy over the new system, seeking to restrict its use. U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth Laporte later issued a preliminary injunction restricting use of the system, and in a separate ruling ordered the environmentalists and the Navy to negotiate a final settlement. The new deal, which is the result of those negotiations, largely mirrors the restrictions imposed by Laporte's earlier injunction. Joel Reynolds, director of the Marine Mammal Protection Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council, welcomed the settlement. "This agreement safeguards both marine life and national security," Reynolds said in a statement. "It will prevent the needless injury, harassment, and death of countless whales, porpoises and fish, and yet allow the Navy to do what is necessary to defend our country." In addition to restricting the system to the eastern seaboard of Asia, the Navy also agreed to seasonal restrictions designed to protect whale migrations, and to avoid using the system near the coast. None of the restrictions applies during time of war.