Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Cetacean Community v. Bush

ELR Citation: 34 ELR 20120
Nos. No. 03-15866, (9th Cir., 10/20/2004)

The Ninth Circuit held that the world's cetaceans--whales, dolphins, and porpoises--do not have standing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), or the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to challenge the U.S. Navy's use of sonar during wartime conditions. The ESA authorizes "persons" to sue to protect animals whenever those animals are endangered or threatened. Animals are not authorized to sue in their own names to protect themselves. And because the MMPA and NEPA do not explicitly grant any person or entity standing to enforce those statutes, one must instead rely on the APA for standing purposes. But the APA does not define "person" to include animals.