Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Natural Resources Defense Council v. Winter

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20063
Nos. No. 08-55054, (9th Cir., 02/19/2008) motion to stay injunction denied

The Ninth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction prohibiting the U.S. Navy from conducting high-intensity, mid-frequency sonar use for training exercises off the coast of California. The environmental group challenging the Navy's use of sonar has shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits, as well as the possibility of irreparable injury if relief is not granted. The group also demonstrated that the balance of hardships tips in their favor in light of the preliminary injunction’s narrowly tailored mitigation measures which provide that the Navy’s sonar exercises may proceed as planned if conducted under circumstances that provide satisfactory safeguards for the protection of the environment. Finally, the public interest is advanced by a preliminary injunction that imposes adequate mitigation measures. The lower court neither relied on erroneous legal premises nor abused its discretion in reaching these conclusions. Nor did the lower court abuse its discretion or rely on an erroneous legal premise in determining that the Council of Environmental Quality violated the National Environmental Policy Act and its implementing regulations when it concluded that the Navy could continue to use sonar despite the preliminary injunction based on a broad interpretation of the term “emergency circumstances.”

[Prior decision in this litigation can be found at 37 ELR 20229, 37 ELR 20283, 38 ELR 20012, and 38 ELR 20057.]