Groups sue over Navy sonar use off Northwest

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SEATTLE (AP) — A group of conservationists and Indian tribes is suing over the Navy’s expanded use of sonar in training exercises off the Washington, Oregon and California coasts, saying the noise can harass and kill whales and other marine life.

In a lawsuit being filed Thursday, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice and other groups claim the National Marine Fisheries Service was wrong to approve the Navy’s plan for the expanded training. They say the regulators should have considered the effects repeated sonar use can have on those species over many years.

They want certain restrictions on where and when the Navy can conduct sonar and other loud activities to protect orcas, humpbacks and other marine mammals.

Instead, the Navy is only required to look around and see if whales are present before they conduct the training.