“Bush Exempts Navy From Environmental Law”

by Walter Olson on January 17, 2008

After years of wrangling in the Ninth Circuit and lower courts over environmentalist efforts to block Navy anti-sub sonar exercises on the grounds that they disturb marine mammals, the issue may be resolved by a Presidential assertion of national security interest. (Pauline Jelinek, AP/Google, Jan. 16). Earlier coverage here. More: NYTimes.

{ 9 comments }

1 James 01.17.08 at 7:41 am

About freaking time.

2 Richard Nieporent 01.17.08 at 9:13 am

Critics contend sonar has harmful effects on whales, possibly by damaging their hearing, and other marine mammals worldwide.

Yes but thanks to ADA we are now going to have to provide sign language interpreters to all of those deaf whales.

3 Anonymous Attorney 01.17.08 at 11:39 am

I love them critters, I do. But my favorite is the one I drop off at daycare everyday. Therefore, Navy wins.

4 Igor 01.17.08 at 12:48 pm

Critics can contend about the “harmful effects” on the marine life all they like… where’s the proof?

Igor

5 matt 01.17.08 at 1:42 pm

all im going to say is this whales and dolphins and other sea creatures know more about sonar than humans probably ever will

6 Bill Poser 01.17.08 at 3:24 pm

Unless I’ve missed it, none of the news accounts explains the basis for Bush’s authority to do this. Does the statute have an exemption clause, as some do, allowing the President to create exemptions in specific cases on certifying such-and-such? Or is Bush asserting a possibly unconstitutional authority to ignore the law?

7 Gino 01.17.08 at 6:04 pm

I’m guessing that it’s the President’s role as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, coupled with general separation of powers doctrine. A better question might be: If it’s a statute we’re talking about here, where in the Constitution does it say that Congress can regulate whales and dolphins? Is it the general welfare clause or the commerce clause?

Oh, don’t mind me. I’m a Ron Paul fan.

8 Bill Poser 01.17.08 at 7:38 pm

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 14 gives Congress the power “To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces”, so I would say that it is clear that Congress has the power to restrict the way in which the armed forces performs tests. “Separation of Powers” does not give the Executive the power to do whatever it pleases. Environmental regulation is arguably justified under the power of Congress to “provide for …the general welfare” and in certain cases, possibly including the whales, the power to “define and punish … offences against the law of nations”.

9 Ted 01.17.08 at 8:48 pm

Bill Poser asks an excellent question that I, in a fit of procrastination, have answered in a new post.

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