Judge wants feds to reassess Navy sonar permits

SEATTLE — A judge is requiring federal regulators to reassess permits that allow the Navy’s expanded use of sonar in training exercises off the West Coast.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Nandor Vadas wrote in a ruling Wednesday that the National Marine Fisheries Service failed to consider the best available scientific data for the 2012 authorization. The parties are now discussing the timing and scope of how the permitting reassessment.

The permits had authorized a five-year Navy plan for operations in the Northwest Training Range Complex. That area stretches from the waters off Mendocino County in California to the Canadian border.

A spokeswoman for the fisheries service said the agency hadn’t had a chance to review the ruling. A Navy spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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