The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 16, 2008

Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Commerce

SUBJECT: Presidential Exemption from the Coastal Zone Management Act

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 1456(c)(1)(B) of title 16, United States Code, and to ensure effective and timely training of the United States naval forces in anti-submarine warfare using mid-frequency active sonar:

I hereby exempt from compliance with the requirements of section 1456(c)(1)(A) of title 16 (section 307(c)(1)(A) of the Coastal Zone Management Act) those elements of the Department of the Navy's anti-submarine warfare training during Southern California Operating Area Composite Training Unit Exercises (COMPTUEX) and Joint Task Force Exercises (JTFEX) involving the use of mid-frequency active sonar. These exercises are more fully described in the Environmental Assessment/Overseas Environmental Assessment prepared for the Commander, United States Pacific Fleet, dated February 2007.

On January 3, 2008, as modified on January 10, 2008, the United States District Court for the Central District of California determined that the Navy's use of mid-frequency active sonar was not in compliance with section 1456(c)(1)(A), and issued an order that is appealable under section 1291 or 1292 of title 28, United States Code. On January 11, 2008, the Secretary of Commerce made a written request that the Navy be exempted from compliance with section 1456(c)(1)(A) in its use of mid-frequency active sonar during COMPTUEX and JTFEX. As part of that request, the Secretary of Commerce certified that mediation under section 1456(h) is not likely to result in the Navy's compliance with section 1456(c)(1)(A).

I hereby determine that the COMPTUEX and JTFEX, including the use of mid-frequency active sonar in these exercises, are in the paramount interest of the United States. Compliance with section 1456(c)(1)(A) would undermine the Navy's ability to conduct realistic training exercises that are necessary to ensure the combat effectiveness of carrier and expeditionary strike groups. This exemption will enable the Navy to train effectively and to certify carrier and expeditionary strike groups for deployment in support of world-wide operational and combat activities, which are essential to national security.


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