Claiming that the federal government failed to gauge the ecological impact of its own experiments, an environmental organization filed a lawsuit Friday in an attempt to shut down a Baja California seismic research project recently blamed for the death of two beaked whales.
The Center for Biological Diversity, based in Tucson and Idyllwild, filed the 16-page complaint against the National Science Foundation, which is paying for the research, in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. The environmental organization is hoping for a hearing Monday in front of U.S. Magistrate James Larson, and will seek a temporary restraining order to stop the research project, said Brendan Cummings, an attorney at the center.
"We want to move fast, because this is ongoing right now," Cummings said.
Curt Suplee, a National Science Foundation spokesman, said his agency cannot discuss litigation. Earlier this week, before the lawsuit was filed, he and several others said there is no direct evidence that the whales died because of the research project.
A group of marine scientists revealed this week that they recently discovered two dead beaked whales on the shore of Isla San Jose, an island north of La Paz off the southeast tip of Baja California. The whales were discovered by scientists vacationing nearby.