Environmental groups are asking a federal appeals court to overturn a judge's ruling that would allow the Navy to build an undersea training range close to waters where endangered right whales give birth each winter off the coasts of south Georgia and north Florida.
The Southern Environmental Law Center filed its appeal brief Wednesday with the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Its attorneys say the Navy committed to building the $100 million range, where both submarines and surface ships would train, before it completed required studies on whether operating the range would harm right whales and other endangered species.
A U.S. District Court judge's ruling in September agreed with the Navy that risks to right whales would be minimal.
The Navy wants to begin construction next year.