The US Navy's findings for the Northern Marianas Islands military training and testing area could be vulnerable to a legal challenge.
Earlier this year, a Hawaiian court found the National Marine Fisheries Service's approval of Navy sonar, deep-sea detonation, and other training in the Hawaii and Southern California range illegal.
The findings were found to be "arbitrary and capricious" in a 66-page court ruling that sided with the Conservation Council for Hawaii and the National Resources Defense Council, the groups suing the Service.
Our correspondent in CNMI says the court ruling sets a precedent for challenges to the impending go-ahead for similar training in the CNMI and the potential authorisation by the fisheries service.
The ruling said the plans failed to, among others, address a true "no action" training alternative, failed to analyse alternatives with less environmental harm, and failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act.