SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico's governor challenged the federal government on Tuesday, saying that a federal lawsuit had been filed against the U.S. Navy to halt bombing exercises on Vieques island.
The U.S. Navy, which called the lawsuit a "grave development" in relations between the Navy and the U.S. territory, posted notices in Vieques to say that the maneuvers will resume Friday.
"The legal action that my government is taking responds directly to the need to ... look out for the health and security of all Puerto Ricans," said Gov. Sila Calderon, adding she regretted the government was forced to take legal action.
The lawsuit comes from an anti-noise bill passed by the local legislature that prohibits loud noises along the island's shores. The local law cites the Noise Control Act of 1972, which allows states, and in Puerto Rico's case, U.S. territories to set noise-control laws.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Washington, Calderon said. The plaintiffs are the Navy, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, acting Navy Secretary Robert Pirie and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark.
Calderon said she asked U.S. President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to permanently end the Navy exercises on Vieques. If they don't agree by Wednesday, the Puerto Rican government will seek a federal court injunction to stop this weekend's bombing, she said.