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Judge dismisses Vieques lawsuit

A US federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Puerto Rico to stop the US government from resuming Navy bombing exercises on the territory's island of Vieques.
Puerto Rico filed its complaint last year after Governor Sila Calderon signed a law banning loud noises along the island's shores.

But on Wednesday US District Court Judge Gladys Kessler said she must dismiss Puerto Rico's case "for lack of subject matter jurisdiction".

Puerto Rico's Justice Secretary Anabelle Rodriguez vowed to appeal the decision saying, "we think the decision is erroneous".

- Health concerns

Puerto Rico's case was based on the US Noise Control Act of 1972, which allows US territories to set noise-control laws.

But Judge Kessler said that while the political and policy issues surrounding the case were complex, "the legal issue, in contrast, is simple and straightforward".

The federal Noise Control Act "does not provide plaintiff a cause of action to sue in federal district court for the violations alleged," she said.

The US Navy has used Vieques island for bombing practice for more than six decades, saying it is vital to military training.

But the accidental killing of a civilian guard by a stray bomb in 1999 sparked widespread protests by local residents.

And anti-US protesters also say the navy bombing exercises damage Vieques residents' health and the environment.
 
 

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