Oct. 30, 2006: The Navy submits plans for 14 training exercises off Southern California. The California Coastal Commission begins review under the Coastal Zone Management Act.

Jan. 10, 2007: The Coastal Commission instructs the Navy to take additional steps to protect marine mammals when using mid-frequency active sonar.

Feb. 12, 2007: The Navy declines to include additional safeguards.

March 22, 2007: The Coastal Commission and environmental groups file lawsuits.

Aug. 7, 2007: U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper issues a preliminary injunction, banning the Navy from using mid-frequency sonar in upcoming exercises until the court can sort out the issues.

Aug. 31, 2007: U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sets aside the injunction, pending appeal.

Nov. 13, 2007: Appellate judges reinstate the injunction, but instruct Judge Cooper to spell out specific measures the Navy must take so it can hold the exercises.

Jan. 3, 2008: Judge Cooper's narrowed injunction bans sonar use within 12 nautical miles of the coast and requires extensive monitoring for marine mammals and prompt shutdown of sonar if whales or other mammals come within 2,200 yards.

Jan. 15: President Bush and the White House Council on Environmental Quality move to exempt the Navy's exercises from the Coastal Zone Management Act and the National Environmental Protection Act. Justice Department lawyers file an emergency motion with U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, asking it to lift the injunction against the Navy exercises.

Jan. 16: The appeals court sends case back to lower court.

Source: Times staff reports