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Appeals court revives suit over U.S. military base in Japan

SAN FRANCISCO >> A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit that seeks to block construction of a U.S. military base in Okinawa, Japan.

The suit by the Center for Biological Diversity argues that U.S. officials failed to adequately consider the base’s effects on the Okinawa dugong, an endangered marine mammal that resembles a manatee.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the center had authority to challenge the government’s evaluation of the impact on the dugong. A three-judge panel of the court also said the center’s request for an injunction blocking the project did not raise political questions that were beyond judicial review.

The 9th Circuit sent the case back to a district court for further proceedings.

Emails to the defense and justice departments were not immediately returned.

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