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Weekly Update Volume 32, Issue 15

05/20/2002

LITIGATION

Note: The cases listed are available from the ELR Document Service.

CONTRACT LAW, TORT LAW, ACTUAL NOTICE, SERVITUDES, PIPELINES:

The Fifth Circuit reversed a district court grant of summary judgment to two pipeline companies that had been sued by a Louisiana school district that owned the marsh land in which the companies' pipelines were laid. The school district sued the companies under contract and tort law alleging that failure to maintain the canals in which the pipelines were laid caused erosion that threatened to turn the marsh land into open water. The district court held that the contracts that granted the companies a servitude over the district's land did not require the companies to maintain the canals, that the companies' conduct did not amount to a continuous violation, and that prescription barred the district's other tort theories. The district court properly found that the companies' servitude contracts did not impose an express duty to maintain the canals as to prevent erosion. However, liability releases in the contracts applied only to construction of the canals, not to damages from continued use of the canals, and whether erosion was contemplated within the contracts is ambiguous. In such cases, state servitude law requires application of state property law. State law prohibits dominant estate owners--in this case the companies--from aggravating the servient estate. Whether and to what extent the companies' use of the canals caused the deterioration of the district's property and aggravated the servitude is currently unknown. Consequently, the district court should not have granted summary judgment to the companies on this point. Moreover, if on remand, the companies are found to have a duty not to aggravate the servient estate, prescription may apply to available damages, but it is unclear whether prescription applies after 1 year or after 10 years. Thus, on remand, the court must determine the prescription period. In addition, on the district's tort claims, the district court lacked any evidence that the district had actual notice of the damage to its servitudes, and the district court did not apply the appropriate legal standard for constructive notice of the damage. Thus, the district court improperly granted summary judgment to the companies on the issue of whether prescription barred the district's tort claims. Further, genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether the companies' actions involved a continuing tort. Terrebonne Parish School Board v. Columbia Gulf Transmission Co., No 01-30131 (5th Cir. May 10, 2002) (21 pp.).

STANDING, FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAY ACT (FAHA), NEPA, SUPREMACY CLUASE:

A district court held that the owner of a retail development failed to bring an adequate Supremacy Clause claim against a county and lacked standing to bring FAHA and NEPA actions against the Secretary of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration (FHwA) for failure to prevent the county from approving the construction of a planned retail development that would allegedly create traffic failure on a federal highway and a nearby state road. The owner alleged that the county knew that the planned development would create traffic failure, but approved it in hope that a new highway access would be approved for the planned development. However, in its FAHA and NEPA suits against the federal defendants, the owner failed to allege a judicially recognizable injury-in-fact necessary for standing. The owner alleged a procedural injury due to the federal defendants' failure to comply with NEPA and the FAHA. A sufficient procedural injury must be based on a specific particularized injury, but the owner failed to demonstrate such an injury. Further, the owner did not qualify for organizational standing through the assertion of injury to employees and shoppers at its development from the alleged traffic failure and environmental impacts caused by traffic congestion. The employees at the development are not the employees of the owner, and there is no precedent allowing for standing based on patrons traveling to and from an establishment. Thus, the interests of the employees and shoppers at the development are not pertinent to the owner's organizational purposes. In addition, the owner's Supremacy Clause claim against the county fails because neither the FAHA nor NEPA conflicts with the county's approval of the development. In fact, under the FAHA, local officials are encouraged to engage in planning and zoning that does not modify a federal highway. The county did not modify the federal highway, and, likewise, no major federal action occurred triggering NEPA. Taubman Realty Group Limited Partnership v. Mineta, No. CIV.A. 3:02CV2 (E.D. Va. May 3, 2002) (Payne, J.) (23 pp.).

CERCLA, RCRA, PARENT-SUBSIDIARY LIABILITY:

A district court held that a corporation was not entitled to summary judgment on CERCLA and RCRA claims brought against it by property owners that neighbored the corporation and its subsidiary corporation. The owners alleged that trichloroethylene (TCE) leakage from the subsidiary corporation contaminated the soil, groundwater, and domestic well water for their houses. The corporation argued that it could not be held liable under CERCLA and RCRA for the actions of its subsidiary. However, under United States v. Bestfoods, 524 US 51, 28 ELR 21225 (1998), a parent can be held liable for a corporate subsidiary's liability if the parent manages, directs, or conducts operations specifically related to pollution, operations having to do with the leakage or disposal or hazardous waste, or decisions about compliance with environmental matters. Here, the corporation received all TCE invoices from the subsidiary's TCE purchases, it fired the subsidiary's environmental consultant, advised the subsidiary on the TCE issues, managed the subsidiary's TCE insurance policies, had representatives present when the subsidiary informed EPA of the TCE contamination, and approved the subsidiary's settlement with a neighbor. Moreover, the president of the subsidiary had no knowledge of who hired the subsidiary's environmental manager. This information meets the owners' burden of creating a genuine issue of material fact as to the corporation's liability as an operator under CERCLA and RCRA. In addition, to prove the corporation is liable as a CERCLA and RCRA owner of the subsidiary, the corporate veil must be pierced. The owners present numerous facts sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact on this issue, including, among other facts, the subsidiary president's lack of knowledge as to who hired corporate officers, the subsidiary's lack of a checking account, the payment of the subsidiary's payroll by the corporation, lack of board of directors meetings by the subsidiary, and the subsidiary's failure to prepare its own financial assessments. LeClercq v. Lockformer Co., No. 00 C 7164 (N.D. Ill. May 6, 2002) (Leinenweber, J.) (13 pp.).

CERCLA, GROUNDWATER CONTAMINATION:

A district court held that the subsidiary of a corporation is the source of trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination of the groundwater of a class of neighboring property owners suing the subsidiary and the corporation under CERCLA, RCRA, and the common law. From 1969 to 2001, 90,000 gallons of TCE were delivered to the subsidiary, and neither the subsidiary nor the corporation dispute the fact that the subsidiary released TCE into the soil. Moreover, substantial evidence indicates that the TCE releases by the subsidiary migrated in a southerly direction toward the owners' class area. Further, the subsidiary provides only a mere scintilla of evidence that the contamination did not flow toward the owners' class area. Similarly, other evidence offered by the subsidiary and the corporation is easily discredited. Presented with substantial evidence of the TCE in the class area, and no substantial evidence to support the subsidiary's and the corporation's hypothesis of other TCE sources, no reasonable jury could find that the subsidiary is not the source of the TCE. Therefore, summary judgment is granted to the owners on this issue. LeClercq v. Lockformer Co., No. 00 C 7164 (ND Ill. May 6, 2002) (Leinenweber, J.) (11 pp.).

CLASS ACTION, NUISANCE, CERCLA, RCRA:

A district court grants in part and denies in part summary judgment motions by a corporation being sued by neighboring property owners who allege that trichloroethylene (TCE) from the corporation's subsidiary contaminated their soil, groundwater, and domestic water supplies. Although the property of some of the property owners has yet to test positive for TCE, the court cannot grant summary judgment to the corporation on the claims of the non-impacted members of the class. The neighbors offered evidence that the TCE contamination would contaminate certain wells in the future causing the non-impacted neighbors to incur response costs, and the corporation offered no evidence to rebut this assertion. Likewise, the corporation's motion to modify the class to remove the non-impacted neighbors must be denied since the potential exists for future contamination of their property. Moreover, the neighbors' CERCLA claim is not barred due to their failure to comply with the NCP. Although permanent solutions to the contamination would definitely be contingent on NCP compliance, the actions at issue include the costs of bottled water and filtration systems. These actions are more akin to preliminary emergency costs associated with site investigation and monitoring and, consequently, the corporation is not entitled to summary judgment. Further, the neighbors need not establish a physical invasion of their property that is perceptible to the senses in order to prevail on their private nuisance claims against the corporation. The neighbors' property has certainly been invaded by a substance that interferes with the use and enjoyment of their homes, and the fact that the TCE is not readily perceptible to the senses is irrelevant to the invasion. However, the neighbors improperly pleaded their allegation of a RCRA §6972(a)(1)(A) claim for failure to comply with the corrective standards of 40 C.F.R. §280. 40 C.F.R. §280 applies to USTs, and the corporation did not possess a UST. Similarly, the neighbors' RCRA §6972(a)(1)(B) claim is barred because the state of Illinois has filed an identical action in state court, and the state action bars the private action. LeClercq v. Lockformer Co., No. 00 C 7164 (ND Ill. May 6, 2002) (Leinenweber, J.) (12 p.).

CERCLA, RESPONSE COSTS, DIVISIBILITY:

A district court holds that a company failed to meet its burden of proving the divisibility of response costs at a New Jersey Superfund site and, thus, is responsible for all of the response costs associated with one phase of remediation at the site. The company argued that the response costs are divisible because it only delivered lead waste to the site and lead waste is incapable of producing the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contaminated the site's groundwater. Although the company's divisibility argument possesses some merit, EPA has withdrawn all costs that appear to be potentially divisible. The Agency devised two different remedies for the site, one that addressed the soil and sludge contamination and another that addressed the groundwater contamination. The costs sought from the company all address soil and sludge response costs, which were focused on the investigation, design, and remediation of lead waste produced by the company. Further, the company does not point to any specific costs that are arguably divisible. Instead, the company makes generalized assertions concerning the fact that its waste stream is unique and non-volatile. However, EPA's response costs for the soil and sludge were directed toward lead decontamination, and the mere presence of the company's lead slurry required special remedial measures. Consequently, the company is responsible for the $6,766,744 in response costs for the soil and sludge remedy, and EPA is granted summary judgment of the issue of divisibility. United States v. Spaulding Composites Co., No. 94-5451 (DMC) (D.N.J. May 10, 2002) (Cavanaugh, J.) (10 pp.).

Copyright© 2002, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC All rights reserved

THE FEDERAL AGENCIES

Note: Citations below are to the Federal Register.

AIR:

  • EPA proposed NESHAPs for engine test cells/stands. 67 FR 34547 (5/14/02).

MINING:

  • OSM issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking and seeks comments on what types of financial guarantees will best ensure adequate funding for the treatment of unanticipated long-term pollutional discharges, including acid or toxic mine drainage, that develop as a result of surface coal mining operations. 67 FR 35070 (5/17/02).

RULEMAKING:

  • The federal agencies issued their semiannual regulatory agendas providing specific information on the status of regulations under development and revision. Rulemaking actions are grouped according to prerulemaking, proposed rules, final rules, long-term actions, and rulemaking actions completed since the December 2001 agenda. (5/13/02).

SMCRA PROGRAM APPROVALS:

  • OSM approved an amendment to Arkansas' abandonded mine land reclamation plan and regulatory program under SMCRA. 67 FR 35025 (5/17/02).
  • OSM approved an amendment to Illinois' regulatory program under SMCRA. 67 FR 35029 (5/17/02).
  • OSM also proposed to approve an amendment to Illinois' regulatory program under SMCRA. 67 FR 35073 (5/17/02).
  • OSM proposed to approve an amendment to Utah's regulatory program under SMCRA. 67 FR 35077 (5/17/02).
  • OSM withdrew its November 7, 2001, proposal to approve revisions to Ohio's regulatory program under SMCRA. 67 FR 35076 (5/17/02).

TRANSPORTATION:

  • DOT's Research and Special Programs Administration issued an advisory guidance to remind shippers of hazardous materials in commerce, particularly by aircraft, of their responsibilities to properly identify, package, and communicate the hazards of those materials in conformance with the hazardous materials regulations. 67 FR 31974 (5/13/02).

WATER QUALITY:

  • EPA announced the availability of its proposed Policy on Water Quality Trading for comment. 67 FR 34709 (5/15/02).
  • EPA announced the availability for comment of two draft data standards: Draft Data Standard for Reporting Water Quality Results for Chemical and Microbiological Analytes and Draft Data Standard for Exchange of Tribal Identifier Information. 67 FR 34448 (5/14/02).

WILDLIFE:

  • The National Marine Fisheries Service is extending for a 2-week period the previous closure of all inshore and offshore waters 10 nautical miles seaward of the COLREGS demarcation line within the Leatherback Conservation Zone to fishing by shrimp trawlers required to have a turtle excluder device (TED) installed in each net that is rigged for fishing, unless the TED has an escape opening large enough to exclude leatherback turtles. 67 FR 34622 (5/15/02).

DOJ NOTICES OF SETTLEMENTS:

  • United States v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, Maryland, No. 02-1524 JFM (D. Md. Apr. 26, 2002). In connection with the unpermitted discharges of sewage from its sanitary sewer system, a settling CWA defendant must undertake construction projects to help ensure that its collection system has adequate capacity to handle wastewater flows, must undertake a comprehensive investigation of its collection system to identify and correct deficiencies, must pay a $600,000 civil penalty, and must perform a supplemental environmental project of $2.7 million. 67 FR 34953 (5/16/02).
  • United States v. Interstate Power & Light Co., No. CO2-3030-MWB (N.D. Iowa May 1, 2002). Settling CERCLA defendants must implement the EPA-selected remedy for the Mason City Coal Gasification Superfund site in Mason City, Iowa, must pay $23,678 in past U.S. response costs, and must pay EPA future oversight costs at the site. 67 FR 34953 (5/16/02).
  • United States v. Key Investment Co., No. 98-CV-5162 (E.D. Pa. May 3, 2002). Settling CERCLA defendants must pay $20,000 in past U.S. response costs incurred at the North Penn Area Six Superfund site adjacent to and within Lansdale, Pennsylvania. 67 FR 34954 (5/16/02).
  • United States v. Town of Winchendon, Massachusetts, No. 02-10777 (D. Mass. Apr. 30, 2002). In connection with violations in the operation of its publicly owned treatment works (POTW) and sewer system, a settling CWA defendant must pay a $45,000 civil penalty and must upgrade and repair its POTW and sewer system. 67 FR 34954 (5/16/02).

Copyright© 2002, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC All rights reserved. 

THE CONGRESS

CHAMBER ACTION

  • H.R. 2818 (land conveyance), which would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to convey certain public land within the Sand Mountain Wilderness Study Area in Idaho to resolve an occupancy encroachment dating back to 1971, was passed by the House. 148 Cong. Rec. H2125 (daily ed. May 7, 2002).
  • H.R. 1370 (National Wildlife Refuge System), which would amend the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide for maintenance and repair of buildings and properties located on lands in the National Wildlife Refuge System by lessees of such facilities, was passed by the House. 148 Cong. Rec. H2394 (daily ed. May 14, 2002). The bill would also establish requirements for the award of concessions in the National Wildlife Refuge System and would provide for maintenance and repair of properties located in the System by concessionaires authorized to use such properties.
  • H.R. 1925 (Waco Mammoth Site Area), which would direct the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of designating the Waco Mammoth Site Area in Waco, Texas, as a unit of the National Park System, was passed by the House. 148 Cong. Rec. H2398 (daily ed. May 14, 2002).
  • H.R. 2051 (plant genome and gene expression), which would provide for the establishment of regional plant genome and gene expression research and development centers, was passed by the House. 148 Cong. Rec. H2399 (daily ed. May 14, 2002). The bill would also develop international research partnerships for the advancement of plant biotechnology in the developing world.
  • H.R. 3694 (highways), which would provide for highway infrastructure investment at the guaranteed funding level contained in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, was passed by the House. 148 Cong. Rec. H2406 (daily ed. May 14, 2002).
  • H.R. 4044 (nutria eradication), which would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide assistance to Maryland and Louisiana for implementation of a program to eradicate nutria and restore marshland damaged by nutria, was passed by the House. 148 Cong. Rec. H2396 (daily ed. May 14, 2002).

COMMITTEE ACTION

  • H.R. 2643 (Fort Clatsop National Memorial) was reported by the House Committee on Resources. H. Rep. No. 107-456 (daily ed. My 14, 2002). The bill would authorize the acquisition of additional lands for inclusion in the Fort Clatsop National Memorial in Oregon.

BILLS INTRODUCED

  • S. 2507 (Smith, R-N.H.) (TSCA; FIFRA) would amend TSCA and FIFRA to implement the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, the Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants to the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution, and the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade. 148 Cong. Rec. S4281 (daily ed. May 13, 2002). The bill was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
  • S. 2510 (Burns, R-Mont.) (land donation; mineral rights) would authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to accept the donation of certain lands previously disposed of from the public domain, together with certain mineral rights on federal land, in the Mineral Hill-Crevice Mountain Mining District in Montana, to be returned to the United States for management as part of the national public lands and forests. 148 Cong. Rec. S4330 (daily ed. May 14, 2002). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
  • S. 2518 (Hagel, R-Neb.) (Nebraska national forests) would authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to enter into cooperative agreements and contracts with the Nebraska State Forester to carry out watershed restoration and protection activities on National Forest System land in Nebraska. 148 Cong. Rec. S4387 (daily ed. May 15, 2002). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
  • S. 2519 (Dodd, R-Conn.) (national parks) would direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study of Coltsville in Connecticut for potential inclusion in the National Park System. 148 Cong. Rec. S4387 (daily ed. May 15, 2002). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. A companion bill, H.R. 4736, was introduced in the House this period.
  • S. 2523 (Allard, R-Colo.) (Rocky Flats) would make it more likely that the cleanup and closure of the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site will be completed on or before December 15, 2006. 148 Cong. Rec. S4387 (daily ed. May 15, 2002). The bill was referred to the Committee on Armed Services. A companion bill, H.R. 4744, was introduced in the House this period.
  • S. 2528 (Domenici, R-N.M.) (drought) would establish a National Drought Council within the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to improve national drought preparedness, mitigation, and response efforts. 148 Cong. Rec. S4492 (daily ed. May 16, 2002). The bill was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
  • H.R. 4736 (Larson, D-Conn.) (national parks) would direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study of Coltsville in Connecticut for potential inclusion in the National Park System. 148 Cong. Rec. H2511 (daily ed. May 15, 2002). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources. A companion bill, S. 2519, was introduced in the Senate this period.
  • H.R. 4739 (Doggett, D-Tex.) (water resources) would amend the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to participate in the design, planning, and construction of a project to reclaim and reuse wastewater within and outside of the service area of the City of Austin Water and Wastewater Utility, Texas. 148 Cong. Rec. H2511 (daily ed. May 15, 2002). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources.
  • H.R. 4740 (Kind, D-Wis.) (chronic wasting disease) would require the Secretary of the Interior to establish a national research program to address the animal disease known as chronic wasting disease, which is afflicting wild deer and elk herds in many States. 148 Cong. Rec. H2511 (daily ed. May 15, 2002). The bill was referred to the Committees on Resources, and Agriculture.
  • H.R. 4744 (Udall, D-Colo.) (Rocky Flats) would make it more likely that the cleanup and closure of the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site will be completed on or before December 15, 2006. 148 Cong. Rec. H2511 (daily ed. May 15, 2002). The bill was referred to the Committees on Armed Services, and Energy and Commerce. A companion bill, S. 2523, was introduced in the Senate this period.
  • H.R. 4747 (Wilson, R-S.C.) (national parks) would direct the Secretary of the Interior to study certain sites in the historic district of Beaufort, South Carolina, relating to the Reconstruction Era to assess the suitability and feasibility of designating the study area as a unit of the National Park System. 148 Cong. Rec. H2511 (daily ed. May 15, 2002). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources.
  • H.R. 4748 (Rahall, D-W. Va.) (mining; public lands) would modify the requirements applicable to locatable minerals on public domain lands, consistent with the principles of self-initiation of mining claims. 148 Cong. Rec. H2606 (daily ed. May 16, 2002). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources.
  • H.R. 4749 (Gilchrest, R-Md.) (Magnuson-Stevens Act) would reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. 148 Cong. Rec. H2607 (daily ed. May 16, 2002). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources
  • H.R. 4750 (Farr, D-Cal.) (wilderness) would designate certain lands in California as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System. 148 Cong. Rec. H2607 (daily ed. May 16, 2002). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources.
  • H.R. 4754 (Hastings, R-Wash.) (drought) would establish a National Drought Council within the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to improve national drought preparedness, mitigation, and response efforts. 148 Cong. Rec. H2607 (daily ed. May 16, 2002). The bill was referred to the Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Agriculture, and Resources.
  • H.R. 4766 (Thune, R-S.D.) (Black Hills National Forest) would declare the existence of a fire risk emergency for the Beaver Park Roadless Area and Norbeck Wildlife Preserve of the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota and would direct the Secretary of Agriculture to endeavor to use expedited alternative processes to address forest health conditions in these areas. 148 Cong. Rec. H2607 (daily ed. May 16, 2002). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources.
  • H.R. 4769 (Watkins, R-Okla.) (land conveyance) would direct the Secretary of the Army to convey a parcel of land located in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, to the Choctaw Nation; to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Copyright© 2002, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC All rights reserved. 

IN THE STATES

To see archived versions of State UPDATE, please go to the State UPDATE section of the UPDATE archive.

Copyright© 2002, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC All rights reserved.

INTERNATIONAL

GENERAL

  • China's Deputy State Forestry Administrator, Lei Jiafu, announced an ambitious forestry program. The 10-year, $12 billion program aims to reforest or create new forests on 170,000 square miles of land, through 6 initiatives, including reforesting hillsides and creating protected grasslands and natures reserves for pandas, Tibetan antelopes, and rare orchids. Other actions include increasing forest lands around large urban areas such as Beijing to reduce the adverse effects from sandstorms, and reforesting hills to reduce runoff into the Yangtze River. Lei said he expects that 82 million acres of commercial tree plantations will be created during the next 10 to 15 years.
  • The Secretariat of the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification held a conference in Beijing to discuss regional cooperation in combating desertification.
  • The Alliance of Small Island States met in Jamaica to discuss a variety of common environmental problems. See http://www.undp.org/dpa/pressrelease/
  • Five West African nations signed a memorandum of understanding on the Convention for
    the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals. Six of the eight marine turtle species live in African waters--loggerheads, green turtles, leatherbacks, hawksbills, Atlantic Ridleys, and olive Ridleys. All are declining in numbers. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1979000/1979976.stm
  • India and Bangladesh agreed to work together to help preserve the Sundarbans, a large mangrove forest that is the primary habitat of the Royal Bengal tiger. "We feel that such an ecosystem can be conserved only through a joint effort," said A.K. Raha, an Indian delegate. "Otherwise, what happens? An initiative in one country may have an adverse effect on the Sundarbans of the other side....This project has helped us come together and to think of managing it as a single ecosystem, if not fully, then at least on a partial level." See http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/English/world/south_asia/newsid_1983000/1983323.stm

CLIMATE CHANGE

  • Harlan Watson, the U.S.'s chief climate change negotiator, said in Europe that the US will not reconsider its position on ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and that it will not participate in talks on the 2005 stage of Kyoto implementation. "We want no part of that . . . The next time we take stock on climate change has been set by the president at 2012," he said. "The U.S. has a multi-trillion dollar infrastructure, with coal-fired stations with a 40- to 50-year lifespan," he argued. "You cannot come in with a wrecking ball and turn that around and replace it with new technologies. We just do not have the capital to do that. You do not want to throw everything over at once and trash your economy." See http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT3LCYLO61D
  • Canada's Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, told the European Union (EU) that Canada will not ratify the Kyoto Protocol unless it is given credits, not only for using "carbon sinks," but also for production and sale to the U.S. of cleaner burning fuels such as natural gas. "It will be very useful for us to have these credits," Chrétien said. "For us, we're not in a position to ratify until some of these elements are clarified." Such credits would apparently alone account for 30% of the reductions that would otherwise be required. He argued that Canada is in "a unique situation. We are next to the Americans. We are the only one in the position to export to a non-signing country that pollutes a lot." He suggested that Canadian ratification might be the "spark" that leads the U.S. to change its mind. "We'd like to be able to sign, and if we were to sign, it would put pressure on the Americans to move in that direction too." Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar, current president of the EU, said the request would "have to be studied and have to be worked on." "But we have listened very gladly to a very complete presentation from Mr. Chrétien on this topic." At the same time, the Canadian government leaked a preliminary plan for Kyoto implementation, which did not include the "made-in-Canada" approach favored by a number of provincial leaders.
  • New Zealand forest owners and wood processors, meeting with Energy Minister Pete Hodgson, said they objected to the government's plan to take ownership of carbon sink credits. Forest Industries Council chief executive James Griffiths said that he and others "voiced our significant concern about the forest management implications of the Government retaining the value of carbon in the forests, and the potential conflicts that might cause. What we are talking about is a public asset being created from a private forestry estate."

Copyright© 2002, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC All rights reserved. 

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