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Weekly Update Volume 34, Issue 10

04/12/2004

 LITIGATION

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

PITTMAN UNDERGROUND WATER ACT, VALUABLE MINERALS:

The US Supreme Court held that sand and gravel are not "valuable minerals" reserved to the United States in land grants issued under the Pittman Underground Water Act. The case arose from an action to quiet title to sand and gravel on a tract of land in Nevada. A district court held that the contested sand and gravel are "valuable minerals" reserved to the United States by the Pittman Act, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. The Supreme Court, however, reversed. Because the Pittman Act applied only to Nevada, the ultimate question is whether the state's sand and gravel were commonly regarded as “valuable minerals” in 1919. The Court determined that they were not. Sand and gravel are abundant throughout Nevada, they have no intrinsic value, and they were commercially worthless when the Act was passed in 1919. Rehnquist, C. J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which O’Connor, Scalia, and Kennedy, JJ., joined. Thomas, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which Breyer, J., joined. Stevens, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Souter and Ginsburg, JJ., Joined Bedroc Ltd. LLC v. United States, No. 02-1593 (US Mar. 31, 2004) (21 pp.).

CAA, TRANSPORTATION CONTROL MEASURES, PUBLIC TRANSIT:

The Ninth Circuit held that a local transportation control measure, adopted as part of California's SIP to attain federal air quality standards in the San Francisco Bay Area, does not impose an enforceable obligation on the local transportation commission to increase public transit ridership. A district court held that in addition to a four-step implementation schedule, the transportation control measure required the commission to increase public transit ridership by 15% over 1982-83 levels. Because the commission failed to increase public transit ridership, the court issued an injunction requiring the commission to do so. The 15% increase in public transit ridership, however, is merely an unenforceable target. Because the commission did not fall short with regard to the four-step implementation schedule, it did not violate the transportation control measure and the district court's injunction was reversed. Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates v. Metropolitan Transportation Commission, No. 02-17352 (9th Cir. Apr. 6, 2004) (24 pp.).

RCRA, SOLID WASTE, AUTOMOBILE PAINT:

The DC Circuit held that it lacked jurisdiction over an automobile manufacturer's petition for review of EPA letters regarding enforcement actions based on the Agency's regulatory interpretation that automobile paint purge solvents are "solid waste" under RCRA. The letters are not not reviewable as final agency action under RCRA §7006(a). The letters neither mark the consummation of EPA's decisionmaking process nor impose new substantive rights or obligations on field personnel, the states, or third parties. The letters were merely preliminary enforcement statements made as part of an informal agency-industry dialogue. Moreover, to the extent that the petition challenges the regulatory interpretation in the letters, the challenge is untimely. The petition was filed long after the 90-day period for judicial review expired following the posting of EPA's interpretation on the RCRA website. And to the extent the petition challenges the application of EPA's regulatory interpretation to the manufacturer's plants, the petition is unripe. The challenge does not present a pure question of law and any hardship suffered by the manufacturer as a result of postponement of judicial review is ameliorated by its opportunity to challenge EPA's regulatory interpretation administratively. General Motors Corp. v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 02-1242 (DC Cir. Apr. 2, 2004) (17 pp.).

WASTEWATER, SEWER REPAIR CONTRACTS:

The Third Circuit held that a district court did not abuse its discretion in enjoining a sewer repair contract for certain wastewater systems in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, or in ordering the Virgin Islands government to comply with territorial competitive bidding law in future contracts. Contrary to claims by the government, the case was not moot and the district court did not violate the Eleventh Amendment when it required the government to comply with territorial law in contracting for repairs to the wastewater system. As for the merits, the district court's order was surely within the ambit of its broad discretion. The court correctly found that the government's award of the contract to a startup company with no equipment, assets, or experience in construction was likely to frustrate compliance with a prior consent decree and court order. However, the $7.4 million the government was ordered to deposit into a wastewater repair trust fund was $4 million more than had previously been estimated or required, and the record does not explain why the increase was necessary. That portion of the order was therefore vacated and remanded for a recalculation. United States v. Government of the Virgin Islands, No. 03-1727 (3d Cir. Apr. 2, 2004) (19 pp.).

FEDERAL POWER ACT (FPA), HYDROELECTRIC LICENSE, FISHWAYS:

The DC Circuit dismissed a utility company's petitions for review of FERC orders conditioning the company's hydroelectric license on various conditions for fishways prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior under FPA §18. The company's challenges to the Secretary's prescriptions lack merit. The record adequately shows that fish entrainment at the company's project has an adverse effect on fishery resources; that the prescribed entrainment protective devices are technically feasible, would be effective, and survive a cost-benefit analysis; and that the fish species the Secretary seeks to protect would use or benefit from the prescribed upstream fish passage facilities. Further, any challenge the company may have to potential costs of fishway devices is not ripe. The Secretary has not prescribed particular fishway devices for the project, and hence no such costs have been determined. Wisconsin Power & Light Co. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, No. 03-1026 (DC Cir. Apr. 6, 2004) (16 pp.).

FALSE CLAIMS ACT, OIL AND GAS LEASE, NATIVE AMERICANS:

The Tenth Circuit reversed the dismissal of a qui tam action brought on behalf of the United States involving royalties owed under oil and gas leases between a mining company and a Native American tribe. Owners of royalty interests on a tract of land near the tribe's land believed that the mining company was underpaying royalties owed to the tribe to the United States and filed the instant action under the False Claims Act. A district court erroneously dismissed the action for lack of jurisdiction. The action was not barred by a prior public disclosure, and the owners discovered the alleged fraud in this case and, therefore, qualify as an original source. Further, §3729(a)(7) of the False Claims Act squarely encompasses the fraud on the government that occurs when a person or entity makes false statements to the United States to avoid transmitting to the Federal Treasury royalties they owe on Native American mineral leases. Here, the owners alleged that the company had an existing, legal "obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the Government" and that the company submitted false statements or records to conceal, avoid, or decrease that obligation. Kennard v. Comstock Resources, Inc., No. 03-8012 (10th Cir. Apr. 5, 2004) (18 pp.).

NATIVE AMERICANS, SAND AND GRAVEL, TRIBAL TRUST FUNDS:

The Federal Circuit affirmed a lower court decision allowing Native American tribes to bring claims relating to the United States' management of sand and gravel resources on their reservation, but reversed the court's decision denying the tribes interest on money that the government should have collected from the sale and leasing of sand and gravel deposits. The Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, Public Law No. 108-7, suspends the statute of limitations for certain trust claims until an accounting of the trust is received. The Act covers any claims that allege the government mismanaged funds after they were collected, as well as any claims that allege the government failed to timely collect amounts due and owing to the tribes under its sand and gravel contracts. Accordingly, the tribe's claims were not time-barred. In addition, under 25 U.S.C. §612, the government is obligated to pay interest on all revenues derived from the reservation, not just the revenues that the government collected. Thus, the tribes are permitted to receive interest on monies that the government was obligated to collect on behalf of the tribes under the leases, but did not collect or delayed in collecting. Shoshone Indian Tribe of the Wind River Reservation v. United States, Nos. 03-5036, -5037 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 7, 2004) (28 pp.).

JURISDICTION, DIVERSITY:

The First Circuit held that a plaintiff-trustee destroyed federal subject matter jurisdiction when it amended its complaint and jettisoned one company (a diverse party) in favor of another company (a non-diverse party) in its claim for response costs incurred in connection with the decontamination of an industrial site in Colrain, Massachusetts. Although an exact precedential match has proven elusive, closely related case law and general policy concerns led the court to the ineluctable conclusion that the swapping of parties defeased the court of jurisdiction. Nor may the federal courts retain jurisdiction solely on estoppel principles. Summary judgment for the defendant company was therefore vacated and the case was remanded for dismissal without prejudice. American Fiber & Finishing, Inc. v. Tyco Healthcare Group, No. 03-2297 (1st Cir. Mar. 29, 2004) (15 pp.).

Copyright© 2004, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC All rights reserved

THE FEDERAL AGENCIES

Note: Citations below are to the Federal Register (FR).

AGRICULTURE:

  • USDA amended the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to describe how the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Commodity Credit Corporation will administer the new Conservation Innovation Grants available on a competitive basis to governmental or nongovernmental organizations or individuals whose EQIP projects are innovative in their approach to leveraging federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection in conjunction with agricultural production.69 FR 16391(3/29/04).

AIR:

  • EPA changed reporting requirements associated with CAA §112(r) chemical accident prevention regulations such that beginning on June 21, 2004, chemical facilities subject to the regulations must submit information on significant chemical accidents and changes to emergency contact information on a more timely basis and must include in risk management plan submissions an emergency contact e-mail address; the name, address, and telephone number of the contractor who prepared the plan; and the purpose of any plan submission that changes or affects an earlier submission.69 FR 18819(4/9/04).
  • EPA designated a new equivalent method for measuring concentrations of particulate matter with a diameter of 10 microns or less in ambient air; the new automated analyzer uses a measurement principle based on sample collection by filtration and analysis by beta-ray attenuation.69 FR 18569(4/8/04).
  • EPA proposed to delete four subcategories from the stationary combustion turbines source category under CAA §112(c)(1), based on a petition by the Gas Turbine Association and EPA's evaluation of information concerning potential hazards associated with exposure to hazardous air pollutants emitted from the subcategories.69 FR 18327(4/7/04).
  • EPA proposed to stay the effectiveness of combustion turbine NESHAPs published on March 5, 2004, for new sources in the lean premix gas-fired turbines and diffusion fame gas-fired turbines subcategories because EPA has proposed to delete these subcategories, and the application of the NESHAPs prior to potential deletion would require operators to incur potentially unwarranted expenses associated with emission control installations.69 FR 18338(4/7/04).
  • EPA proposed procedures to be used by manufacturers of light-duty vehicles and trucks and some heavy-duty vehicles when demonstrating the expected deterioration rate of the vehicles' emission levels; to obtain emission certification, the manufacturers must demonstrate that the new motor vehicles will comply with EPA emission standards throughout the vehicles' useful lives.69 FR 17531(4/2/04).

CLIMATE CHANGE:

  • The US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) announced the availability of theDraft Guidelines for the CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Products, specifications that seek to ensure scientific integrity and public involvement in products that include reports, data sets, and evaluations of the uses and limits of climate information for decisionmaking.69 FR 18358(4/7/04).

FUEL ECONOMY:

  • EPA requested information and comment on a petition for rulemaking submitted by the Bluewater Network that contends that EPA's fuel economy estimates do not accurately reflect results achieved in actual on-road operation and that the Agency should revise test procedures, calculation methods, and/or correction factors used to calculate the estimates.69 FR 16188(3/29/04).

GUIDANCE:

  • EPA provided guidance to its grant specialists and project officers concerning the Agency's interpretation of language in the EPA appropriation act and related regulations associated with the maximum daily rate of pay allowed for consultants employed by grant recipients.69 FR 18380(4/7/04).

HAZARDOUS AND SOLID WASTES:

  • EPA approved Maryland's regulations specifying that hazardous waste from conditionally exempt small quantity generators (CESQGs) must be disposed of in a hazardous waste landfill in Maryland, or if disposed of outside of Maryland, in a facility subject to RCRA subtitle C, a state licensed or permitted municipal solid waste landfill subject to regulations, or a state licensed or permitted non-municipal, non-hazardous waste disposal unit subject to regulations; the Agency also approved Delaware's regulations specifying that CESQG hazardous waste disposal in the state is only permissible in hazardous waste landfills.69 FR 17308(4/2/04).

NATURAL RESOURCES:

  • The US Forest Service adopted an interim final rule authorizing timber sale contract officers to redetermine stumpage rates and deposits to reflect significant timber market declines; the rule applies to existing contracts awarded after October 1, 1995, that have been suspended for more than 90 days during the normal operating season, through no fault of the timber purchaser, due to administrative appeals or litigation.69 FR 18813(4/9/04).
  • The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Maine announced and requested comment on a proposed change to a conservation practice standard in the Maine NRCS field office technical guide concerning atmospheric resource quality management.69 FR 18037(4/6/04).

PESTICIDES:

  • EPA notified USDA of a proposed rule intended to improve the pesticide emergency exemption process under FIFRA §18.69 FR 17303(4/2/04).

TOXIC SUBSTANCES:

  • EPA mandated that certified lead abatement professionals must notify EPA before beginning lead-based paint abatement activities and also specified that accredited training programs for such professionals must notify EPA before providing initial or refresher lead-based paint activities training courses and following the completion of such courses.69 FR 18489(4/8/04).

WATER QUALITY:

  • EPA requested comment on its proposed response to the Eleventh Circuit's remand inLegal Environmental Assistance Foundation, Inc. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, 276 F.3d 1253 (11th Cir. 2001); EPA has preliminarily determined that the hydraulic fracturing portion of Alabama's underground injection control program associated with coal bed methane production complies with requirements for class II wells given by SDWA §1425 approval criteria.69 FR 18478(4/8/04).
  • EPA approved West Virginia's decision against adopting a water quality criterion for the pollutant 3-methyl-4-chlorophenol; this approval follows Rivers Coalition v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 03-1022 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 14, 2004), in which the court found EPA's 2003 approval of the state's decision arbitrary and capricious in light of the Agency's 1999 disapproval of the state's failure to adopt a criterion for the phenolic material and remanded the issue to EPA for review.69 FR 18073(4/6/04).
  • EPA proposed changes in analysis and sampling procedures used in wastewater regulation and changes in drinking water analysis and monitoring; the Agency also requested comment on a guidance document,EPA Microbiological Alternative Test Procedure Protocol for Drinking Water, Ambient Water, and Wastewater Monitoring Methods.69 FR 18165(4/6/04).
  • EPA proposed to reissue a general NPDES permit for offshore oil and gas exploration facilities on the outer continental shelf and contiguous waters, authorizing offshore oil and gas statigraphic test and exploration wells and associated discharges in Beaufort and Chukchi Sea waters of the state of Alaska and the United States and establishing effluent limitations, prohibitions, and other conditions on discharges from the affected facilities.69 FR 17654(4/5/04).
  • EPA announced that 51 contaminants remain on the 1998 Contaminant Candidate List (CCL), a listing established by EPA under the SDWA that details contaminants that are known to or may occur in public water systems and may require regulation under the SDWA, but are not subject to national drinking water regulations; EPA announced that it will include these remaining contaminants in this year's draft CCL 2, which lists 42 other chemicals and chemical groups and 9 biological contaminants, provides information on potential changes intended to strengthen the CCL listing process, and requests comment on ways to improve that process.69 FR 17406(4/2/04).
  • EPA proposed to delegate authority for administration and enforcement of the North Dakota Pollutant Discharge Elimination System's industrial pretreatment program to the North Dakota Department of Health's Division of Water Quality.69 FR 16191(3/29/04).

WILDLIFE:

  • FWS proposed to designate critical habitat for the Lane Mountain milk-vetch, a flowering perennial plant listed as threatened under the ESA in 1997 and found in California's Mojave Desert; the Service designated approximately 29,522 acres in the state's San Bernadino County.69 FR 18018(4/6/04).
  • FWS proposed to remove the Eggert's sunflower from the ESA list of threatened species, where the plant was placed in 1997; the Service found that recovery actions have secured a number of the species' populations and identified populations not previously known to the extent that the threatened designation does not reflect the current status of the plant.69 FR 17627(4/5/04).
  • FWS published 2004 spring/summer migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations for Alaska; the regulations specify outer bounds for the time period in which bird harvesting may occur, species that can be taken, and methods and means excluded from use.69 FR 17318(4/2/04).
  • FWS withdrew a proposed rule, published on September 22, 1993 (58 FR 49279), to change the Pahrump poolfish's status under the ESA from endangered to threatened; the Service determined that reclassification of the species, found in three locations in Nevada and listed under the ESA in 1967, is inappropriate at this time.69 FR 17383(4/2/04).
  • FWS announced the availability of and requested comment on an implementation schedule for the South Florida Multi-Species Recovery Plan, a document approved in 1999 that is intended to advance the recovery of species listed under the ESA and found only in southern Florida; the schedule prioritizes recovery tasks at the community level and identifies participating parties, time frames, and costs.69 FR 17442(4/2/04).
  • FWS announced the availability of a technical agency draft recovery plan for the guajon, a frog species found in granite rock cave systems and/or nearby streams at low and intermediate elevations in Puerto Rico; the species was listed as as threatened under the ESA in 1997.69 FR 17224(4/1/04).
  • FWS announced the availability of a draft guidance and scientific permit requirements for presence/absence surveys of terrestrial karst invertebrate species in Texas' Bexar, Travis, and Williamson Counties.69 FR 17225(4/1/04).
  • FWS found that a petition to remove the Preble's meadow jumping mouse from the ESA list of threatened species suggests that removal could be warranted; the Service requested information concerning the condition of the mouse since its listing in 1998 to inform a review of the species' listed status.69 FR 16944(3/31/04).
  • FWS announced the availability of a draft study design for spring 2004 avian investigations, focusing on the belted kingfisher and spotted sandpiper, that will be components of the Hudson River Natural Resource Damage Assessment.69 FR 16597(3/30/04).
  • FWS proposed to designate critical habitat for the coastal California gnatcatcher, a member of the thrush family that inhabits coastal scrub sage habitat in the state and was listed as threatened under the ESA in 1997.69 FR 18516(4/8/05).
  • FWS announced that, after reviewing its 12-month finding on a petition to list under the ESA the west coast distinct population segment of the fisher (a member of the weasel family found in northern North America and threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation), the Service found that the petitioned action is warranted but precluded by higher priority actions; therefore, the Service will include the fisher on the ESA candidate species list.69 FR 18769(4/8/04).
  • FWS promulgated an emergency rule establishing an additional manatee protection area in Lee County, Florida, based on the Service's determination that one or more manatees are in imminent danger of a taking and that the emergency designation of a manatee refuge is necessary to prevent the taking.69 FR 18279(4/7/04).
  • NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposed regulations requiring dealers who import, export, or re-import two types of bluefin tuna, bigeye tuna, and swordfish--regardless of the ocean area of origin of the fish--to hold a valid highly migratory species international trade permit, complete and submit required statistical documents and re-export certificates, and comply with all recordkeeping and reporting requirements of applicable trade monitoring programs.69 FR 16211(3/29/04).
  • NMFS determined that the implementation and enforcement of a joint resource management plan for the artificial propagation, monitoring, and evaluation of and research on the Ozette Lake sockeye salmon, developed by the Makah Tribe and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of the ESA-protected species.69 FR 18874(4/9/04).
  • NMFS issued regulations governing the taking of Cook Inlet beluga whales by Alaska Natives for subsistence purposes; the regulations are intended to conserve and manage the whale population in accordance with applicable provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.69 FR 17973(4/6/04).

DOJ NOTICES OF SETTLEMENTS:

  • United States v. Frank Acierno, No. 03-020 (D. Del. Dec. 15, 2003). Settling defendants under the CWA who discharged pollutants without a permit into US waters must pay a civil penalty and fund supplemental environmental projects.69 FR 18405(4/7/04).
  • In re Cedar Chemical Co., Nos. 11039 et al. (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Mar. 24, 2004). Settling CERCLA debtor-defendants associated with chemical plant facilities in West Helena, Arkansas, and Vicksburg, Mississippi, must resolve EPA's claims concerning the sites through cash payments of $250,00 and $125,000, respectively.69 FR 16957(3/31/04).
  • United States v. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, No. 2-04-0822-18 (D.S.C. Mar. 16, 2004). A settling CAA defendant that since 1980 constructed, modified, and/or operated four coal-fired electricity generating units in South Carolina without first obtaining a prevention of significant deterioration permit and without installing best available technologies to control emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter (PM) must install or upgrade pollution controls for SO, NOx, and PM at more than 80% of the electricity generating capacity of the plants, pay $2 million in civil penalties, and undertake $4.5 million in injunctive relief.69 FR 16958(3/31/04).

Copyright© 2004, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC All rights reserved. 

THE CONGRESS

CHAMBER ACTION:

  • H.R. 3550 (Transportation Equity Act--A Legacy for Users), which would authorize funds for federal-aid highways, highway safety programs, and transit programs, was passed by the House. 150 Cong. Rec. H2066 (daily ed. Apr. 2, 2004).

COMMITTEE ACTION:

  • S. 1307 (water projects), was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 108-249, 150 Cong. Reg. S3294 (daily ed. Mar. 29, 2004). The bill would authorize the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau of Reclamation, to assist in the implementation of fish passage and screening facilities at nonfederal water projects.
  • S. 1355 (Wallowa Lake Dam), was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 108-251, 150 Cong. Rec. S3294 (daily ed. Mar. 29, 2004). The bill would authorize the Bureau of Reclamation to participate in the rehabilitation of the Wallowa Lake Dam in Oregon.
  • S. 1421 (Alaska Natives), was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 108-251, 150 Cong. Rec. S3294 (daily ed. Mar. 29, 2004). The bill would authorize the subdivision and dedication of restricted land owned by Alaska Natives.
  • H.R. 2696 (wildfires), was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 108-252, 150 Cong. Rec. S3294 (daily ed. Mar. 29, 2004). The bill would establish Institutes to demonstrate and promote the use of adaptive ecosystem management to reduce the risk of wildfires, and restore the health of fire-adapted forest and woodland ecosystems of the interior West.

BILLS INTRODUCED:

  • S. 2269 (Bond, R-Mo.) (security), would improve environmental enforcement and security. 150 Cong. Rec. S3566 (daily ed. Apr. 1, 2004). The bill was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
  • S. 2271 (Durbin, D-Ill.) (water quality), would establish national standards for discharges from cruise vessels into the waters of the United States. 150 Cong. Rec. S3567 (daily ed. Apr. 1, 2004). The bill was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
  • S. 2280 (Stevens, R-Ark.) (oceans), would establish a coordinated national ocean exploration program within NOAA. 150 Cong. Rec. S3631 (daily ed. Apr. 5, 2004). The bill was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
  • S. 2285 (Hatch, R-Utah) (land conveyance), would direct the Secretary of the Interior to convey a parcel of real property to Beaver County, Utah. 150 Cong. Rec. S3791 (Apr. 6. 2004). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
  • S. 2287 (Landrieu, D-La.) (boundary adjustment), would adjust the boundary of the Barataria Preserve Unit of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in the state of Louisiana. 150 Cong. Rec. S3791 (Apr. 6, 2004). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
  • S. 2290 (Hatch, R-Utah) (asbestos), would create a fair and efficient system to resolve claims of victims for bodily injury caused by asbestos exposure. 150 Cong. Rec. S3919 (daily ed. Apr. 7, 2004). The bill was read for the first time.
  • S. 2294 (Domenici, R-N.M.) (land conveyance), would authorize the conveyance of certain federal land in the state of New Mexico. 150 Cong. Rec. S3919 (daily ed. Apr. 7, 2004). The bill was referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.
  • S. 2301 (Inouye, D-Haw.) (fish and wildlife), would improve the management of Indian fish and wildlife and gathering resources. 150 Cong. Rec. S3919 (daily ed. Apr. 7, 2004). The bill was referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs.
  • S. 2304 (Hagel, R-Neb.) (irrigation), would amend the Reclamation Project Authorization Act of 1972 to clarify the acreage for which the North Loup division is authorized to provide irrigation water under the Missouri River Basin project. 150 Cong. Rec. S4024 (daily ed. Apr. 8, 2004). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
  • S. 2311 (Snowe, R-Me.) (energy), would provide for various energy efficiency programs and tax incentives. 150 Cong. Rec. S4024 (daily ed. Apr. 8, 2004). The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.
  • S. 2317 (Thomas, R-Wyo.) (soda ash), would limit the royalty on soda ash. 150 Cong. Rec. S4024 (daily ed. Apr. 8, 2004). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
  • H.R. 4066 (Cole, R-Okla.) (land conveyance), would provide for the conveyance of certain land to the United States and to revise the boundary of Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Oklahoma, and for other purposes. 150 Cong. Rec. H1739 (daily ed. Mar. 30, 2004). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources.
  • H.R. 4067 (Gilchrest, R-Md.) (climate change), would provide for a program of scientific research on abrupt climate change, to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by establishing a market-driven system of greenhouse gas tradeable allowances that will limit greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, reduce dependence upon foreign oil, and ensure benefits to consumers from the trading in such allowances, and for other purposes. 150 Cong. Rec. H1739 (daily ed. Mar. 30, 2004). The bill was referred to the Committee on Science and to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
  • H.R. 4070 (Johnson, R-Conn.) (Wild and Scenic Rivers Act), would amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate a segment of the Farmington River and Salmon Brook in the state of Connecticut for study for potential addition to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and for other purposes. 150 Cong. Rec. H1739 (daily ed. Mar. 30, 2004). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources.
  • H.R. 4094 (Millender-McDonald, D-Cal.) (tax credits), would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to establish a federal income tax credit for production of energy from geothermal energy resources. 150 Cong. Rec. H1790 (daily ed. Mar. 31, 2004). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources, the Committee on Ways and Means, and the Committee on Agriculture.
  • H.R. 4100 (Miller, D-Cal.) (parks and recreation), would establish a permanent trust fund to get Americans outdoors by providing access to parks and recreation areas in urban and rural communities, preservation of historic places, and promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, and to provide for hunting, angling, and wildlife viewing for the people of the United States. 150 Cong. Rec. H1790 (daily ed. Mar. 31, 2004). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources.
  • H.R. 4160 (Renzi, R-Ariz.) (sensitive resource areas), would authorize the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of the Interior to jointly establish a program, in partnership with the private sector, to support research, development, demonstration, and commercial application of activities related to advanced hydrogen-based motorboat propulsion technologies suitable for operations in sensitive resource areas such as national parks. 150 Cong. Rec. H2153 (daily ed. Apr. 2, 2004). The bill was referred to the Committee on Science.
  • H.R. 4165 (Smith R-Mich.) (tax incentives), would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax incentives to encourage the use of biodiesel as fuel. 150 Cong. Rec. H2153 (Apr. 2, 2004). The bill was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.

Copyright© 2004, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC All rights reserved. 

IN THE STATES

Click on a state name below to see its information in ELR UPDATE. Or go to http://www.elr.info/State/stateupdate.cfmto view the complete section.

Copyright© 2004, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC All rights reserved.

INTERNATIONAL

GENERAL:

  • The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) releasedThe Global Environment Outlook Year Book 2003. The report notes that oxygen-depleted "dead zones" are now present in 150 waterbodies, including the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, the Adriatic Sea, the Gulf of Thailand and the Yellow Sea. In a press release accompanying issuance of the report, UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said that "human kind is engaged in a gigantic, global experiment as a result of the inefficient and often over-use of fertilizers, the discharge of untreated sewage and the ever-rising emissions from vehicles and factories. The nitrogen and phosphorous from these sources are being discharged into rivers and the coastal environment or being deposited from the atmosphere, triggering these alarming and sometimes irreversible effects." Seehttp://www.unep.org/gc/gcss-viii/PressRelease_E2.asp
  • A UNEP report concluded that small island nations are, in addition to climate change, facing serious environmental risks due to increasing accumulations of garbage. The report pointed out that the shoreline of Nauru, a Pacific island, appears blue-green in aerial photos due to piles of discarded beer cans. The islands often lack adequate modern landfill technology or space for disposal, and do not typically have modern incinerators or recycling facilities. Seehttp://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=389&ArticleID=4400&l=en
  • The group Conservation International said that population of the endangered eastern lowland gorilla, which is found in the eastern portion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has declined dramatically due to hunting, from 17,000 in 1994 to approximately 5,000. Other species that share the same habitat, namely the chimpanzee, the forest elephant, the Nile crocodile, the Congo peacock, the Congo bay owl, the okapi and the leopard, are also experiencing significant declines in population. Seehttp://www.conservation.org/xp/news/press_releases/2004/033004.xml
  • Myanmar established the world's largest tiger preserve.
  • TheLondon Guardianreported that dam building in China on the Mekong River is causing significant water shortages in the downstream countries of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. Seehttp://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1177258,00.html
  • BBC Online reportedthat leaked government documents show that the controversial Camisea gas pipeline project in Peru has been associated with sometimes-fatal respiratory infections and diarrhea in residents of remote indigenous villages.
  • The Center for International Forestry Research released a report,Hamburger Connection Fuels Amazon Destruction, which claims that increased beef exporting from Brazil is contributing to deforestation of the Amazon.
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that of the 6,300 breeds registered by it, 1,350 are either threatened by extinction or are already extinct. Seehttp://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2004/39892/index.html
  • The FAO announced that the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture will enter into force on June 29. Seehttp://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2004/39887/index.html
  • European Union (EU) Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom, writing in theInternational Herald Tribune, said that signatories to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, 17 of whom requested exemptions from the ban on methyl bromide, "must succeed in putting back on track global efforts to repair the world's protective ozone layer."
  • Despite Wallstrom's objections, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States were granted limited exemptions. Seehttp://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=10229&Cr=toxic&Cr1=pesticides
  • TheFinancial Timesreported that 20 international banks that only last year signed the "Equator Principles," guidelines affirming that they will lend money only to those borrowers who engage in environmentally sound projects, are likely to ask the World Bank to continue to finance oil and coal projects in developing nations.
  • Brazil's government said that the rate of deforestation in the Amazon increased 2.1% last year, to 9,170 square miles from 8,963.

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