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Weekly Update Volume 36, Issue 15

05/22/2006

LITIGATION

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

CWA, HYDROELECTRIC DAMS, "DISCHARGE":

The U.S. Supreme Court held that operating a dam to produce hydroelectricity raises a potential for a discharge into the navigable waters of the United States, thereby triggering CWA §401 and state certification requirements. The case arose after a company asked FERC to renew its licenses for five hydroelectric dams it operates on a Maine river to generate power for its paper mill. Each dam impounds water, which is then run through turbines and returned to the riverbed, passing around a section of the river. Under protest, the company applied for water quality certifications from the state environmental agency pursuant to CWA §401, which requires state approval of "any activity" that "may result in any discharge into the [Nation's] navigable waters." FERC licensed the dams subject to compliance with those certifications. The company filed suit, arguing that its dams do not result in a "discharge" under §401. The Court disagreed, holding that the dams do result in a discharge for purposes of §401. Prior case law supports this view, as does EPA's and FERC's reading of the term "discharge" as covering releases from dams. The company relied on South Florida Water Management District v. Miccosukee Tribe, 541 U. S. 95, 34 ELR 20021 (2004), concerning the addition of pollutants with respect to NPDES permits, but that case is not on point. Miccosukee addressed §402, not §401, and the two sections are not interchangeable, as they serve different purposes and use different language to reach them. Finally, the CWA's legislative history also goes against the company's reading of "discharge." Souter, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C.J., and Stevens, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Alito, J.J., joined, and in which Scalia, J., joined as to all but Part III-C. S.D. Warren Co. v. Maine Board of Environmental Protection, No. 04–1527, 36 ELR 20089 (U.S. May 15, 2006) (17 pp.).

SMCRA, CWA, COAL MINING:

The Sixth Circuit denied petitions to review an EPA rule that amended existing effluent limitations guidelines for the coal mining industry. The rule created the coal remining and western alkaline mining subcategories. Petitioners argued that the coal remining regulations conflict with the specific language adopted by Congress in the Rahall Amendment, CWA §301(p), governing pollution abatement at mining sites abandoned before 1977 that companies want to reopen for mining. But nothing in the plain text of the Rahall Amendment prohibits EPA from promulgating the final rule. Petitioners also argued that the creation of the western alkaline mining subcategory violated the CWA by eliminating numeric pollution limits and that EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously in preferring best management practices to numeric effluent limits for sediment reduction. Yet petitioners' contention that this subcategory conflicts with the CWA is without merit, and EPA did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in promulgating the final rule. Citizens Coal Council v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, No. 02-3628, 36 ELR 20088 (6th Cir. May 15, 2006) (39 pp.).

CERCLA, REIMBURSEMENT, LIABILITY:

The Eleventh Circuit upheld a lower court decision that the United States has no obligation to reimburse a Florida county for the costs it incurred treating soil and groundwater contamination at the Miami International Air Depot. From 1943 to 1966, the U.S. government maintained and repaired Air Force aircraft at the depot, and it actually owned the depot from 1943 to 1948. There is no evidence, however, that pollutants were released during its ownership or during the maintenance and repair of military aircraft. The lower court also reasonably determined that the U.S. government should not be held liable as an arranger for pollutants released by a private company that also operated at the site. And the U.S. government did not waive its sovereign immunity and, thus, is not susceptible to state law claims. Miami-Dade County, Florida v. United States, No. 01-10930 CV-JEM, 36 ELR 20092 (11th Cir. May 8, 2006) (4 pp.).

SMCRA, SURFACE COAL MINING, VALID EXISTING RIGHTS:

A district court rejected a mining association's statutory and constitutional claims challenging a 1999 OSM rule defining "valid existing rights." SMCRA prohibits new surface coal mining operations on certain lands subject to "valid existing rights." The 1999 rule defined that exception narrowly, requiring a coal company to show that as of 1977 it has made a "good faith" effort to obtain "all permits needed" for mining in order to be allowed to mine in the protected areas. OSM's "good faith/all permits" standard is not inconsistent with legislative intent. Moreover, OSM considered the relevant factors and supplied a rational explanation for its conclusion. Therefore, the rule is not arbitrary, capricious, inconsistent with the law, or otherwise unreasonable, and it is entitled to deference. In addition, the rule does not constitute a takings violation, nor does it deprive property rights holders of due process. Accordingly, the court denied the association's motion for summary judgment and granted federal defendants' and intervenor-defendants' motions for summary judgment. (Counsel for Intervenor-Defendant National Wildlife Federation included Glenn Sugameli, now of Earthjustice in Washington, D.C.). National Mining Ass'n v. Scarlett, Civ. No. 00-283 (RWR), 36 ELR 20090 (D.D.C. May 4, 2006) (24 pp.).

ESA, BIOLOGICAL OPINIONS, INTERVENTION:

A district court granted a local water authority's motion to intervene in a case brought by environmental groups challenging the validity of the FWS' biological opinion concerning the coordinated operation of the federally managed Central Valley Project (CVP) and California's State Water Project (SWP). The California Bay Delta, from which the CVP and SWP facilities draw water, is home to a number of endangered and threatened species. There is no dispute that the authority's motion was timely. Moreover, as the authority possesses contract rights to receive over one million acre feet of water annually from the SWP--25% of all SWP water--it clearly has a significantly protectable interest in the matter, and disposition of the action could impair or impede its ability to protect that interest. It was less clear whether its interests were adequately protected by other defendants or defendant-intervenors, but ultimately the court ruled they were not because the authority intends to advance at the remedies stage a defense based on the Commerce Clause that no other party is willing to pursue. The court, therefore, granted its motion to intervene as a matter of right, conditioned upon strictly limiting its participation to presenting the Commerce Clause defense. Natural Resources Defense Council v. Norton, No. 1:05-CV-01207 OWW TAG, 36 ELR 20091 (E.D. Cal. May 13, 2006) (Wanger, J.) (8 pp.).

CWA, RCRA, CITIZEN SUITS:

A district court recommended the dismissal of a ranch owner's CWA and RCRA citizen suit action against mining companies for releasing and discharging solid and hazardous wastes into two creeks where they eventually migrated into the Rio Grande. The owner alleged that the releases and discharges have contaminated soils, surface water, and groundwater near, on, or under his ranch. Although the owner's notice letters to the companies were timely, they failed to give the companies sufficient information to identify or correct the alleged violations. Nor did the owner's second notice letters cure these deficiencies. Consequently, the court recommended that the mining companies' motions to dismiss be granted. Wason Ranch Corp. v. Hecla Mining Co., No. 05-cv-00838-WDM-PAC, 36 ELR 20093 (D. Colo. May 9, 2006) (Coan, J.) (6 pp.).

LAND USE, DUE PROCESS:

A California appellate court held that a developer was not denied due process in connection with a local land use commission's hearing on his application for a coastal development permit. The developer claimed that telephone conversations with staff led him to believe that he did not need to appear at the hearing. But his reliance on staff comments predicting what action the commission would take was unreasonable and does not implicate due process. In addition, the written notice of the hearing was adequate. Benson v. California Coastal Commission, No. B186125, 36 ELR 20087 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. May 9, 2006) (10 pp.).

Copyright© 2006, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.

THE FEDERAL AGENCIES

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

AIR:

  • EPA amended the air emission standards for new and existing large municipal waste combustor units. 71 FR 27323 (5/10/06).
  • EPA removed the oxygen content standard and associated compliance requirements from the reformulated gasoline regulations that were published on February 22, 2006. 71 FR 26691 (5/8/06).
  • EPA added portable fuel containers to and removed petroleum dry cleaning solvents from the list of product categories for regulation under CAA §183(e). 71 FR 28320 (5/16/06).
  • EPA finalized amendments proposed on October 10, 2003, to update five instrumental test methods that are used to measure air pollutant emissions from stationary sources. 71 FR 28081 (5/15/06).
  • EPA proposed to amend the NESHAPs for miscellaneous coating manufacturing to clarify the meaning of "coating manufacturing" as well as the compliance date for certain equipment used to produce coatings. 71 FR 28639 (5/17/06).
  • EPA announced its intent to revise and update the air quality criteria for sulfur oxides that were last addressed in an August 1994 report entitled Supplement to the Second Addendum (1986) to Air Quality Criteria for Particulate Matter and Sulfur Oxides (1982): Assessment of New Findings on Sulfur Dioxide Acute Exposure Health Effects in Asthmatic Individuals. 71 FR 28023 (5/15/06).
  • SIP Approvals: Alabama (eight-hour ozone nonattainment area redesignation) 71 FR 27631 (5/12/06). Arizona (particulate matter with a diameter of 10 microns or less (PM10); open burning emissions) 71 FR 28270 (5/16/06). Maryland (stage II vapor recovery amendments) 71 FR 26688 (5/8/06). Missouri (state rule revision) 71 FR 27628 (5/12/06). New York (eight-hour ozone NAAQS redesignation) 71 FR 27962 (5/15/06). Pennsylvania (volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides reasonably available control technology determinations) 71 FR 27394 (5/11/06).
  • SIP Proposals: Arizona (PM10 emissions from open burning; see above for final rule) 71 FR 28289 (5/16/06). California (nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides emissions) 71 FR 28290 (5/16/06). Maryland (stage II vapor recovery amendments; see above for direct final rule) 71 FR 26722 (5/8/06). Missouri (state rule revision; see above for final rule) 71 FR 27654 (5/12/06). Nevada (carbon monoxide (CO) attainment plan) 71 FR 26910 (5/9/06). New Jersey (CO maintenance plan, conformity budgets, and emissions inventories) 71 FR 26895 (5/9/06). West Virginia (redesignation of nonattainment area for particulate matter with a diameter of 10 microns or less (PM10)) 71 FR 27440 (5/11/06).
  • SIP Withdrawals: Oregon (PM10 maintenance plan and redesignation request; city of Lakeview) 71 FR 28777 (5/18/06); (PM10 maintenance plan and redesignation request; city of La Grande) 71 FR 28777 (5/18/06). Pennsylvania (motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program; on-board diagnostic checks) 71 FR 28290 (5/16/06).West Virginia (redesignation of PM10 nonattainment area; see above for proposed rule) 71 FR 27440 (5/11/06).

HAZARDOUS & SOLID WASTES:

  • EPA entered into a proposed administrative order on consent under CERCLA concerning the Casmalia Disposal Superfund site in Santa Barbara County, California, that requires the settling parties to pay $400,000 to EPA for response costs incurred or to be incurred at the site. 71 FR 29153 (5/19/06).
  • EPA entered into a proposed administrative agreement under CERCLA concerning the Dayton X-Ray Superfund site in Dayton, Ohio, that requires the settling party to pay $20,955.62, plus interest, into the hazardous substance Superfund. 71 FR 28862 (5/18/06).
  • EPA granted Tennessee final authorization of revisions to its hazardous waste management program under RCRA. 71 FR 27405 (5/11/06).
  • EPA proposed to grant final authorization to Tennessee for revisions to its hazardous waste management program under RCRA; see above for final rule. 71 FR 27447 (5/11/06).
  • EPA granted Virginia final authorization of revisions to its hazardous waste management program under RCRA. 71 FR 27204 (5/10/06).
  • EPA proposed to grant final authorization to Virginia for revisions to its hazardous waste management program under RCRA; see above for final rule. 71 FR 27216 (5/10/06).
  • EPA granted a delisting petition to exclude a certain solid waste generated by Bayer Material Science, LLC, at its plant in Baytown, Texas, from the RCRA lists of hazardous wastes. 71 FR 28275 (5/16/06).

MINING:

  • The Mine Safety and Health Administration revised the effective date of the diesel particulate matter final concentration limit that was promulgated in the 2001 final rule, Diesel Particulate Matter Exposure of Underground Metal and Nonmetal Miners, to allow for staggered effective dates over a two-year period; the agency also established requirements for the medical evaluation of miners required to wear respiratory protection and the transfer of miners who are medically unable to wear respirators. 71 FR 28923 (5/18/06).

TOXIC SUBSTANCES:

  • The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry announced those sites for which it has completed public health assessments during the period from January 2006 through March 2006. 71 FR 28702 (5/17/06).

WATER:

  • EPA de-designated an existing ocean dredged material disposal site and designated a new ocean dredged material disposal site located offshore of Coos Bay, Oregon; this will allow EPA to avoid adverse mounding conditions and will ensure site capacity is sufficient for total volumes of dredged material. 71 FR 27396 (5/11/06).
  • EPA announced the availability of the final guidance document entitled National Guidance: Best Management Practices for Preparing Vessels Intended to Create Artificial Reefs. 71 FR 27716 (5/12/06).
  • EPA determined that adequate facilities for the safe and sanitary removal and treatment of sewage from all vessels are reasonably available for all Connecticut waters between Eastern Point in Groton, to Hoadley Point in Guilford, and the navigable reaches of the Hammonasset, Menunketesuck, Niantic, and Thames Rivers within state boundaries. 71 FR 27721 (5/12/06).

WILDLIFE:

  • FWS determined endangered status for 11 species of picture-wing flies from the Hawaiian islands and determined threatened status for one species of the fly. 71 FR 26835 (5/9/06).
  • FWS announced that a draft EA and habitat conservation plan for the Cedar City Golf Course and Paiute Tribal recreational grounds in Cedar City, Utah, are available for public review and comment. 71 FR 28048 (5/15/06).
  • NOAA announced temporary restrictions that apply to certain fishermen in an area east of Boston, Massachusetts, to protect an aggregation of northern right whales. 71 FR 26702 (5/8/06).
  • NOAA announced temporary restrictions that apply to certain fishermen located east of the Great South Channel in order to protect an aggregation of northern right whales. 71 FR 28587 (5/17/06).
  • NMFS announced its determination to list elkhorn and staghorn corals as threatened under the ESA and seeks information that may be relevant to the designation of critical habitat for the two species. 71 FR 26852 (5/9/06).
  • NMFS issued an incidental harassment authorization to the California DOT to take small numbers of California sea lions, Pacific harbor seals, harbor porpoises, and gray whales, by harassment, incidental to construction of a replacement bridge for the east span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. 71 FR 26750 (5/8/06).
  • NMFS issued an incidental harassment authorization to Eglin Air Force Base to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to conducting air-to-surface gunnery missions in the Gulf of Mexico. 71 FR 27695 (5/12/06).
  • NMFS announced workshops on new regulations pertaining to the implementation of the bottlenose dolphin take reduction plan and amendments to the mid-Atlantic large mesh gillnet rule. 71 FR 28282 (5/16/06).

DOJ NOTICES OF SETTLEMENTS:

  • United States v. General Electric Co., No. 03CV4668 (HAA) (D.N.J. Apr. 25, 2006). A settling CERCLA defendant must place $3 million into an interest-bearing court registry account; must pay $2,805,000, plus interest; must pay the state of New Jersey $195,000, plus interest; must give up its claims for costs that it incurred in performing remediation at the Grand Street Mercury Superfund site in Hoboken, New Jersey; and must withdraw its petition to EPA for reimbursement of such costs. 71 FR 27516 (5/11/06).
  • United States v. Illinois Power Co., No. 99-833-MJR (S.D. Ill. Mar. 20, 2006). A settling CAA defendant must operate certain electric generating units so as to achieve and maintain a specified emissions rate or undertake an alternative procedure defined as a "pollution control equipment upgrade analysis," and must ensure that both units meet a specified emissions rate by December 31, 2008, to resolve claims concerning particulate matter emissions at its facility. 71 FR 27516 (5/11/06).
  • United States v. Jackson, No. 8:0404cv64 (D. Neb. Apr. 27, 2006). Settling defendants must reimburse EPA $700,000 for past response costs and must implement institutional controls. 71 FR 27517 (5/11/06).
  • United States v. Minnkota Power Cooperative, Inc., No. 1:06-CV-034 (D.N.D. Apr. 25, 2006). Settling CAA defendants must install or upgrade pollution controls at an estimated cost of over $100 million for two electricity generating units at the Milton R. Young facility in Center, North Dakota; must pay $850,000 in civil penalties; and must undertake $5 million in additional injunctive relief to resolve claims for PSD violations. 71 FR 27517 (5/11/06).
  • United States v. County of Sacramento, No. 2:06-CV-00908 GEB-GGH (E.D. Cal. Apr. 26, 2006). Settling CWA defendants must restore impacted areas, must perform mitigation, and must pay a civil penalty for discharging pollutants without a permit into waters of the United States. 71 FR 27517 (5/11/06).
  • United States v. County of Suffolk, No. CV-06-1978 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 28, 2006). A settling CWA defendant must pay a civil penalty of $300,000, must fund a supplemental environmental project in the amount of $700,000, and must comply with its industrial waste pretreatment program and state pollutant discharge elimination system permits. 71 FR 27518 (5/11/06).
  • United States v. Metropolitan District of Hartford, Connecticut, No. 3:06-cv-00728-PCD (D. Conn. May 11, 2006). A settling CWA defendant that discharged untreated wastewater to navigable waters through point sources other than those authorized under its permit must pay $425,000 in civil penalties to both the state of Connecticut and the United States and must perform injunctive relief to achieve compliance with the Act. 71 FR 28886 (5/18/06).
  • United States v. Coastal Lumber Co., No. 4:01-cv-238 SPM (N.D. Fla. May 5, 2006). A settling CAA defendant who failed to install pollution control devices, obtain permits required by the Act, and comply with an EPA testing order must pay a $60,000 civil penalty and must conduct emissions tests to determine whether it is required to install pollution controls at its plywood manufacturing facility in Havana, Florida. 71 FR 28706 (5/17/06).
  • United States v. City of Dallas, No. 3:06-CV-0845-B (N.D. Tex. May 11, 2006). A settling CWA defendant that failed to fully and timely implement the stormwater management program under its NPDES permit must pay a civil penalty of $800,000; must spend at least $1.2 million on two supplemental environmental projects; must hire and keep on staff employees to implement the stormwater management program; must carry out inspections of industrial facilities, construction sites, and stormwater outfalls at specified intervals; and must implement an environmental management system for 12 facilities. 71 FR 28707 (5/17/06).
  • United States v. Scarsella Brothers, Inc., No. 04-428 (D. Idaho May 3, 2006). A settling CWA defendant must pay a civil penalty of $400,000, must increase the training required of its personnel for projects in the state of Idaho, and must make payments to a citizen group that intervened in this action in order to resolve claims concerning the discharge of stormwater during a road building project in northern Idaho. 71 FR 28707 (5/17/06).
  • United States v. Scarsella Brothers, Inc., No. 04-428 (D. Idaho May 3, 2006). A settling CWA defendant must pay a $495,000 civil penalty, must increase the training of its employees, and must increase the nature and quality of its efforts to inspect for and comply with stormwater regulations to resolve pending claims concerning the discharge of stormwater during a road building project in northern Idaho. 71 FR 28708 (5/17/06).

Copyright© 2006, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.

THE CONGRESS

CHAMBER ACTION:

  • S. 1165 (James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge Expansion Act of 2005), which would provide for the expansion of the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge, Honolulu County, Hawaii, was passed by the House, clearing the measure for the President. 152 Cong. Rec. H2606 (daily ed. May 16, 2006).
  • S. 1869 (Coastal Barrier Resources Reauthorization Act of 2005), which would reauthorize the Coastal Barrier Resources Act, was passed by the House, clearing the measure for the President. 152 Cong. Rec. H2603 (daily ed. May 16, 2006).
  • H.R. 518 (Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Improvement Act of 2006), which would require the Secretary of the Interior to refine the DOI program for providing assistance for the conservation of neotropical migratory birds, was passed by the House. 152 Cong. Rec. H2605 (daily ed. May 16, 2006).
  • H.R. 586 (Right-to-Ride Livestock on Federal Lands Act of 2005), which would preserve the use and access of pack and saddle stock animals on public lands, including wilderness areas, national monuments, and other specifically designated areas, administered by the National Park Service, BLM, the FWS, or the Forest Service where there is a historical tradition of such use, was passed by the House. 152 Cong. Rec. H2601 (daily ed. May 16, 2006).
  • H.R. 4200 (Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act), which would improve the ability of the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to promptly implement recovery treatments in response to catastrophic events affecting federal lands under their jurisdiction, including the removal of dead and damaged trees and the implementation of reforestation treatments, and to support the recovery of non-federal lands damaged by catastrophic events and revitalize Forest Service experimental forests, was passed by the House. 152 Cong. Rec. H2648, H2687 (daily ed. May 17, 2006).

COMMITTEE ACTION:

  • H.R. 4200 (federal lands) was reported by the Committee on Resources. H. Rep. No. 109-451, pt. 1, 152 Cong. Rec. H2173 (daily ed. May 4, 2006). The bill would improve the ability of the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to promptly implement recovery treatments in response to catastrophic events affecting federal lands under their jurisdiction, including the removal of dead and damaged trees and the implementation of reforestation treatments, and to support the recovery of non-federal lands damaged by catastrophic events and revitalize Forest Service experimental forests.
  • H.R. 5386 (DOI appropriations) was reported by the Committee on Appropriations. H. Rep. No. 109-465, 152 Cong. Rec. H2596 (daily ed. May 15, 2006). The bill would make appropriations for the DOI and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007.

BILLS INTRODUCED:

  • S. 2724 (Carper, D-Del.) (CAA) would amend the CAA to establish a national uniform multiple air pollutant regulatory program for the electric generating sector. 152 Cong. Rec. S4051 (daily ed. May 4, 2006). The bill was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
  • S. 2735 (Bond, R-Mo.) (National Dam Safety Program Act) would amend the National Dam Safety Program Act to reauthorize the national dam safety program. 152 Cong. Rec. S4051 (daily ed. May 4, 2006). The bill was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
  • S. 2747 (Bingaman, D-N.M.) (energy) would enhance energy efficiency and conserve oil and natural gas. 152 Cong. Rec. S4051 (daily ed. May 4, 2006). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
  • S. 2764 (Reid, D-Nev.) (Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit) would amend Public Law No. 108-67 to correct a provision relating to the conveyance of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. 152 Cong. Rec. S4155 (daily ed. May 8, 2006). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
  • S. 2780 (Inhofe, R-Okla.) (EPA) would authorize the Administrator of EPA to advance cooperative conservation efforts, reduce barriers to the formation and use of partnerships to enable federal environmental stewardship agencies to meet the conservation goals and obligations of the agencies, and promote remediation of inactive and abandoned mines. 152 Cong. Rec. S3349 (daily ed. May 10, 2006). The bill was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
  • S. 2781 (Inhofe, R-Okla.) (Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA)) would amend the FWPCA to enhance the security of wastewater treatment works. 152 Cong. Rec. S3349 (daily ed. May 10, 2006). The bill was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
  • S. 2783 (Lott, R-Miss.) (FWPCA) would amend the FWPCA to expand and strengthen cooperative efforts to monitor, restore, and protect the resource productivity, water quality, and marine ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico. 152 Cong. Rec. S4468 (daily ed. May 10, 2006). The bill was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
  • H.R. 5294 (Crenshaw, R-Fla.) (Florida National Forest Land Management Act) would amend the Florida National Forest Land Management Act of 2003 to authorize the conveyance of an additional tract of National Forest System land under that Act. 152 Cong. Rec. H2173 (daily ed. May 4, 2006). The bill was referred to the Committee on Agriculture.
  • H.R. 5298 (Delahunt, D-Mass.) (National Historical Park Act of 1998) would amend the Adams National Historical Park Act of 1998 to include the Quincy Homestead within the boundary of the Adams National Historical Park. 152 Cong. Rec. H2173 (daily ed. May 4, 2006). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources.
  • H.R. 5299 (Hayworth, R-Ariz.) (water rights) would revise a provision relating to a repayment obligation of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation under the Fort McDowell Indian Community Water Rights Settlement Act of 1990. 152 Cong. Rec. H2173 (daily ed. May 4, 2006). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources.
  • H.R. 5305 (Musgrave, R-Colo.) (forest and watershed emergency) would address the forest and watershed emergency in the state of Colorado that has been exacerbated by the bark beetle infestation, provide for the conduct of activities in the state to reduce the risk of wildfire and flooding, promote economically healthy rural communities by reinvigorating the forest products industry in the state, and encourage the use of biomass fuels for energy. 152 Cong. Rec. H2173 (daily ed. May 4, 2006). The bill was referred to the Committees on Resources, on Agriculture, on Energy and Commerce, and on Transportation and Infrastructure.
  • H.R. 5311 (Johnson, R-Conn.) (national heritage area) would establish the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area. 152 Cong. Rec. S2180 (daily ed. May 8, 2006). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources.
  • H.R. 5340 (Kind, D-Wis.) (Upper Mississippi River Basin) would promote the DOI's efforts to provide a scientific basis for the management of sediment and nutrient loss in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. 152 Cong. Rec. H2502 (daily ed. May 10, 2006). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources.
  • H.R. 5346 (Moran, R-Kan.) (Solid Waste Disposal Act) would amend the Solid Waste Disposal Act to establish a program to provide reimbursement for the installation of alternative energy refueling systems. 152 Cong. Rec. H2502 (daily ed. May 10, 2006). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
  • H.R. 5370 (Fortenberry, R-Neb.) (CAA) would amend the CAA to require that gasoline contain at least 15 billion gallons of renewable fuel by the year 2012. 152 Cong. Rec. H2585 (daily ed. May 11, 2006). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
  • H.R. 5398 (Salazar, D-Colo.) (CAA) would amend the CAA to exclude from the definition of renewable fuel any fuel that is imported or derived from any matter that is imported. 152 Cong. Rec. H2641 (daily ed. May 16, 2006). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
  • H.R. 5404 (Duncan, R-Tenn.) (EPA) would authorize the Administrator of EPA to advance cooperative conservation efforts, to reduce barriers to the formation and use of partnerships to enable federal environmental stewardship agencies to meet the conservation goals and obligations of the agencies, and to promote remediation of inactive and abandoned mines. 152 Cong. Rec. H2705 (daily ed. May 17, 2006). The bill was referred to the Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, on Energy and Commerce, and on Resources.
  • H.R. 5411 (Pearce, R-N.M.) (national parks) would direct the Secretary of the Interior to establish a demonstration program to facilitate landscape restoration programs within certain units of the National Park System established by law to preserve and interpret resources associated with American history. 152 Cong. Rec. H2705 (daily ed. May 17, 2006). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources.

 Copyright© 2006, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.

IN THE STATES

Note: The entries below cover state developments since the last issue of Update. The entries are arranged by state, and within each section, entries are further subdivided by subject matter area. For a cumulative listing of materials reported in 2006, visit our list of Cumulative State Developments Arranged by State, or our list of Cumulative State Developments Arranged by Subject Matter. For state material reported prior to 2006, visit the ELR Archives.

The states below have updates this week:

Arizona Idaho New Hampshire Rhode Island California Illinois New Jersey South Dakota Connecticut Maine New York Virginia Florida Missouri North Carolina West Virginia Georgia Montana Oklahoma Wisconsin

ARIZONA

Hazardous and Solid Waste:

  • The Department of Environmental Quality is providing notice of a rulemaking on the Declaration of Environmental Use Restriction - Permanent Fee Rule (18 A.A.C. 7, Art. 6). This is a permanent rulemaking to replace an interim fee rule, pursuant to 2000 Ariz. Session Laws Ch. 225, §13. It would establish a fee that a property owner is required to pay to the Department when a declaration of environmental use restriction (DEUR) is submitted for approval, prior to being recorded. A DEUR is a restrictive covenant that must be recorded when an owner elects to use either an institutional control (i.e., a legal or administrative limitation on activities or uses) or an engineering control (e.g., a slab, cap, fence, liner, berm, leachate collection system, or pump and treat technologies) to prevent or minimize exposure to contaminants on the property, or when an owner elects to leave contamination on the property that exceeds the applicable residential soil remediation standard for the property. The Department will evaluate its experience with fees paid under the interim DEUR fee rule to ascertain any ways in which the fee should be revised for the permanent rule. See http://www.azdeq.gov/function/laws/draft.html#deur

CALIFORNIA

Air:

  • The Air Resources Board (ARB) will hold a public hearing to consider the adoption of new emission standards, fleet requirements, and test procedures for forklifts and other industrial equipment. The standards will be discussed at the May 25, 2006, ARB meeting. Comments are due May 24, 2006, by 12 noon or at the hearing. See http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/lore2006/lore2006.htm#anchor
  • The Air Resources Board (ARB) will hold a public hearing to consider the proposed adoption of a test procedure for pressure/vacuum vent valves and proposed amendments to the regulations for certification of vapor recovery systems at gasoline dispensing facilities. The proposal will be discussed at the May 25, 2006, ARB meeting. Comments are due May 24, 2006, by 12 noon or at the hearing. See http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/pvvapor06/pvvapor06.htm#anchor
  • The Air Resources Board (ARB) will hold a public hearing to consider amendments to the control measure for perchloroethylene dry cleaning operations. The amendments will be discussed at the May 25, 2006, ARB meeting. Comments are due May 24, 2006, by 12 noon or at the hearing. See http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/perc06/perc06.htm#anchor
  • The Air Resources Board announced the public availability of modified text for public hearing to consider amendments to the heavy-duty vehicle smoke inspection program (Implementation of Assembly Bill 1009, Pavley 2004, Chapter 873). Comments are due May 26, 2006, by 5 P.M. See http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/hdvip2006/hdvip2006.htm
  • The South Coast Air Quality Management District will hold a public hearing on Friday, June 2, 2006, to adopt Proposed Rule 223, Emission Reduction Permits for Large Confined Animal Facilities. Written comments are due Tuesday, May 23, 2006. See http://www.aqmd.gov/pub_edu/nph_223_June_2_06.html
  • The South Coast Air Quality Management District will hold a public hearing on Friday, June 2, 2006, on Proposed Amended Regulation III, Fees. Written comments are due Tuesday, May 23, 2006. See http://www.aqmd.gov/pub_edu/notice_ph.html
  • The South Coast Air Quality Management District will hold a public hearing on Friday, June 2, 2006, on the amendment of Rule 1113, Architectural Coatings, to reduce volatile organic compound limits for concrete-curing compounds (excluding those used for roadways and bridges), dry-fog coatings, and traffic and fire retardant coatings. Written comments are due Tuesday, May 23, 2006. See http://www.aqmd.gov/pub_edu/nph_1113_June_2_06.html
  • The South Coast Air Quality Management District will hold a public hearing on Friday, June 2, 2006, on amendments to Rule 1157, PM10 Emission Reductions from Aggregate and Related Operations, to simplify and streamline the implementation of the high wind exemption by establishing specific dust control requirements that impacted facilities must comply with, and to implement a settlement agreement. Written comments are due Tuesday, May 23, 2006. See http://www.aqmd.gov/pub_edu/nph_1157_June_2_06.html
  • The South Coast Air Quality Management District will hold a public hearing on Friday, June 2, 2006, on amendments to Rule 1171, Solvent Cleaning Operations, to delay the July 1, 2006, volatile organic compound compliance date for the cleaning of lithographic/letterpress printing (except newsprint), screen printing, and ultraviolet/electron beam ink application equipment. Written comments are due Tuesday, May 23, 2006. See http://www.aqmd.gov/pub_edu/nph_1171_June_2_06.html
  • The Air Resources Board (ARB) will hold a public hearing to consider technical amendments to the Motor Vehicle Evaporative and Exhaust Emissions Test Procedures. The amendments will be discussed at the June 22, 2006, ARB meeting. Comments are due June 21, 2006, by 12 noon or at the hearing. See http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/evap2006/evap2006.htm#anchor
  • The Air Resources Board (ARB) will hold of public hearing to consider amendments to regulations for the availability of California motor vehicle service information. The amendments will be discussed at the June 22, 2006, ARB meeting. Comments are due June 21, 2006, by 12 noon or at the hearing. See http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/cmvsip06/cmvsip06.htm#anchor
  • The Air Resources Board (ARB) will hold a public hearing to consider the adoption of proposed amendments to the regulations for the Statewide Portable Equipment Registration Program. The amendments will be discussed at the June 22, 2006, ARB meeting. Comments are due June 21, 2006, by 12 noon or at the Board hearing. See http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/perp06/perp06.htm#anchor

Toxic Substances:

Water:

  • The State Water Resources Control Board will consider adoption of the proposed State Fiscal Year 2006/07 State Revolving Fund Loan Program Priority List. Written comments are due by 5:00 p.m. on May 30, 2006. See http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/funding/docs/srf/prioritylist0607_pn.pdf
  • The State Water Resources Control Board will hold a public hearing on Monday, June 19, 2006, to seek comments on the proposed Total Residual Chlorine and Chlorine-Produced Oxidants Policy of California and accompanying Substitute Environmental Document. Written comments are due by 5 p.m., June 5, 2006. See http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/iswp/docs/pn062106chlorpol.pdf
  • The State Water Resources Control Board will conduct a public hearing on July 5, 2006, to receive testimony on its proposal to re-issue the Utility Vault National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Permit for discharges from utility vaults and underground structures. Written comments are due by 5 p.m. on June 9, 2006. See http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/npdes/docs/utilityvaults/pn_070506.pdf

CONNECTICUT

Air:

  • The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing on June 27, 2006, on Eight-Hour Ozone Control Measures. The hearing will address a proposed amendment to Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies (R.C.S.A.) §22a-174-20(l), Metal cleaning, and two proposed new sections, R.C.S.A. §22a-174-40, Consumer products, and R.C.S.A. §22a-174-41, Architectural and industrial maintenance coatings. Written comments are due by 4:30 p.m. on June 30, 2006. See http://dep.state.ct.us/air2/regs/noticeof8hourozonecontrolmeasureshearing.pdf
  • The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing on June 27, 2006, on a portable fuel container amendment. Written comments are due by 4:30 p.m. on June 30, 2006. See http://dep.state.ct.us/air2/regs/noticeofportablefuelcontainerhearing.pdf

FLORIDA

Hazardous and Solid Waste:

Land Use:

Water:

GEORGIA

Air:

  • The Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources proposed amendments to Georgia’s rules for air quality control, Chapter 391-3-1. EPD will hold a public hearing on the proposed amendments on May 24, 2006, and the proposed air rule amendments will be considered for adoption by the Board of Natural Resources at its meeting on June 28, 2006. Written comments are due by May 26, 2006. See http://www.gaepd.org/environet/1/notice.pdf and http://www.gaepd.org/environet/1/notice_jun2006.pdf

IDAHO

Air:

Water:

ILLINOIS

Water:

MAINE

Land Use:

  • The Department of Environmental Protection adopted revisions to Ch. 355, Coastal Sand Dune Rules. The adopted amendments: (1) establish stricter standards for reconstruction of buildings severely damaged from wave action from ocean storms in frontal dune areas outside of V Zones; (2) require that all reconstructed buildings in frontal dunes be moved back to the extent practicable; (3) require a permit to be applied for within a specified time period after emergency measures are taken to protect a threatened or damaged seawall; (4) require the use of the most current mapped V Zone in determining compliance with applicable standards; (5) amend the definitions of coastal wetland and significant wildlife habitat to reflect recent statutory changes; (6) establish mitigation and enhancement measures for all projects; (7) establish new standards for large beach nourishment projects; (8) allow construction of elevators and ramps for handicap access without a requirement to meet American Disabilities Act requirements; and (9) allow modifications to existing seawalls. Effective June 8, 2006. See http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/notices/2006/051706.htm

Wildlife:

  • The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife proposed to amend the annual open season rule for the hunting of pheasant by repealing the prohibition on taking female pheasants during that season (October 1 - December 31) within Wildlife Management District 24. This was done as a result of legislative action to protect female pheasants in an effort to increase the population, which was not effective and is being repealed. Deadline for comments is June 12, 2006. See http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/notices/2006/051006.htm
  • The Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife proposed to adopt a rule adding Wildlife Management District (WMD) 17 to the fall wild turkey hunting zone as well as establishing two zones as follows: Zone 1 will consist of WMDs 15, 16, 17, 20, 24, 25, and 26; and Zone 2 will consist of WMDs 21, 22, and 23. The rule also establishes new season dates for Zone 2. The season dates for Zone 1 will remain the same as last year. The deadline for comments is June 12, 2006. See http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/notices/2006/051006.htm

MISSOURI

Wildlife:

  • The Department of Conservation is proposing to remove the mountain lion as a mammal designated as endangered in Missouri. The deadline for comment is June 14, 2006. See http://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/moreg/current/2006/v31n10/v31n10a.pdf
  • The Department of Conservation is proposing an amendment to the Wildlife Code that updates the reference to the Missouri Species and Communities of Conservation Concern Checklist, and adds the Pacific white shrimp to the Approved Aquatic Species List. The deadline for comment is June 14, 2006. See http://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/moreg/current/2006/v31n10/v31n10a.pdf
  • The Department of Conservation is proposing an amendment to the Wildlife Code that editorially corrects the proper reference to the small game hunting permit; provides minimum fencing specifications for hogs held for hunting under licensed hunting preserve permits; and deletes paragraph (1)(B)7., which is duplicated in section (1). The deadline for comment is June 14, 2006. See http://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/moreg/current/2006/v31n10/v31n10a.pdf

MONTANA

Hazardous and Solid Waste:

  • The Petroleum Tank Release Compensation Board of the Department of Environmental Quality is holding a public hearing on June 7, 2006, on the proposal to amend ARM 17.58.326 and 17.58.336 pertaining to applicable rules governing the operation and management of petroleum storage tanks and review of claims. Written comments are due June 15, 2006. See http://deq.mt.gov/dir/legal/Notices/17-247pro.pdf

Water:

  • The Board of Environmental Review amended ARM 17.30.670 and 17.30.1202, pertaining to nondegradation requirements for electrical conductivity and sodium adsorption ratio and definitions for technology-based effluent limitations, and adopts new rules I through X, pertaining to minimum technology-based controls and treatment requirements for the coal bed methane industry. Effective May 9, 2006. See http://deq.mt.gov/dir/legal/Notices/17-236adp.pdf

General:

  • The Board of Environmental Review and the Department of Environmental Quality amended ARM 17.24.132, 17.24.133, 17.24.134, 17.24.136, 17.24.1206, 17.24.1211, 17.24.1218, 17.24.1219, 17.24.1220, and 17.56.121 and repealed 17.24.1212 to revise the enforcement procedures under the Montana Strip and Underground Mine Reclamation Act, the Metal Mine Reclamation Laws, and the Opencut Mining Act; and amended ARM 17.30.2001 and 17.30.2003; repealed 17.24.1212, 17.30.2005, 17.30.2006, and 17.38.606; and adopted new rules I through VII to provide uniform factors for determining penalties. Effective May 5, 2006. See http://deq.mt.gov/dir/legal/Notices/17-239adp.pdf

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Water:

  • The Department of Environmental Services will hold a public hearing on June 12, 2006, on the proposal to readopt with amendments RSA 487:16-a and RSA 487:24, VII, which establish a program to control exotic aquatic weeds. The revisions and additions are intended to update and clarify the existing rules specifically relative to limiting the eutrophication of lakes and ponds, controlling exotic aquatic weeds, making financial grants for management of exotic aquatic weed infestations, and participating in Diagnostic and Feasibility studies. Written comments due June 22, 2006. See http://www.des.state.nh.us/RuleMaking/notice2005/Env-Wq_1300.pdf

NEW JERSEY

Water:

  • The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing on June 6, 2006, on the proposal to amend the Coastal Zone Management rules, N.J.A.C. 7:7E, to relax the impervious cover limits and vegetative cover percentages for proposed developments consisting entirely of affordable housing in limited circumstances. Written comments due July 14, 2006. See http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/notices/051506a.htm

NEW YORK

Wildlife:

NORTH CAROLINA

Water:

  • The Department of Environment and Natural Resources proposed to reclassify the entire watersheds of all creeks that drain to the north shore of Fontana Lake between Eagle and Forney Creeks. The department will hold a public hearing on June 5, 2006. Written comments are due July 14, 2006. See http://www.ncoah.com/rules/register/Volume20Issue22.pdf (p. 1888)

OKLAHOMA

Water:

  • The Water Quality Division of the Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public meeting on May 23, 2006, to answer questions and receive public input on the State Fiscal Year 2007 Intended Use Plan, the Priority Ranking System, and the Project Priority List for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. Written comments are due June 23, 2006. See http://www.deq.state.ok.us/mainlinks/media/06news/may06/2007IUP.pdf

RHODE ISLAND

Toxic Substances:

  • The Director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management proposed amendments to rules and regulations relating to pesticides and gave notice of intent to hold a public hearing to receive public comment on the proposed regulations on June 15, 2006. Written comments are due July 5, 2006. See http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/bnatres/agricult/pestdrft.htm

SOUTH DAKOTA

Wildlife:

  • The Department of Game, Fish, and Parks will hold a public hearing on June 1, 2006, on intended amendments to rules to provide a licensing procedure for the issuance of a preference point in a big game hunting season (other than elk, big horn sheep, or mountain goat). Written comments due May 22, 2006. See http://legis.state.sd.us/rules/register/05152006.pdf

VIRGINIA

Water:

WEST VIRGINIA

Air:

  • The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Air Quality, adopted amendments to Title 45, Series 1 Control & Reduction of Nitrogen Oxides from Non-Electric Generating Units as a Means to Mitigate Transport of Ozone Precursors. Effective May 1, 2006. See http://www.wvsos.com/adlaw/register/current/050506.pdf (p. 798)
  • The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Air Quality, adopted amendments to Title 45, Series 15 Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants Pursuant to 40 CFR Part 61. Effective June 1, 2006. See http://www.wvsos.com/adlaw/register/current/050506.pdf (p. 808)

Hazardous and Solid Waste:

Water:

WISCONSIN

Air:

  • The Department of Natural Resources will hold public hearings on June 27, 28, and 29, 2006, on revisions to §§NR 406.02, 406.04, 407.03, and 410.03, Wis. Adm. Code, relating to air pollution permit exemptions and air pollution permit exemption fees. The SIP developed under §285.11(6), Stats., is also revised. See http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/caer/ce/news/hearmeet.html

Water:

  • The Department of Natural Resources will hold a public hearing on June 13, 2006, on Natural Resources Board Emergency Order No. WT 24 06(E), pertaining to shore erosion control on rivers and streams. This emergency order took effect on May 8, 2006. See http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/caer/ce/news/hearmeet.html
  • The Department of Natural Resources will hold a public hearing on June 28, 2006, concerning funding policies and project priority lists for state fiscal year 2007 financial assistance for: (1) water pollution abatement facilities under the Clean Water Fund Program, §§281.58 and 281.59, Wis Stats., and Title VI of the federal CWA; and (2) water supply treatment facilities under the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program, §§281.59 and 281.61. Wis. Stats., and §1452 of the federal SDWA. See http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/caer/ce/news/hearmeet.html

Copyright© 2006, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.

INTERNATIONAL

CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS CONTINUE IN BONN, GERMANY:

Talks on future action under the United Nations-sponsored climate change process began on May 15 in Bonn, Germany, and will continue through May 26. Delegates from 189 countries are attending the Bonn talks to bolster the fight against climate change and engage rich states outside the Kyoto Protocol, including the United States and Australia, as well as developing countries such as China and India. The first round of discussions, concerning long-term cooperative action to address climate change by enhancing implementation of the convention, concluded on May 16. For up-to-date information, as well as live webcasts, visit http://unfccc.int/meetings/sb24/items/3648.php

CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS IN EUROPEAN UNION LOWER THAN EXPECTED:

The European Union (EU) announced that carbon dioxide emissions in 21 EU countries were 2.4% below the limit for the region last year. The European Commission said industries in the 21 countries did not use 44.1 million metric tons of the carbon dioxide emissions they were allowed during the first year of an emission trading program set up by the EU to cut greenhouse gases. The 21 countries are allowed to generate a maximum of 1.83 billion tons of emissions between 2005 and 2007 and about 9,400 polluting industries are allowed to sell parts of their individual allowance to other companies if they did not need to use their full limit. But environmental groups said that the surpluses were due to the fact that there were too many credits available to industry. The commission said it was now awaiting new allocation plans from EU governments for the 2008-2012 period. See http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-eu-greenhouse-gases,1,264889.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

INTERNATIONAL INSURER RELEASES POLICY ON CLIMATE CHANGE:

The world's largest insurer, American International Group, Inc., became the first major U.S. insurer to adopt a policy on climate change, saying it would develop projects to keep greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. The policy acknowledges the harmful effects of greenhouse gases, which include auto emissions, factory pollutants, and other gases that trap heat inside the earth's atmosphere and cause water temperatures to rise. Warmer water could give rise to even more hurricanes, which cased more than $100 billion in damages to the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005 alone. The company said it would address the problem of climate change through "market-based solutions" such as an investment strategy that would combine financial value with reducing greenhouse gases. It could offer private equity investments to technologies that cut greenhouse gas, it said, and put money into forestry assets and projects that trade renewable carbon credits. See http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/36398/newsDate/17-May-2006/story.htm

EU MORATORIUM ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS ILLEGAL:

The World Trade Organization confirmed in a final ruling that an EU moratorium on foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) was illegal. The 1,000-page report, which will not be officially released until June, found that by not approving GMO products between 1998 and 2004, the EU was applying an effective moratorium. This constituted "undue delay" and therefore violated trade rules. The verdict also condemned six member states--Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Luxembourg--for applying their own bans on a number of GMO products previously approved by the European Commission. Yet the ruling should not impact current policy. The EU said there was no need for a rule change because the six-year moratorium on approving GMOs ended in 2004. Manufacturers have also withdrawn virtually all products covered by the individual state bans with the exception of a couple in Austria. The decision, in a case brought by the United States, Canada, and Argentina, the world's biggest GMO producers, did not address whether GMOs are safe or whether they can be considered comparable to conventional products. See http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/36326/newsDate/12-May-2006/story.htm

CHINA TO COMPLETE CONCRETE WORK ON THREE GORGES DAM:

After 13 years of construction, China announced that concrete work on the Three Gorges Dam would conclude on May 20, ahead of schedule. The project, with 25,000 workers and a budget of $24 billion, is China's most ambitious engineering undertaking since the Great Wall and is the world's largest hydroelectric project. It has also been quite controversial, displacing more than a million villagers surrounding the Yangtze River. And despite the project's huge cost, critics say that the dam will produce only 2% of China's electricity by 2010. Moreover, environmentalists have warned that the backup of water behind the dam could end up as a giant waste-collection pool for Chongqing, China's largest urban conglomeration about 250 miles upstream. According to Chinese officials, however, the government has set aside $5 billion to build sewage treatment plants around Chongqing and other upstream cities, and tests so far show that the water quality has not suffered, even though water has been backing up for several years. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/17/AR2006051702157.html?sub=AR

FISH STOCKS BEING OVERDEPLETED, SAYS REPORT:

WWF International and TRAFFIC International issued a report, Follow the Leader: Learning From Experience and Best Practice in Regional Fisheries Management Organizations, concluding that fish stocks in international waters are being overdepleted to the point of extinction. According to the report, illegal fishing and bottom-trawling in deep waters are the primary culprits. But the report also criticized governments. "Vast over-capacity in authorized fleets, over-fishing of stocks . . . the virtual absence of robust rebuilding strategies . . . and a lack of precaution where information is lacking or uncertain are all characteristic of the management regimes currently in place," the report said. A meeting on the United Nations (UN) Fish Stocks Agreement will be held from May 22 through 26 in New York, and the authors of the report have urged the UN to take this issue seriously. For more information or to download the report, visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4996268.stm

Copyright© 2006, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.

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