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Weekly Update Volume 37, Issue 11

04/16/2007

LITIGATION

WATER LAW, IRRIGATION CANAL, INJUNCTION:

The Ninth Circuit vacated a temporary injunction halting work on a Bureau of Reclamation project to line an unlined portion of the All-American Canal with concrete. The All-American Canal is one of the world’s largest irrigation canals, carrying water from the Colorado River to the Imperial Valley in California. Proponents contend the lining project will save thousands of acre-feet of water for American water users, while opponents claim that the project will unlawfully prevent water from seeping into the ground and reaching wetlands and irrigated lands in Mexico's Mexicali Valley. Community and environmental groups filed suit challenging the project, and their claims were dismissed. The Ninth Circuit then temporarily enjoined the project pending an appeal of the case. While the appeal was pending, Congress enacted and the president signed the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, which requires the project to proceed "notwithstanding any provision of law." This Act therefore renders the groups' NEPA, ESA, Migratory Bird Act, and Settlement Act claims moot. In addition, the district court lacks jurisdiction over the groups' takings claim, which must be asserted before the Court of Federal Claims. And the remaining claims are barred by sovereign immunity. Accordingly, the injunction must be lifted. Conseqo de Desarrollo Economico de Mexicali, A.C. v. United States, Nos. 06-16345, 37 ELR 20078 (9th Cir. Apr. 6, 2007) (40 pp.).

ESA, BIOLOGICAL OPINION:

The Ninth Circuit upheld a lower court decision rejecting NOAA-Fisheries' 2004 biological opinion addressing the effects of the proposed operation of Federal Columbia River Power System dams and facilities on salmon and steelhead in the lower Columbia and Snake rivers. The biological opinion found that proposed operations for 2004 through 2014 would not jeopardize the 13 area salmonid species that are listed as threatened or endangered nor adversely modify their critical habitat in violation of the ESA. The biological opinion's jeopardy analysis, however, was structurally flawed, rendering it incompatible with ESA. The opinion's analysis of impacts on critical habitat was defective as well. The lower court judgment, therefore, was proper. Nor was the lower court's chosen remedy an abuse of discretion. Requiring consultation with states and tribes constituted a permissible procedural restriction rather than an impermissible substantive restraint. National Wildlife Federation v. National Marine Fisheries Service, Nos. 06-35011, -35019, 37 ELR 20079 (9th Cir. Apr. 9, 2007) (35 pp.).

WETLANDS, EXHAUSTION, FUTILITY:

The Seventh Circuit upheld the dismissal of landowners' takings claim against a city for allowing their land to become flooded due to city-owned storm-water detention ponds and a waste water treatment facility. The flooding transformed their land from farmland to wetlands. The landowners filed an inverse condemnation suit in state court, but before completing their state-court proceeding they filed the present suit in federal court seeking just compensation under federal constitutional law. They justify this short-circuiting of the state courts on the ground that state law is so clearly against them that it would be futile to proceed to final judgment in those courts. Despite the antiquity of state law precedent, their action in state court is not futile given the intervening changes in the legal status of wetlands. Hence, the landowners failed to exhaust their state judicial remedies and their case was properly dismissed. Rockstead v. City of Crystal Lake, No. 06-1286, 37 ELR 20080 (7th Cir. Apr. 10, 2007) (9 pp.).

CWA, WETLANDS, JURISDICTION:

A district court upheld a lower court decision permanently enjoining defendants from discharging dredge and fill material on wetlands adjacent to tributaries of the navigable Ohio and Green Rivers in Kentucky without complying with the CWA. The court rejected the defendants' argument that the wetlands at issue were not jurisdictional because they do not meet Justice Scalia's test in Rapanos v. United States, 126 S. Ct. 2208, 36 ELR 20116 (2006). Rather, it ruled that jurisdiction can be established pursuant to either Justice Kennedy's "significant nexus" test or Justice Scalia's "relatively permanent," "continuous surface connection" test. Here, the wetlands in question, both alone and in combination with other area wetlands, "significantly affect the chemical, physical, and biological integrity" of the Green River, a traditional navigable-in-fact water. Moreover, the wetlands have a continuous surface connection with various tributaries of the Green River, making it difficult to determine where the water ends and the wetland begins. The wetlands at issue, therefore, constitute "waters of the United States" under the CWA as defined by both Justice Kennedy's test and the plurality's test in Rapanos, and the United States properly exercised jurisdiction over the site. United States v. Cundiff, No. CIV.A. 4:01CV-6-M, 37 ELR 20082 (W.D. Ky. Mar. 29, 2007) (McKinley, J.) (6 pp.).

CWA, WETLANDS, JURISDICTION:

A district court held that a landowner is liable under CWA §301 for filling wetlands without a permit. Applying Justice Kennedy's test in Rapanos v. United States, 126 S. Ct. 2208, 36 ELR 20116 (2006), the court held that the wetlands at issue are jurisdictional. The United States has produced evidence that the ditch adjacent to the wetland at issue is a navigable body of water, and the landowner failed to adequately refute that evidence. In addition, the landowner "added" a pollutant to waters of the United States. The court rejected the landowner's argument that his activities fell under the incidental fallback exception because he failed to demonstrate that the material fell back into substantially the same place as the initial removal. The landowner also failed to comply with a prior EPA order requiring him to restore the filled wetlands. However, the court denied the U.S. government's summary judgment motion for injunctive relief and damages at this stage of the litigation. United States v. Fabian, No. 2:02-CV-495, 37 ELR 20083 (N.D. Ind. Mar. 29, 2007) (Lozano, J.) (12 pp.).

RCRA, CERCLA, CONTRIBUTION:

A district court held that a RCRA consent order that does not resolve a party's liability under CERCLA cannot form the basis for a later Superfund contribution action. Because of the traditional meaning of contribution, the developing consensus in the case law, and the unpersuasiveness of the manufacturer's policy arguments, the court rejected the manufacturer's argument that the order is an administratively approved settlement within the meaning of CERCLA §113(f)(3)(B). The consent order does not resolve liability with the United States or a state as required by the text of §113. And even if the manufacturer had a §113 claim, the action was time-barred. BASF Catalysts LLC v. United States, No. 05-11241-JLT, 37 ELR 20084 (D. Mass. Mar. 26, 2007) (Tauro, J.) (9 pp.).

CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT, ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT:

A California appellate court held that a county board's certification of an environmental impact report (EIR) and approval of a conditional use permit (CUP) regarding a proposed expansion of a mining operation violated the California Environmental Quality Act. The EIR was inadequate in several respects, including its project description, analysis of impacts on water and traffic, analysis of mitigation measures regarding biological impacts, and certain responses to comments. These deficiencies were prejudicial because they precluded informed decisionmaking and public participation. Therefore, certification of the EIR was a prejudicial abuse of discretion. On remand, the certification and approval must be vacated. San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center v. County of Merced, No. F050232, 37 ELR 20081 (Cal. App. 5th Dist. Apr. 10, 2007) (38 pp.).

Copyright© 2007, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.

THE FEDERAL AGENCIES

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

AIR:

  • EPA announced that the motor vehicle emission budgets in the Atlanta Early Progress SIP are adequate for transportation conformity purposes. 72 FR 17550 (4/9/07).
  • SIP Approvals: Arkansas (revisions to preconstruction permitting rules) 72 FR 18394 (4/12/07). Tennessee (standards for cement kilns) 72 FR 18389 (4/12/07). Wisconsin (PSD permits) 72 FR 18391 (4/12/07).
  • SIP Proposals: Alabama (visible emissions rule) 72 FR 18428 (4/12/07). Minnesota (sulfur dioxide SIP; source specific revision) 72 FR 17461 (4/9/07). Tennessee (standards for cement kilns; see above for direct final rule) 72 FR 18426 (4/12/07). Virginia (eight-hour ozone NAAQS redesignation, motor vehicle emission budgets in maintenance plan, and 2002 base-year inventory) 72 FR 18434 (4/12/07); (eight-hour ozone NAAQS redesignation, motor vehicle emission budgets in maintenance plan, and 2002 base-year inventory; Hampton Roads Area) 72 FR 18602 (4/13/07). Wisconsin (PSD permits; see above for direct final rule) 72 FR 18427 (4/12/07).

HAZARDOUS & SOLID WASTE:

  • EPA entered into a proposed administrative agreement under CERCLA concerning the Continental Steel Corporation hazardous waste Superfund site in Kokomo, Indiana, that requires the settling party to provide an irrevocable right of access to its property during the course of site cleanup and to make certain clean fill available for use at the site. 72 FR 18651 (4/13/07).
  • EPA entered into a settlement agreement under CERCLA for the reimbursement of past response costs incurred at the Anaconda/Milgo Superfund site in Miami, Florida. 72 FR 17551 (4/9/07).

PESTICIDES:

  • EPA announced the availability of the pesticide registration review dockets for trichoderma species and linalool for public comment. 72 FR 18243 (4/11/07).

SAFETY & HEALTH:

  • OSHA proposed to revise the explosives and blasting agents standard in the OSH Act; the revision is intended to enhance the protections provided to employees engaged in the manufacture, storage, sale, transportation, handling, and use of explosives. 72 FR 18791 (4/13/07).

WILDLIFE:

  • FWS designated critical habitat in Solano County, California, for the Suisun thistle and in Contra Costa, Napa, and Solano counties, California, for the soft bird's-beak. 72 FR 18517 (4/12/07).
  • NOAA-Fisheries received a petition to list the black abalone as a threatened or endangered species and to designate critical habitat under the ESA; the agency determined that the petitioned action may be warranted at this time. 72 FR 18616 (4/13/07).
  • NOAA-Fisheries proposed to establish catch accounting requirements for persons who receive, buy, or accept Pacific whiting deliveries of 4,000 pounds or more from vessels using mid-water trawl gear during the primary whiting season. 72 FR 17469 (4/9/07).

DOJ NOTICES OF SETTLEMENT:

  • United States v. Masterwear Corp., No. 05-cv-00373 (S.D. Ind. Mar. 29. 2007). Settling CERCLA defendants must pay $380,000 in past costs and estimated future costs related to the ongoing removal action at the Masterwear Superfund site in Martinsville, Indiana, and must continue to remain responsible under a Unilateral Administrative Order for completing the removal work at the site. 72 FR 18492 (4/12/07).
  • United States v. Montgomery, No. 2:05-CV-0131 (W.D. Mich. Mar. 14, 2007). A settling CAA and CWA defendant that violated the new source performance standards for nonmetallic mineral processing plants must pay a civil penalty of $72,000; must perform the wetlands mitigation they previously agreed to undertake in a prior consent agreement; and must comply with the CAA new source performance standards.72 FR 17581 (4/9/07).

GUIDANCE DOCUMENT:

  • EPA, Grant Guidelines to States for Implementing the Operator Training Provision of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (draft), 72 FR 17896 (4/10/07) (also available from the ELR Guidance & Policy Collection, ELR Order No. AD05044).

Copyright© 2007, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.

THE CONGRESSNote: Citations below are to the Congressional Record (Cong. Rec.).

COMMITTEE ACTION:

  • S. 193 (energy) was reported by the Committee on Foreign Relations. S. Rep. No. 110-54, 153 Cong. Rec. S4436-37 (daily ed. Apr. 12, 2007). The bill would increase cooperation on energy issues between the U.S. government and foreign governments and entities to secure the strategic and economic interests of the U.S.
  • Special Report (energy and natural resources) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 110-47, 153 Cong. Rec. S4304 (daily ed. Apr. 10, 2007). The report is entitled "History, Jurisdiction, and a Summary of Activities of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources during the 109th Congress."

BILLS INTRODUCED:

  • S. 1089 (Murkowski, R-Alaska) (natural gas) would amend the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Act to allow the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects to hire employees more efficiently. 153 Cong. Rec. S4379 (daily ed. Apr. 11, 2007). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
  • S. 1094 (Stabenow, D-Mich.) (agriculture) would reauthorize and provide additional funding for essential agricultural research, extension, education, and related programs, and establish the National Institutes for Food and Agriculture as an independent agency reporting to and coordinating with the Secretary of Agriculture. 153 Cong. Rec. S4437 (daily ed. Apr. 12, 2007). The bill was referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.   
  • S. 1101 (Lincoln, D-Ark.) (energy) would amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to improve energy standards for home appliances. 153 Cong. Rec. S4437 (daily ed. Apr. 12, 2007). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.    
  • S. 1106 (Thune, R-S.D.) (ethanol) would extend the additional duty on ethanol and require an investigation into certain ethanol imports. 153 Cong. Rec. S4437 (daily ed. Apr. 12, 2007). The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.

Copyright© 2007, 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 2007, 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 2007, visit the ELR Archives.

The states below have updates this week:

Arizona Florida Montana Ohio Texas California Kansas New Hampshire Rhode Island Vermont Connecticut Massachusetts New York South Carolina Wisconsin

ARIZONA

Hazardous and Solid Waste:

  • The Department of Environmental Quality is considering amendments to the rules governing the management, treatment, storage, and disposal of special waste. The Department proposes to combine Title 18, Chapter 13, Article 13 (Special Waste) with Chapter 13, Article 16 (Best Management Practices for Petroleum Contaminated Soil) into one rule as Title 18, Chapter 13, Article 13 (Special Waste). See http://www.azsos.gov/public_services/Register/2007/14/docket.pdf (p. 1280)

CALIFORNIA

Air:

  • The Air Resources Board will hold a public hearing to consider adopting a new regulation, section 2449, title 13, California Code of Regulations, to reduce emissions of diesel particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen from in-use off-road diesel vehicles that operate in California. The hearing will be held May 24, 2007. See http://www.oal.ca.gov/pdfs/notice/14z-2007.pdf (p. 587)

CONNECTICUT

Fisheries:

  • The Department of Environmental Protection is soliciting public comment on proposed management activities related to the protection of marine mammals for consistency with the enforceable policies of Connecticut's federally approved Coastal Management Program as contained in Sections 22a-90 through 22a-112 of the Connecticut General Statutes. Comments are due April 24, 2007. See http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?A=2586&Q=336008

FLORIDA

Water:

  • The St. Johns River Water Management District gives notice of proposed amendment of 40C-3.035, Agreements. The purpose of the proposed rule amendment is to incorporate by reference the new water well permitting delegation agreement between the Florida Department of Health-Volusia County Health Department and the St. Johns River Water Management District and delete by reference the existing water well permitting delegation agreement between Volusia County and the St. Johns River Water Management District dated April 21, 1996. See http://faw.dos.state.fl.us/newfaw/FAWVOLUMEFOLDERS2007/3314/3314.html (p. 1560)
  • The St. Johns River Water Management District will hold a public hearing on proposed amendments of 40C-8.031, Minimum Surface Water Levels and Flows and Groundwater Levels. The purpose and effect of the proposed rule amendment will be to adopt minimum levels for the St. Johns River at Lake Monroe in Seminole and Volusia counties. The hearing will be held May 8, 2007. See http://faw.dos.state.fl.us/newfaw/FAWVOLUMEFOLDERS2007/3314/3314.html (p. 1561)
  • The Southwest Florida Water Management District gives notice of proposed amendment of 40D-8.624, Guidance and Minimum Levels for Lakes. The proposed amendments establish minimum lake levels and guidance levels for Crews Lake, Lake Iola, Jessamine Lake, Pasco Lake, Pierce Lake, and Unnamed Lake Number 22 (aka Loyce Lake) in Pasco County, Florida, based on the District's current minimum lake level establishment methodology described in Rule 40D-8.624, F.A.C. The proposed amendments also repeal guidance levels previously adopted for these lakes. See http://faw.dos.state.fl.us/newfaw/FAWVOLUMEFOLDERS2007/3314/3314.html (p. 1562)

KANSAS

Air:

  • The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Bureau of Air and Radiation, held a public hearing to consider the adoption of proposed air quality regulations K.A.R. 28-19-720 (New Source Performance Standards and Mercury), K.A.R. 28-19-728 and 28-19-728a through 28-19-728f (Mercury), K.A.R. 28-19-735 (NESHAPs), and K.A.R. 28-19-750 (Maximum Achievable Control Technology). The Department also considered the adoption of a Mercury Emissions Control Implementation Plan at this hearing to satisfy the requirements of CAA §111. The primary purpose of the proposed amendments to K.A.R. 28-19-720, 28-19-735, and 28-19-750 is to incorporate by reference changes made to the respective federal standards since the last update of the state regulations in 2003. Amendments to these regulations will align them with the requirements of federal regulations for standards of performance for new sources of air pollution emissions and federal regulations for hazardous air pollutants. These regulations adopt the respective federal standards for stationary sources of air pollutant emissions as state-enforceable requirements. Kansas' adoption of these regulations does not create any new requirements, however, as facilities are already subject to the federal rules. The hearing was held April 5, 2007. See http://www.kdheks.gov/bar/download/700_series_public_notice.pdf

Toxic Substances:

  • The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Division of Environment, Bureau of Air and Radiation, will conduct a public hearing to consider the adoption of a series of proposed revocations, amendments, and new regulations to KSA 48-1601 concerning radiation. The hearing will be held April 25, 2007. See http://www.kdheks.gov/radiation/pubnotice/Public_Hearing_Notice.pdf

MASSACHUSETTS

Toxic Substances:

  • The Department of Environmental Protection has rescheduled the public hearings on proposed amendments to 310 CMR 70.00 and new chapters 310 CMR 74.00 and 310 CMR 75.00, and is extending the deadline for submittal of comments.  The hearings will be held April 30, 2007, and May 1, 2 and 3, 2007. Comments are due May 14, 2007. See http://www.mass.gov/dep/public/hearings/hgphase1.htm

Water:

  • The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a series of public hearings on proposed stormwater revisions to 310 CMR 10.00 and 314 CMR 9.00. The revisions are intended to encourage stormwater recharge, the increased use of low impact development techniques, improved operation and maintenance of stormwater best management practices, and the removal of illicit connections from stormwater management systems. The hearings will be held May 1, 2, and 3, 2007. See http://www.mass.gov/dep/public/publiche.htm#310cmr4
  • The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a series of public hearings on proposed Asbestos-in-Soil Regulations, 310 CMR 40.0000, 310 CMR 7.15, and 310 CMR 19.000. The proposed amendments are intended to clarify and streamline requirements for assessment and cleanup of asbestos that has been released to the environment. The hearings will be held May 7, 8, 10, 14, and 16, 2007. See http://www.mass.gov/dep/public/publiche.htm#310cmr4
  • The Department of Environmental Protection is soliciting public comment on a draft TMDL for Northeast Regional Mercury. Informational meetings will be held April 20, 2007, and May 1, 2007. Comments are due May 25, 2007. See http://www.mass.gov/dep/public/publiche.htm

MONTANA

Water:

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Water:

  • The Department of Environmental Services will hold a public hearing on proposed amendments to Env-Wt 501.02, Env-Wt 800, Env-Wt 501.5, relating to wetland mitigation. The hearing will be held May 4, 2007. Comments are due May 14, 2007. See http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rules/april-6-07.pdf (p. 9)

NEW YORK

Air:

  • The Department of Environmental Conservation gives notice that proposed ENV-43-06-00008-P has been withdrawn from consideration. The proposed rule is being withdrawn to remove references to the eight-hour ozone nonattainment designations as a result of a D.C. Circuit decision dated December 22, 2006. See http://www.dos.state.ny.us/info/register/2007/apr11/pdfs/rules.pdf (p. 5)
  • The Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a series of public hearings on proposed rule ENVR-15-07-00007-P to modify the definition of "nonattainment area" to conform with federal requirements. The hearings will be held May 15, 16, and 17, 2007. Comments are due May 22, 2007. See http://www.dos.state.ny.us/info/register/2007/apr11/pdfs/rules.pdf (p. 5)
  • The Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a series of public hearings on proposed rule amendments to Part 200 of Title 6 NYCRR. The amendment would incorporate by reference the federal NESHAP regulations, amendments to the guidelines for existing large municipal waster combusters, and new guidelines for existing other solid waste incinerators. The hearings will be held May 15, 16, and 19, 2007. Comments are due May 24, 2007. See http://www.dos.state.ny.us/info/register/2007/apr11/pdfs/rules.pdf (p. 6)
  • The Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a series of public hearings on proposed amendments to Parts 200, 243, 244, and 245 of Title 6 NYCRR. The proposed amendments would establish a cap-and-trade program designed to mitigate the transport of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide. The hearings will be held May 15, 16, and 17, 2007. Comments are due May 22, 2007. See http://www.dos.state.ny.us/info/register/2007/apr11/pdfs/rules.pdf (p. 6)

OHIO

Toxic Substances:

RHODE ISLAND

Water:

  • The Department of Environmental Management will hold a public meeting to discuss the draft Northeast Regional Mercury TMDL study. The meeting will be held April 25, 2007. Comments are due May 25, 2007. See http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/benviron/water/quality/rest/pdfs/nehgtmdl.pdf
  • The Department of Environmental Management will hold four regional public meetings to discuss new draft water quality restoration studies and recommended strategies for restoring water quality to a number of nutrient-impaired or eutrophic ponds throughout the state. The meetings will be held April 17, 24, 30 and May 2, 2007. See http://www.dem.ri.gov/news/2007/pr/0404072.htm

SOUTH CAROLINA

Hazardous and Solid Waste:

  • The Department of Health and Environmental Control will hold a series of public meetings on proposed revisions to the state's UST control regulations. The revisions are necessary in order to incorporate requirements of the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005. The meetings will focus on delivery prohibition, operator training, secondary containment, and manufacturer/installer financial responsibility and certification. The meetings will be held April 13, 18, 20, 26, and May 4, 2007. See http://www.scdhec.gov/lwm/pubs/notices/ustreg.pdf

TEXAS

Fisheries:

VERMONT

Water:

WISCONSIN

Air:

  • The Department of Natural Resources will hold a series of public hearings on proposed changes to the state's mercury rule. The Department has proposed revisions to NR 446, which requires each utility with coal-fired electrical generating units affected by the federal Clean Air Mercury Rule to meet an annual mercury emissions cap. The hearings will be held May 15, 17, 22, 23, and 24, 2007. See http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/caer/ce/news/hearmeet.html

Copyright© 2007, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.

INTERNATIONAL

REPORT SAYS CHINA WILL TAKE PART IN POST-KYOTO TALKS

Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported Saturday that China will take part in negotiations on a post-Kyoto framework for limiting global warming in 2012. China, the world's second-largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, is not subject to binding targets under the Kyoto Protocol. China is expected to issue this announcement during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's upcoming visit to Japan. Also, in late April, China is set to unveil a plan to address global warming that will include policies for cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions. See http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSKIM04099320070410

INDIA INCREASES PROTECTION FOR ASIATIC LIONS

On April 7th, Indian officials announced a strengthened plan to protect the country's Asiatic lions, including over 300 new security guards and closed-circuit TV cameras. The government of the Indian state of Gujarat, home of the Gir wildlife sanctuary, set up an Asiatic Lion Protection Cell in response to 10 lion deaths in the last six weeks. Poachers were responsible for six of these deaths. An additional 21 lions have died in the last five years, prompting state officials to make these changes. See http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSDEL21256220070410

AUSTRALIA SEEKS SUPPORT FOR DEFORESTATION FUND

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has announced a plan to request contributions from other nations for a new fund backed by the World Bank to combat deforestation and global warming. He said the Australian government would allocate A$200 million (US $161 million) over five years to the fund to help stop forest destruction, largely in Indonesia, where illegal logging strips 5.2 million acres of forest each year. Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull said, "This is our big chance to give the world a breathing space." Australia's money would allow satellite and radar monitoring of the logging problem, as well as tree planting. Critics said Howard should halt logging of natural forests at home before pointing the finger at developing nations. See http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/SYD95120.htm

Copyright© 2007, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.

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