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Weekly Update Volume 37, Issue 19

07/09/2007

LITIGATION

ESA, CWA:

The U.S. Supreme Court held that EPA did not violate ESA §7(a)(2) when it transferred NPDES permitting authority to Arizona under CWA §402(b) without first reviewing the effect of that decision on the state's 60 threatened and endangered species. Because §7(a)(2)'s no-jeopardy duty covers only discretionary agency actions, it does not attach to actions--like the NPDES permitting transfer authorization--that an agency is required by statute to undertake once certain specified triggering events have occurred. CWA §402(b)'s "shall approve" language is mandatory and its list exclusive; if the nine specified criteria are satisfied, EPA does not have the discretion to deny a transfer application. Hence, ESA §7(a)(2) does not effectively operate as a 10th criterion on which EPA's transfer of certain permitting powers to state authorities under CWA §402(b) must be conditioned. In addition, because an agency cannot simultaneously obey the differing mandates of ESA §7(a)(2) and CWA §402(b), the statutory language does not itself provide clear guidance as to which command must give way. Thus, it is appropriate to look to the implementing agency's expert interpretation, which harmonizes the statutes by applying ESA §7(a)(2) to guide agencies' existing discretionary authority but not reading it to override express statutory mandates. EPA's interpretation, therefore, is reasonable in light of the statute's text and the overall statutory scheme and is therefore entitled to Chevron deference. The case has particular significance for other states, such as Alaska, that are seeking NPDES permitting authority from EPA. Alito, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C.J., and Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas, JJ., joined. Stevens, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., joined. Breyer, J., filed a dissenting opinion. National Ass'n of Home Builders v. Defenders of Wildlife, Nos. 06-340, -549, 37 ELR 20153 (U.S. June 25, 2007) (61 pp.).

CAA, TITLE V PERMITS:

The Eleventh Circuit upheld an EPA order in which it declined to object to a CAA Title V permit granted to a power company by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division for the operation and construction of a major stationary source. An environmental group objected to the permit on grounds that the company is a part owner of another major stationary source that is not compliant with the CAA and therefore in violation of the Georgia Statewide Compliance Rule. But the term "owner . . . of . . . [a] major stationary source[ ]" is ambiguous. Nothing in the statutory language of the CAA or the Georgia rule answers the question of how EPA should define the phrase "owner . . . of . . . [a] major stationary source[ ]" for purposes of evaluating whether the power company should be denied a permit. The CAA and the Georgia rule do not speak in terms of ownership or operation of individual sources in a major stationary source. Instead, the language of these regulations refers, in a monolithic sense, to owning or operating a major stationary source. Neither Congress nor the Georgia legislature has spoken directly to the question of whether a partial owner of a unit within a major stationary source should be considered an owner of the major stationary source as a whole for permitting purposes. Because EPA's interpretation is not arbitrary, capricious, or manifestly contrary to the statute, the court deferred to EPA's decision not to object to the company's Title V permit. Sierra Club v. Administrator, No. 06-10714, 37 ELR 20164 (11th Cir. June 26, 2007) (5 pp.).

NEPA, NFMA, LOGGING:

The Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded a lower court judgment denying environmental groups' motion to preliminarily enjoin the U.S. Forest Service's selective logging of 3,829 acres of forest in the Idaho Panhandle National Forests. The groups demonstrated a probability of success on the merits and a possibility of irreparable injury. The Forest Service failed to prove the reliability of its scientific methodology with regard to wildlife habitat restoration in the project. The groups, therefore, are likely to succeed on their NFMA claim. The groups are also likely to succeed on their claim that the Forest Service violated NEPA by failing to include a full discussion of the scientific uncertainty surrounding its strategy for improving wildlife habitat. In addition, the groups showed that the balance of hardships and the public interest favored granting the preliminary injunction. The permanent and certain harm of violating the environmental laws outweighs the speculative harm that might result from a failure to engage in a statutorily prohibited activity, and the public interest in preserving nature and avoiding irreparable environmental injury outweighs economic concerns. Lands Council v. McNair, No. 07-35000, 37 ELR 20160 (9th Cir. July 2, 2007) (29 pp.).

NUCLEAR WASTE, NATIVE AMERICANS:

The D.C. Circuit held unripe a petition challenging the NRC's decision to grant a license permitting the construction and operation of a spent nuclear fuel storage facility on land belonging to the Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians in Utah. After the NRC approved the license, the BLM and the Bureau of Indian Affairs denied applications for rights-of-way and a lease, respectively. Because it is speculative whether the project will ever be able to proceed given these denials, the petitioners' challenge is unripe. The court, therefore, directed that the case be held in abeyance. Devia v. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Nos. 05-1419 et al., 37 ELR 20162 (D.C. Cir. June 26, 2007) (5 pp.).

RCRA, USTs:

A district court denied motions for summary judgment brought by the current or former owners of underground petroleum storage tanks who were sued under RCRA by the owner of neighboring property. The UST owners argued that groundwater contamination at the site does not present an imminent and substantial endangerment, but the presence of contaminants in the groundwater exceeds the recommended allowable limits. They also argued that while the neighboring property owner may be able to prove that some leakage has occurred, the owner is unable to produce any evidence suggesting that the leakage can be attributed to any of the defendants. Yet there is conflicting evidence with regard to ownership, control, and groundwater migration. Defendants further contend that there is no evidence that the USTs in question have leaked or are leaking. Again, there is evidence creating a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the USTs in question have leaked or are leaking. The court, therefore, denied defendants' motion for summary judgment. The court also rejected the defendants' argument that the neighboring property owner is not entitled to the relief it is seeking under RCRA and that his claim is barred by laches. K-7 Enterprises, L.P. v. Jester, No. 4:06-CV-57, 37 ELR 20163 (E.D. Tex. June 20, 2007) (Schell, J.) (9 pp.).

LIQUIFIED NATURAL GAS, NATURAL GAS ACT, COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT ACT:

A district court upheld an amendment to a county zoning regulation that prohibits the siting of liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas of Baltimore County, Maryland. The amendment is not preempted by the Natural Gas Act and is within the delegated authority of the state of Maryland and Baltimore County under the state's Coastal Zone Management Act, which was approved by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce in 1978. Nor does the amendment discriminate on its face or unduly burden interstate and foreign commerce in violation of the dormant Commerce Clause. AES Sparrows Point LNG, LLC v. Smith, No. RDB-07-325, 37 ELR 20161 (D. Md. June 22, 2007) (Bennett, J.) (9 pp.).

CLEANUP COSTS, CONTRACTS:

A district court held that the current owner of a 28-acre piece of property abutting the Passaic River in Kearny, New Jersey, is liable to the past owner of the site for various environmental cleanup costs incurred and to be incurred at the site. In 1989, the past owner and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection entered into a consent order requiring the past owner to investigate contamination at the site and assess possible remediation strategies. In 1994, the past owner began remediation work pursuant to a state-approved work plan. Also in 1994, the past owner entered into a purchase agreement with the current owner. And in 2004, the past owner entered into an EPA consent order under which it became a settling party for contamination in the Lower Passaic River. The past owner now seeks contribution from the current owner. The court held that under the 1994 purchase agreement, the current owner must indemnify the past owner for any and all costs for which the past owner is or becomes liable to the state or EPA concerning the past or future remediation of the Lower Passaic River and the cleanup of the Kearny Site. Both the language of the purchase agreement and the testimony offered at trial compel the conclusion that any liability for the cleanup costs incurred by the past owner should be assigned, under the agreement, to the current owner. In addition, the current owner's refusal to reimburse the past owner for cleanup costs constitutes a breach of the purchase agreement. The past owner, therefore, has the right to reenter and terminate the estate granted to the current owner. Pharmacia Corp. v. Motor Carrier Services Corp., No. 04-3724, 37 ELR 20166 (D.N.J. June 22, 2007) (Brown, C.J.) (15 pp.).

PROPERTY LAW, STANDING:

The Connecticut Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision holding that a conservancy group lacked standing under the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) to challenge a municipal development plan that called for the condemnation of property and demolition of buildings. The group sought to enjoin the plan, alleging that the city's approval of the environmental impact evaluation and its adoption of the development plan were invalid as the result of certain procedural defects. The lower court erroneously dismissed the complaint on the ground that the group had failed to make a colorable claim of unreasonable pollution under CEPA §22a-16. The complaint contains allegations of fact sufficient to support an inference that the implementation of the development plan would pose a risk of unreasonable harm to water quality, wildlife, air quality, and undeveloped land. The group also alleged far more than a mere "but for" relationship between the city's conduct and the resulting unreasonable harm to the environment. In addition, the complaint is not moot even though the plan is now 80% complete. And although the action was brought in an improper venue, it should not be dismissed. Instead, it should be transferred to the appropriate judicial district. Fort Trumbell Conservancy, LLC v. City of New London, No. SC 17753, 37 ELR 20155 (Conn. July 3, 2007) (20 pp.).

NEGLIGENCE, TOXIC SUBSTANCES:

New York's highest court upheld a lower court decision denying a motion to dismiss individuals' lawsuit alleging that a city's negligence in creating and maintaining the Pelham Bay Landfill resulted in elevated levels of toxic substances that caused the individuals to develop acute lymphoid leukemia or Hodgkin's disease. The city's motion to dismiss was not converted to one for summary judgment. Hence, the individuals were not put on notice of their obligation to make a complete record and to come forward with any evidence that could possibly be considered. Nonnon v. City of New York, No. 88, 37 ELR 20154 (N.Y. June 27, 2007) (4 pp.).

INSURANCE, POLLUTION EXCLUSION CLAUSE:

The Arkansas Supreme Court reversed a lower court's grant of summary judgment against an insurance company for underlying claims concerning groundwater and soil contamination stemming from a gasoline station's leaking fuel-dispensing system. The lower court did not err in finding that the policy was ambiguous as to whether gasoline was excluded under the policy's pollution exclusion clause. The insurance company, however, submitted extrinsic evidence in favor of its interpretation that gasoline was excluded under the policy. The lower court should have considered that evidence to resolve the ambiguity, but it did not. The case was therefore reversed and remanded. State Auto Property & Casualty Insurance Co. v. Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, No. 06-1480, 37 ELR 20165 (Ark. June 14, 2007) (6 pp.).

CERCLA, WRONGFUL DEATH ACTIONS:

A Florida appellate court held that CERCLA's federally required commencement date only applies to personal injury claims, not wrongful death claims. The court, therefore, upheld a lower court decision dismissing a wrongful death claim against a transportation company under Florida law. The plaintiff alleged that the cancer that took the decedent's life was caused by toxic environmental contamination released from a coal tar creosote plant owned by the company. The decedent died more than four years before the plaintiff filed suit. The trial court, therefore, ruled that the action was barred by the two-year statute of limitations. On appeal, the plaintiff argued that Florida law, with respect to the accrual of the plaintiff's action, is preempted by CERCLA, which contains a provision modifying the accrual date for actions for personal injury caused by hazardous substances. While CERCLA establishes a federally required commencement date that preempts any earlier accrual date applicable under state law, the plaintiff's wrongful death claim does not fall within the scope of the federal commencement date. There is a well-established distinction between wrongful death claims and personal injury claims, and CERCLA's federally required commencement date is only applicable to personal injury claims. Lee v. CSX Transportation, Inc., No. 2D06-1416, 37 ELR 20156 (Fl. Dist. Ct. App. June 22, 2007) (11 pp.).

PROPERTY LAW, PERMITS:

A New Jersey appellate court upheld the denial of a landowner's general permit application to build a single-family home on her beach property. The state agency concluded that the property is located within a dune. Consequently, it denied the permit under the New Jersey Coastal Area Facility Review Act. The court ruled that the agency's expertise in this matter is entitled to deference. Vogel v. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, No. A-2017-05T1, 37 ELR 20157 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. June 25, 2007) (7 pp.).

STATE POLLUTANT DISCHARGE ELIMINATION SYSTEM PERMITS, RULEMAKING:

A New Jersey appellate court upheld a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection denial of a utility's application for a modification to its New Jersey pollutant discharge elimination system (NJPDES) permit with respect to the concentration of phosphorus allowed in the utility's permitted discharges into the Wallkill River. The agency based its denial on the utility's failure to support its application with a phosphorus evaluation study conducted pursuant to an approved work plan, as required by the agency's Technical Manual for Phosphorus Evaluations for NJPDES Discharge to Surface Water Permits (Manual). The utility submitted a phosphorus evaluation study in support of its application, but the agency refused to consider it because it was not conducted in accordance with a work plan pre-approved by the agency. The utility argued that the agency's application of the Manual constitutes illegal rulemaking and was not a proper basis for the agency to refuse to consider its study. The agency, however, acted within the scope of its authority in requiring the utility to obtain pre-approval of its work plan. The Manual's requirement for submission to the agency for pre-approval of work plans for phosphorus studies need not be embodied in a formal rule because this is nothing more than a logical extension of the agency's existing authority contained in statutory enactments and regulations. Thus, even without the Manual, the agency could reasonably require pre-approval of a work plan. In addition, the court found no impropriety in the agency's denial of the utility's request for a stay of its phosphorus effluent limitations. Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority v. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, No. A-4723-05T2, 37 ELR 20158 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. June 27, 2007) (36 pp.).

AIR PERMIT, FINAL ORDER:

A Wisconsin appellate court affirmed a lower court decision dismissing an environmental group's petition for judicial review of an administrative law judge (ALJ) order concerning an air emission permit issued by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for the construction of a new electric-generating facility. The group disputed the adequacy of the emission limits in the permit and sought a hearing before the ALJ. The ALJ issued a "Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order" that rejected several contentions advanced by the group for lower emission limits, but found that certain emission limits in the permit did not satisfy requirements for best available control technology. The ALJ, therefore, affirmed the agency's decision to issue the permit but ordered certain modifications. Because the administrative order directed the agency to make certain modifications to the permit that involved the exercise of the agency's discretion, it was not a final order. The lower court, therefore, properly denied the group's petition for judicial review. Sierra Club v. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, No. 2006AP2653, 37 ELR 20159 (Wis. Ct. App. June 28, 2007) (16 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 amended the national emission standards for primary copper smelting area sources and secondary copper smelting area sources published on January 23, 2007 (72 FR 2929). 72 FR 36363 (7/3/07).
  • EPA proposed to amend the national emission standards for primary copper smelting area sources and secondary copper smelting area sources published on January 23, 2007 (72 FR 2929); see above for direct final rule 72 FR 36415 (7/3/07).
  • EPA denied four petitions for reconsideration of a final rule published on April 28, 2006, (71 FR 25327) that promulgated federal implementation plans for the Clean Air Interstate Rule and responded to a CAA §126 petition from North Carolina to reduce interstate transport of fine particulates and ozone. 72 FR 35354 (6/28/07).
  • EPA announced the availability of information gathered and presented in a report concerning the potential changes in hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) consumption and emissions from the proposed adjustments to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer; the report is titled Changes in HCFC Consumption and Emissions From the U.S. Proposed Adjustments for Accelerating the HCFC Phaseout. 72 FR 35230 (6/27/07).
  • SIP Approvals: Idaho (interstate transport of air pollutants) 72 FR 35015 (6/26/07). Iowa (air pollution update) 72 FR 35018 (6/26/07). Kentucky (eight-hour NAAQS redesignation request, ozone maintenance plan, and motor vehicle emission budgets for nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)) 72 FR 33601 (7/5/07). Ohio (criteria pollutant and toxic emissions from hospital, medical, and infectious waste incinerators) 72 FR 36605 (7/5/07). Pennsylvania (eight-hour NAAQS redesignation request, maintenance plan, and 2002 base-year inventory for Tioga County) 72 FR 36892 (7/6/07); (eight-hour NAAQS redesignation request, maintenance plan, and 2002 base-year inventory for the Lancaster Area) 72 FR 36889 (7/6/07). Washington (interstate transport of air pollutants) 72 FR 35015 (6/26/07).
  • SIP Proposals: Delaware (control of VOC emissions from crude oil lightering operations) 72 FR 36402 (7/3/07). Idaho (interstate transport of air pollutants; see above for direct final rule) 72 FR 35022 (6/26/07). Iowa (air pollution update; see above for direct final rule) 72 FR 35022 (6/26/07). New Jersey (clean air interstate rule) 72 FR 36406 (7/3/07). Virginia (control of particulate matter from pulp and paper mills) 72 FR 36404 (7/3/07). Washington (interstate transport of air pollutants; see above for direct final rule) 72 FR 35022 (6/26/07).
  • SIP Withdrawal: Florida (PSD program for certain electric power plants) 72 FR 35355 (6/28/07).

HAZARDOUS AND SOLID WASTE:

  • EPA entered into a proposed administrative de minimis settlement under CERCLA and RCRA concerning the Casmalia Superfund site in Santa Barbara County, California, that requires the settling parties to pay $1,067,477 for potential natural resource damage claims and response costs incurred or to be incurred at the site. 72 FR 37016 (7/6/07).
  • EPA entered into a settlement under CERCLA for reimbursement of past response costs incurred at the Climan Transportation of the Carolinas, Inc., Truck Wreck in Livingston, Kentucky. 72 FR 37017 (7/6/07).
  • EPA entered into a proposed administrative settlement under CERCLA concerning the Belden Cribbing Superfund site in Eagle County, Colorado, that requires the settling party to provide the Agency with site access for it and its contractors to conduct necessary response actions within the site; create a temporary access road by removing or covering existing track and ties on its right-of-way to the site; grant permanent access on its right-of-way for a waste rock repository for seep collection systems and for additional rock-fall protection devices; and reimburse the United States a portion of past and estimated future response costs incurred or to be incurred at or in connection with the site. 72 FR 36452 (7/3/07).
  • EPA entered into a settlement under CERCLA for reimbursement of past response concerning the Shuron Inc., Superfund site in Barnwell, South Carolina. 72 FR 35708 (6/29/07).

MINING:

  • OSM approved an amendment to Virginia's regulatory program under SMCRA concerning remining regulations. 72 FR 36595 (7/5/07).

RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL:

  • NRC and Pennsylvania entered into a proposed agreement whereby the NRC would give up, and Pennsylvania would take over, portions of the Commission's regulatory authority exercised within the commonwealth. 72 FR 36069 (7/2/07).

WATER:

  • EPA announced the availability of the draft NPDES general permits for noncontact cooling water (NCCW) discharges to certain waters of Massachusetts and New Hampshire; the permits would replace the NCCW general permits that expired on April 25, 2005, and establish notice of intent requirements, effluent limitations, standards, prohibitions, and management practices for facilities discharging NCCW. 72 FR 36703 (7/5/07).
  • EPA gave notice of its tentative determination to reissue NPDES general permits for facilities or operations that generate, treat, and/or use or dispose of sewage sludge by means of land application, landfill, and surface disposal in EPA Region 8. 72 FR 36453 (7/3/07).
  • EPA announced the establishment of the Total Coliform Rule Distribution System Advisory Committee; the committee will provide advice and make recommendations to the Agency on revisions to the Total Coliform Rule and on what information is needed to better understand the public health impact from the degradation of drinking water quality in distribution systems. 72 FR 35869 (6/29/07).
  • EPA announced that Massachusetts and New Hampshire are revising their respective approved public water system supervision programs to meet the requirements of the SDWA and that it intends to approve the states' program revisions. 72 FR 36454 (7/3/07).

WILDLIFE:

  • FWS proposed revisions to the 2005 special rule for the central Idaho and Yellowstone area nonessential experimental population of the gray wolf in the northern Rocky Mountains. 72 FR 36942 (7/6/07).
  • FWS announced an amended 12-month finding on a petition to list the Sierra Nevada distinct population segment of the mountain yellow-legged frog; the agency revised the preclusion and expeditious progress section of its previous finding, which was published on September 12, 2006 (71 FR 53756). 72 FR 34657 (6/25/07).
  • FWS announced a 12-month finding on a petition to list the Casey's June beetle as endangered under the ESA; the agency found that listing the species is warranted but precluded by higher priority listing actions. 72 FR 36635 (7/5/07).
  • FWS announced the availability of a draft comprehensive conservation plan and EA for the Rice Lake and Mille Lacs National Wildlife Refuges in Minnesota. 72 FR 34711 (6/25/07).
  • FWS announced the availability of the approved revised recovery plan for the endangered plant species running buffalo clover. 72 FR 35253 (6/27/07).
  • FWS announced the availability of the draft economic analysis for the proposed critical habitat designation of the marbled murrelet. 72 FR 35025 (6/26/07).
  • FWS announced that it intends to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan and associated environmental compliance document for the Guam National Wildlife Refuge in Dededo, Guam. 72 FR 37037 (7/6/07).
  • NOAA-Fisheries published its proposed List of Fisheries (LOF) for 2008; the proposed LOF reflects new information on interactions between commercial fisheries and marine mammals. 72 FR 35393 (6/28/07).
  • NOAA-Fisheries expanded the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area and modified regulations pertaining to gillnetting within that area by prohibiting gillnet fishing or gillnet possession during annual restricted periods associated with the right whale calving season to protect northern right whales from serious injury or mortality.72 FR 34632 (6/25/07).
  • NOAA-Fisheries received an ESA status review report for the eastern oyster; after reviewing the information, the agency determined that listing the species as threatened or endangered is not warranted at this time. 72 FR 35388 (6/28/07).

MISCELLANEOUS:

  • The National Park Service and the Secretary of the Interior announced their intent to establish the Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee for Off-Road Vehicle Management at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. 72 FR 35373 (6/28/07).

DOJ NOTICES OF SETTLEMENT:

  • United States v. Beehive Barrel & Drum, Inc., No. 2:04-CV-00570 (TC) (D. Utah June 15, 2007). Settling CERCLA defendants must pay $2,500 in punitive damages to settle their liability for failure to comply with a unilateral order, must pay $7,500 in civil penalties for failure to respond to EPA's information requests, and must pay the proceeds from a sale of stock for reimbursement of response costs incurred in connection with the cleanup of the Service First Barrel and Drum Superfund site in Salt Lake City, Utah. 72 FR 35262 (6/27/07).
  • United States v. City of New Haven, Missouri, No. 4:06CV01429-ERW (E.D. Mo. June 15, 2007). A settling CERCLA defendant must implement the EPA-selected remedy for operable unit three of the Riverfront Superfund site in New Haven, Missouri, and must pay $19,500 in EPA response costs incurred at the site. 72 FR 35262 (6/27/07).
  • United States v. NCH Corp., No. 98-5268 (SDW) (D.N.J. June 12, 2007). A settling CERCLA defendant must pay $1,323,831.80 in reimbursement of past and future response costs incurred at the Higgins Farm and Higgins Disposal Superfund sites in New Jersey and must place agricultural easements on the sites to preserve the properties exclusively for agricultural or conservation use. 72 FR 35263 (6/27/07).
  • United States v. Nevada Power Co., No. 2:07-cv-00771 (D. Nev. June 13, 2007). A settling CAA defendant that violated pre-construction permitting requirements under the PSD program and the SIP for Clark County, Nevada, must pay a $300,000 civil penalty, must fund $400,000 of solar arrays in Las Vegas, Nevada, and must reduce nitrogen oxide emissions through, among other things, the installation of pollution control technologies at the Clark Generating Station in Las Vegas. 72 FR 35263 (6/27/07).
  • United States v. Azusa Pipe & Tube Bending Corp., No. CV06-165 CAS (RZx) (C.D. Cal. June 21, 2007). Settling CERCLA and Solid Waste Disposal Act defendants must pay a total of $11,000,000 and settling federal agencies must pay a total of $595,000 for response costs incurred at the Baldwin Park Operable Unit of the San Gabriel Valley Superfund sites located in and near the cities of Azusa, Baldwin Park, Covina, and Irwindale, California. 72 FR 37053 (7/6/07).
  • United States v. Costello, No. 06-cv-329 (D. Md. June 26, 2007). Settling CWA defendants who discharged pollutants without a permit into waters of the United States and the state of Maryland must restore the impacted areas, must pay a civil penalty, and must make a payment to Maryland's Wetland Compensation fund. 72 FR 37054 (7/6/07).
  • United States v. Soulliere, No. 8:07-cv-00203 (D. Neb. May 24, 2007). Settling CERCLA defendants must pay $100,000 in reimbursement of response costs incurred at the 10th Street Superfund site in Columbus, Nebraska. 72 FR 37054 (7/6/07).

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. 1139 (National Landscape Conservation System) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 110-116, 153 Cong. Rec. S8691 (daily ed. June 28, 2007). The bill would establish the National Landscape Conservation System.
  • S. 1696 (DOI appropriations) was reported by the Committee on Armed Services. S. Rep. No. 110-91, 153 Cong. Rec. S8409 (daily ed. June 26, 2007). The bill would make appropriations for the DOI and for environmental and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008.
  • H.R. 276 (National Landscape Conservation System) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 110-118, 153 Cong. Rec. S8691 (daily ed. June 28, 2007). The bill would designate the Piedras Blancas Light Station and the surrounding public land as an Outstanding Natural Area to be administered as a part of the National Landscape Conservation System.
  • H.R. 658 (protection of natural resources) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 110-105, 153 Cong. Rec. S8410 (daily ed. June 26, 2007). The bill would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to enter into cooperative agreements to protect natural resources of units of the National Park System through collaborative efforts on land inside and outside of the System.
  • H.R. 886 (wilderness areas) was reported by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. Rep. No. 110-121, 153 Cong. Rec. S8691 (daily ed. June 28, 2007). The bill would designate as wilderness certain lower-elevation federal lands in the Skykomish River valley in Washington state to enhance ecosystem protection and the range of outdoor opportunities protected by statute.

BILLS INTRODUCED

  • H.R. 2809 (Inslee, D-Wash.) (global warming) would seek to ensure that the United States leads the world in developing and manufacturing next generation energy technologies, grow the economy of the United States, create new highly trained, highly skilled American jobs, eliminate American overdependence on foreign oil, and address the threat of global warming. 153 Cong. Rec. H6955 (daily ed. June 21, 2007). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
  • H.R. 2813 (Lobiondo, R-N.J.) (mercury) would address the risks of exposure of children to mercury from mercury-contaminated industrial sites. 153 Cong. Rec. H6955 (daily ed. June 21, 2007). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
  • H.R. 2838 (Faleomavaega, D-Am. Sam.) (ocean thermal energy conversion) would enhance the DOE Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program established under title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 by expanding its scope to U.S. government installations worldwide, insular areas of the United States, and those nations in free association with the United States, as well as explicitly authorizing loans for ocean thermal energy conversion projects. 153 Cong. Rec. H7010 (daily ed. June 22, 2007). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
  • H.R. 2841 (Mchugh, R-N.Y.) (wetlands reserve program) would amend the USDA wetlands reserve program to exclude land subject to a state or local set-back requirement unless the Secretary determines that enrollment of the land is essential to restore or preserve wetlands. 153 Cong. Rec. H7010 (daily ed. June 22, 2007). The bill was referred to the Committee on Agriculture.
  • H.R. 2853 (Murphy, D-Pa.) (environmental laws enforcement) would require EPA to promptly notify state and local authorities and the public of certain enforcement actions under environmental laws. 153 Cong. Rec. H7070 (daily ed. June 25, 2007). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
  • H.R. 2854 (Pallone, D-N.J.) (N.J./N.Y. Clean Ozone Zone) would restore, protect, and preserve the natural, chemical, physical, and biological integrity, and the economic potentialities, of the New York/New Jersey Bight through the designation and establishment of the New Jersey/New York Clean Ocean Zone and the regulation of various activities therein. 153 Cong. Rec. H7070 (daily ed. June 25, 2007). The bill was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
  • S. 1697 (Sununu, R-N.H.) (biomass fuel) would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a credit for residential biomass fuel property expenditures. 153 Cong. Rec.S8412 (daily ed. June 26, 2007). The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.
  • S. 1696 (Feinstein, D-Cal.) (DOI appropriations) would make appropriations for the DOI and for environmental and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008. 153 Cong. Rec. S8412 (daily ed. June 26, 2007). The bill was referred from the Committee on Appropriations and placed on the calendar.
  • H.R. 2858 (Terry, R-Neb.) (use of ethanol) would promote the production and use of ethanol. 153 Cong. Rec. H7201 (daily ed. June 26, 2007). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
  • H.R. 2867 (McHenry, R-N.C.) (nonpetroleum-based alternative energy) would authorize the Secretary of Energy to establish a program for making prizes for advanced or transformational technologies for the production, consumption, and distribution of nonpetroleum-based alternative energy and energy efficiency. 153 Cong. Rec. H7201 (daily ed. June 26, 2007). The bill was referred to the Committee on Science and Technology.
  • H.R. 2907 (Kirk, R-Ill.) (FWPCA) would amend the FWPCA to establish a deadline for restricting sewage dumping into the Great Lakes and to fund programs and activities for improving wastewater discharges into the Great Lakes. 153 Cong. Rec. H7430 (daily ed. June 28, 2007). The bill was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
  • H.R. 2913 (Blumenauer, D-Or.) (pollinator habitat) would amend the administrative requirements for conservation programs administered by the USDA to ensure a greater emphasis on increasing habitat for native and managed pollinators and would establish cropping systems, integrated pest management regimes, and other practices to protect native and managed pollinators. 153 Cong. Rec. H7431 (daily ed. June 28, 2007). The bill was referred the Committee on Agriculture.
  • H.R. 2939 (Pallone, D-N.J.) (Atlantic blackfish) would prohibit the commercial harvesting of Atlantic blackfish in the coastal waters and the exclusive economic zone. 153 Cong. Rec. H7433 (daily ed. June 28, 2007). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

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:

Alaska Delaware Kentucky Missouri North Carolina Arizona Georgia Maine Montana Oregon Arkansas Indiana Maryland Nevada Utah California Iowa Massachusetts New Mexico Washington

ALASKA

Land Use:

ARIZONA

Air:

  • The Department of Environmental Quality has adopted changes to several air pollution rules. The amendments correct several technical and typographical errors and internal inconsistencies. This rulemaking includes the repeal of R18-2-718, Standards of Performance for Existing Kraft Pulp Mills, since there are no longer any operating sources of this sort in Arizona; the deletion of the reference to the now-defunct smelter at San Manuel; and the deletion of language in R18-2-729, Standards of Performance for Cotton Gins, which refers to language in R18-2-702, General Provisions, that is no longer applicable. The changes become effective August 4, 2007. See http://www.azsos.gov/public_services/Register/2007/25/final.pdf

General:

ARKANSAS

Air:

  • The Arkansas Pollution Control & Ecology Commission will hold a public hearing to receive comments on proposed revisions to Regulation No. 32, Environmental Professional Certification. Proposed changes to Regulation No. 32 include amendments necessary to comply with the recent Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Consultants’ Act (Act 1018 of 2007). The hearing will be held July 31, 2007. See http://www.adeq.state.ar.us/ftproot/pub/pa/Regulation_Notices/2007-06-22_Reg_32_Update.mht

CALIFORNIA

Toxic Substances:

  • The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is soliciting public comment on the proposed addition of methanol to the list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). Comments are due August 21, 2007. See http://www.oal.ca.gov/pdfs/notice/25z-2007.pdf (pp. 1091-1092)
  • The Department of Pesticide Regulation has amended several rules concerning respiratory protection. This regulatory action adopts and amends provisions of Title 3 regarding respiratory protection measures for pesticide workers. The amendments revise the employers' obligations with respect to employees who are required by pesticide label, restricted materials permit, regulation, or by the employer, to use respirators in the workplace. The amendments provide for an initial confidential "medical evaluation" procedure and require documentation and retention procedures for respiratory programs. Rules become effective January 1, 2008. See http://www.oal.ca.gov/pdfs/notice/25z-2007.pdf (p. 1094)

Water:

  • The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is soliciting public comment on the draft technical support documents for proposed Public Health Goals (PHGs) for 2,4–dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4–D) and chlorite in drinking water. The draft document on 2,4–D is an update of an existing PHG for this chemical, while the document for chlorite is a new risk assessment. Comments are due August 6, 2007. See http://www.oal.ca.gov/pdfs/notice/25z-2007.pdf (pp. 1090-1091)

Wildlife:

  • The Department of Food and Agriculture has adopted additional emergency rules concerning the Light Brown Apple Moth Interior Quarantine. These emergency regulatory actions designate additional portions of many counties, as well as Napa, as quarantine areas with respect to the light brown apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana), which is classified as a federal action pest. The currently affected areas are: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties. http://www.oal.ca.gov/pdfs/notice/25z-2007.pdf (p. 1094)

DELAWARE

Air:

  • The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has adopted permanent rules to regulate and reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from industrial boilers and process heaters at petroleum refineries. Delaware's only petroleum refinery is located near Delaware City, New Castle County, and the Department identified its boilers and process heaters as significant sources of emissions of NOx. See http://regulations.delaware.gov/documents/July2007c.pdf (pp. 75-80)
  • The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has adopted permanent rules for the purpose of regulating and reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from certain larger stationary combustion turbines used for electric generation. See http://regulations.delaware.gov/documents/July2007c.pdf (pp. 80-86)

Water:

  • The Delaware River Basin Commission will hold a public hearing and accept written comment on a revised proposal to amend the agency's Comprehensive Plan and Water Code to establish a Flexible Flow Management Program for the New York City-Delaware Basin Reservoirs for multiple objectives, including, among others: providing safe and reliable supplies of water; managing discharges; assisting in mitigating floods; providing flows in the tailwaters to help sustain cold water fisheries; and providing flows to help protect ecological health, support withdrawal and non-withdrawal uses, and repel salinity. The hearing will be held August 14, 2007. Comments are due August 15, 2007. See http://regulations.delaware.gov/documents/July2007c.pdf (pp. 8-10)

GEORGIA

General:

  • The Georgia Department of Natural Resources will conduct a public hearing on proposed amendments to its Rules for Organization and Public Participation, Chapters 391-1-1-.01 and 391-1-1-.04 through 391-1-1-.06. The Department also proposes amendments to its Rules for Procedures for Disposition of Contested Cases, Chapters 391-1-2-.03 and 391-1-2-.04. The hearing will be held August 29, 2007. Written comments are due August 7, 2007. See http://www.gadnr.org/pdf/Notice_Proposed_Rulemaking.pdf

INDIANA

Air:

  • The Air Pollution Control Board will hold a public hearing on a new rule concerning mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants at 326 IAC 24-4. The hearing will be held October 3, 2007. See http://www.in.gov/legislative/iac/20070627-IR-326050116PHA.xml.html
  • The Air Pollution Control Board will hold a public hearing on amendments concerning new language at 326 IAC 1-1-7, amendments to 326 IAC 20-8-1, 326 IAC 20-13-5, 326 IAC 20-28-1, 326 IAC 20-48-1, and 326 IAC 20-95-1, and the repeal of 326 IAC 20-25. The amendments pertain to the regulation of hazardous air pollutants. The hearing will be held September 5, 2007. See http://www.in.gov/legislative/iac/20070627-IR-326070307PHA.xml.html
  • The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is soliciting public comment on amendments to rules concerning sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter emission limitations for the F.B. Culley Generating Station in Newburgh, Indiana. Comments are due July 20, 2007. See http://www.in.gov/legislative/iac/20070620-IR-326070309FNA.xml.html

IOWA

Hazardous and Solid Waste:

  • The Environmental Protection Commission amended Chapter 101, Solid Waste Comprehensive Planning Requirements, and Chapter 104, Sanitary Disposal Projects with Processing Facilities; rescinded Chapter 111, Financial Assurance Requirements for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills, and Chapter 113, Sanitary Landfills: Municipal Solid Waste; and adopted new Chapter 113, Sanitary Landfills for Municipal Solid Waste:  Groundwater Protection Systems for the Disposal of Nonhazardous Wastes, Iowa Administrative Code. These rules become effective October 1, 2007. See http://www.legis.state.ia.us/Rules/Current/Bulletin/IAB070704.htm

KENTUCKY

Air:

MAINE

Fisheries:

  • The Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission adopted Chapter 1, Rules of the Atlantic Salmon Commission; 1.03, Open Fall Season. This rulemaking creates an annual open fall fishing season for anadromous Atlantic salmon. The season is for a one-month period in the fall, annually, in a specified location on the Penobscot River. The permitted activity will be limited to catch and release by fly fishing only. This rule becomes effective July 3, 2007. See http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/notices/2007/070407.htm
  • The Department of Marine Resources amended several rules, including Chapter 8, Landings Program, Dealer Comprehensive Reporting, Consolidation & Updates. These rules consolidate and update all dealer reporting requirements by standardizing reported data elements and requiring dealers to report on all species landed. Other amended rules include Chapter 50.02, Spiny Dogfish, Trip Limit, proposed increase and notice of quota closure; Chapter 50.03 and Chapter 8, Landings Program, Reporting for Dogfish; Chapter 34, Technical amendments; and Chapter 34.10(1)(A)(5), Methods of mesh measurements. These rules became effective June 25, 2007. See http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/notices/2007/062707.htm

Water:

  • The Maine Department of Environmental Protection adopted amendments to Chapter 529, General Permits for Certain Wastewater Discharges. This is a routine periodic update of an existing rule done to maintain consistency with EPA's parallel regulations and to make various administrative changes. This chapter describes the regulatory requirements for issuance of general permits authorizing the discharge of certain pollutants to waters of the state. This rule became effective June 27, 2007. See http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/notices/2007/070407.htm

MARYLAND

Air:

  • The Secretary of the Environment adopted new Regulations .01—.06 under a new chapter, COMAR 26.11.27, Emission Limitations for Power Plants. The rules become effective July 16, 2007. See http://www.dsd.state.md.us/mdregister/3414/main_register.htm (p. 1246)
  • The Secretary of the Environment will conduct a public hearing on proposed amendments to Regulation .01 under COMAR 26.11.01, General Administrative Provisions, and Regulation .12 under COMAR 26.11.06, General Emission Standards, Prohibitions, and Restrictions. The hearing will be held August 8, 2007. Comments are due August 8, 2007. See http://www.dsd.state.md.us/mdregister/3414/main_register.htm (p. 1304)
  • The Secretary of the Environment will conduct a public hearing on proposed amendments to Regulations .01, .02 and .08 under COMAR 26.11.08, Control of Incinerators. The hearing will be held August 8, 2007. Comments are due August 8, 2007. See http://www.dsd.state.md.us/mdregister/3414/main_register.htm (p. 1306)
  • The Secretary of the Environment will conduct a public hearing on proposed amendments to Regulation .01 and adoption of new Regulation .08 under COMAR 26.11.13, Control of Gasoline and Volatile Organic Compound Storage and Handling. The purpose of this action is to establish reasonable available control technology requirements for marine vessel loading or barge loading. This action will be submitted to U.S. EPA as a revision to Maryland's SIP. The hearing will be held August 8, 2007. Comments are due August 8, 2007. See http://www.dsd.state.md.us/mdregister/3414/main_register.htm (p. 1310)
  • The Secretary of the Environment will conduct a public hearing to consider its proposal to amend Regulations .01—.03, repeal existing Regulations .04 and .05, and adopt new Regulations .04—.09 under COMAR 26.11.17, Nonattainment Provisions for Major New Sources and Major Modifications. The purpose of this action is to establish requirements for the construction of new major sources and major modifications that are compatible with federal requirements. This action will be submitted to U.S. EPA as a revision to Maryland's SIP. The hearing will be held August 8, 2007. Comments are due August 8, 2007. See http://www.dsd.state.md.us/mdregister/3414/main_register.htm (p. 1311)
  • The Secretary of the Environment proposes to adopt new Regulations .01—.08 under a new chapter, COMAR 26.11.28, Clean Air Interstate Rule. The purpose of this action is to adopt U.S. EPA's Clean Air Interstate Rule model rule for the reduction of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions from electric generating units. The reductions, under the model rule, are achieved through a cap-and-trade program more stringent than the federal standard that replaces the existing Nitrogen Oxide Reduction and Trading Program requirements under COMAR 26.11.29 and .30. The hearing will be held August 8, 2007. Comments are due August 8, 2007. See http://www.dsd.state.md.us/mdregister/3414/main_register.htm (p. 1322)

General:

  • The Secretary of Natural Resources is soliciting public comment on the adoption of new Regulation .01 under a new chapter, COMAR 08.01.08, Form and Procedure for Petitions for Declaratory Rulings. The purpose of this action is to adopt procedures for declaratory rulings. Comments are due August 6, 2007. See http://www.dsd.state.md.us/mdregister/3414/main_register.htm (p. 1254)

MASSACHUSETTS

Water:

  • The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing on a new proposed regulation, 310 CMR 10.00, Massachusetts Wetland Protection Regulations, and amendments to 310 CMR 1.00, MassDEP Adjudicatory Hearing Regulations. The regulatory changes are designed to provide for timely and fair adjudicatory hearings in wetland appeals. Hearings will be held July 11 and August 8, 2007. Comments are due August 13, 2007. See http://www.mass.gov/dep/public/hearings/310cmr1.htm

MISSOURI

Air:

  • The Missouri Air Conservation Commission rescinded 10 CSR 10-5.375, Motor Vehicle Emissions Inspection Waiver, and 10 CSR 10-5.380, Motor Vehicle Emissions Inspection. The Commission has adopted 10 CSR 10-5.381, On-Board Diagnostics Motor Vehicle Emissions Inspection. See http://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/moreg/current/2007/v32n13/v32n13a.pdf (pp. 1053-1057)
  • The Missouri Air Conservation Commission has amended two rules in Chapter 6: (1) Air Quality Standards, Definitions, Sampling and Reference Methods; and (2) Air Pollution Control, Regulations for the Entire State of Missouri, including 10 CSR 10-6.075, Maximum Achievable Control Technology, and 10 CSR 10-6.080, Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants. See http://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/moreg/current/2007/v32n13/v32n13a.pdf (p. 1057)

MONTANA

Toxic Substances:

  • The Department of Environmental Quality will conduct a public hearing on the proposed amendment, adoption, and repeal of numerous rules concerning USTs. The hearing will be held July 25, 2007. Comments are due August 3, 2007. See http://sos.mt.gov/arm/Register/archives/MAR2007/MAR07-13.pdf (pp. 915-941)
  • The Department of Environmental Quality will conduct a public hearing in the matter of the amendment of ARM 17.74.401 through 17.74.404 pertaining to the asbestos control program fees. The hearing will be held September 12, 2007. Comments are due September 19, 2007. See http://sos.mt.gov/arm/Register/archives/MAR2007/MAR07-13.pdf (pp. 942-946)

NEVADA

Air:

NEW MEXICO

Land Use:

  • The Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department is reopening and extending the comment period on its proposal to amend 19.20.4.7 NMAC to include piñon and juniper species in the list of commercial species the Forestry Division regulates under 19.20.4 NMAC and NMSA 1978, Section 68-2-1 et seq. Comments are due August 15, 2007. See http://www.nmcpr.state.nm.us/nmregister/xviii/xviii12/Energynotice.htm
  • The Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department adopted an amendment to the Commercial Timber Harvesting Requirements at 19.20.4 NMAC, Sections 5 through 10 and 12 through 15. Rules became effective June 29, 2007. See http://www.nmcpr.state.nm.us/nmregister/xviii/xviii12/xviii12adopted.htm

NORTH CAROLINA

Water:

  • The Soil and Water Conservation Commission will conduct a public hearing on the proposed adoption of the rules cited as 15A NCAC 06I .0101 - .0106. This rule is being proposed to set forth procedures for the Commission to implement and supervise the Community Conservation Assistance Program (CCAP) in accordance with Session Law 2006-78. The CCAP is designed to support the installation of water quality best management practices on non-agricultural lands. The CCAP will focus its efforts on retrofitting stormwater best management practices on existing land uses. The hearing will be held July 17, 2007. Comments are due August 21, 2007. See http://www.ncoah.com/rules/register/Volume22Issue01July22007.pdf (pp. 28-29)

OREGON

Water:

  • The Water Resources Department will conduct a public hearing on proposed administrative rules that establish special area standards for well construction. Specifically, the proposed special area standards would apply to new, altered, converted, or deepened wells in the Petes Mountain area of Clackamas County. The hearing will be held July 23, 2007. See http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/rules/0707_Bulletin/0707_rulemaking_bulletin.html

UTAH

General:

  • The Department of Natural Resources, Geological Survey, is soliciting public comment on proposed rule R638-2, Renewable Energy Systems Tax Credits. The proposed rule lays out requirements and procedures for claiming renewable energy tax credits under Sections 59-7-614, 59-10-1014, and 59-10-1106. Comments are due August 1, 2007. See http://www.rules.utah.gov/publicat/bulletin/2007/20070701/30103.htm

WASHINGTON

Air:

  • The Department of Ecology is soliciting public comment on proposed expedited rules to clean up all of the rules involved with creating chapter 173-455 WAC, the air quality fee rule. For this rulemaking, the Department of Ecology will strike out language related to fees and add in language pointing readers to chapter 173-455 WAC for fee information. Comments are due August 22, 2007. See http://www.leg.wa.gov/documents/wsr/2007/13/07-13-078.htm

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

INTERNATIONAL

DUTCH CITY TO USE GEOTHERMAL HEAT

The Hague has announced an initiative to heat 4,000 homes and numerous industrial buildings through geothermal heat by 2009. The city government, two energy companies, and three housing corporations will invest in the technology and infrastructure necessary to turn heat from a hot well southwest of the city into electricity for domestic and commercial consumption. The project will cost an estimated 46 million euro, but the city has guaranteed that residents purchasing geothermal energy would not be charged more than the average energy rate in the Hague. Alternative energy sources are part of a carbon reduction plan in the city, which aims to be carbon neutral by 2050. See http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=13076

UGANDA BANS PLASTIC BAGS

On July 1, Uganda introduced a ban on lightweight plastic bags made from polythene, known locally as buveera, as part of an initiative to reduce litter. In addition, the country will levy a 120% tax on items made of more heavyweight polythene. These measures are intended to reduce the import and manufacture of the bags, which litter streets and choke waterways, effecting agriculture. Environmental minister Jessica Eriyo defended the dramatic measure as necessary to help the country change its habits to more environmentally friendly practices. See http://allafrica.com/stories/200706280949.html

TWENTY-TWO SITES ADDED TO WORLD HERITAGE LIST

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added 22 new sites to the World Heritage List at a meeting in New Zealand last June. The recently inscribed sites include 16 sites of cultural significance, 5 of natural significance, and 1 mixed site, Gabon’s Lopé-Okanda, which offers opportunities both for scientific research on savannah-tropical forest borderlands and for archaeological investigation of Stone Age and Iron Age relics. Additionally, UNESCO removed Oman’s Arabian Oryx Sanctuary from the list, faulting the country for not taking sufficient measures to ensure its preservation. See http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=38732&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

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

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