[JURIST] In Tuesday's environmental law news, Greenpeace, the international environmental activist group, was allowed to speak for the first time Tuesday before the UN General Assembly. Today is the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the group used the occasion to challenge a proposed resolution that would call for a review of oceanic bottom trawling, arguing instead for an immediate condemnation of the practice. The speech is not yet available online. It is unknown whether Greenpeace will be welcome to make comments in the future. The Greenpeace press release has more.
In other news, Bhutan will enact a full ban on the sale of tobacco and tobacco products beginning tomorrow. While some countries have begun to impose limits on smoking, the small Himalayan country is the first to impose an outright ban. Bhutanese who bring tobacco into the country for personal use face a 100% tax. Foreigners will be treated as smugglers. The UK Independent has more.... The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced an interim rule, effective immediately, that quarantines a section of Los Angeles CA as infected with the Oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel). Outbreaks of the pest have been known to cause complete loss of crops and severe economic losses. The quarantine, made in accordance with the Plant Protection Act [PDF], limits the sale and transportation of harvested fruits, nuts, vegetables and berries from leaving the area. The quarantined area is mostly residential which should result in minimal impact. Background on fruit fly infestation and containment programs can be found here. APHIS welcomes comments on the quarantine until January 18, 2005 here.... The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) seeks comments on a proposed rule that would prohibit fishing on the Grammanik Bank between February 1 and April 30, 2005. The Bank is located south of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, and is the expected site of yellowfin grouper spawning. The closing is done under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and hopes to protect the overfished, slow-growing grouper. Comments can be made under December 1 here.