Environmental brief ~ Tyson foods settles suit over air pollution from chicken farms

[JURIST] In Thursday's environmental law news, Tyson Foods [corporate website] has settled a lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club and three Kentuckians over the air pollution from 80 chicken houses. The company agreed Wednesday to fund a study of the emissions from chicken houses and paid the individuals undisclosed amounts. Tyson had taken the position that environemental liability lay with the individual contract farmers, a position the US District Judge ruled against. Emissions from chicken houses are not currently considered air pollution nor regulated by the EPA. Read the Tyson press release. The Arkansas Democrat Gazette has more.

In other news,

  • Chinese officials have ordered 30 construction projects stopped because the required environmental impact assessments had not been completed before the projects began. Twenty-two of the companies have complied with the order, and have paid penalty fees. The other 8 have continued construction, disregarding the government orders. It is not yet known what the fate of the 8 projects will be, nor when or if the other 22 will resume construction. Reuters has the full story.

  • China's National Development and Reform Commission [official website, in Chinese] has announced that new fines for illegal mining go into effect today. Companies engaging in illegal mining could face fines that are a six-fold increase over current penalties. China is also preparing new coal mining legislation to raise safety conditions in mines. China's miners face a 100 times greater fatality rate than in the US. Reuters has more.

  • A deal between Australian home products manufacturer James Hardie Industries [corporate website] and the Australian government to set up a compensation fund for potential asbestos-effected claimants is facing derailment by claims from other countries. Hardie had used asbestos in some of its products until the 1980s, and also had manufacturing plants in New Zealand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. A statutory compensation plan has already been set up in New Zealand, but the company is concerned about the possibility that the Australian fund will be accessible to non-citizens- which could allow for claimants from many countries, including New Zealanders. The Adelaide Advertiser has the full story.

  • The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)[official website] is considering appealing the air-pollution permit of the proposed Prairie State power plant [corporate website] issued by the state of Illinois. The FWS had issued an adverse impact statement on the plant, finding that it would cause haze and acid rain at the Mingo National Wildlife Refuge [official website] which lies about 85 miles away. The FWS and the state tried to negotiate the terms of the permit, but the agencies strongly disagree on the impact of the plant's expected emissions and on the controls necessary to reduce those emissions. The Saint Louis Post Dispatch has the full story.

  • Some Boston city council members have introduced a measure that would block the construction of a Level 4 biosafety lab [general description of differences in biosafety levels] by Boston University (BU). The lab has already been approved by the zoning board. Opponents of the lab are questioning its safety, particularly in the wake of 3 cases of tularemia [CDC factsheet] exposure that occurred at BU's current Level 2 biosafety lab. The Boston Globe has more.

 

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