Environmental brief ~ Canada cattlemen sue US over beef ban

[JURIST] In Wednesday's environmental law news, about 500 Canadian cattlemen, mostly from Alberta, have filed 121 claims under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) [text] seeking at least $325 million in compensation for the May 2003 US decision to halt imports of Canadian beef and cattle. NAFTA's Chapter 11 is intended to protect companies from laws that unfairly favor a nation's own businesses. The cattlemen argue that the Canada-US beef market is so integrated that closing the border had no meaningful public-health effect. Rather than close the border, and in order to protect US citizens, the US should have killed all of the Canadian cattle already in the US, a move that would have hurt the financial interests of US ranchers that owned the cattle. The US Department of State [official website] has background on Chapter 11 dispute settlement. The Seattle Times has more.

In other news,

  • The Japanese Ministry of the Environment [official website] has decided to introduce stricter regulations on diesel vehicle emissions starting in 2009. The regulations on nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) will further reduce the levels that will start to take effect this October. The standards will apply to the sale of new trucks and buses over 3.5 tons. The Yomiuri Shimbun has the full story.

  • Officials from the California Department of Toxic Substances Control [official website] announced Tuesday that they will require the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. [corporate website] to increase its cleanup efforts of groundwater contamination at a southern California site. The company, at its Topock natural gas compressor station, had disposed of chromium 6 [EPA backgrounder], a carcinogen, into percolation beds between 1951 and 1969. The company has been pumping out the contaminated groundwater, but now must increase its efforts as the contaminate has been found to be nearing the Colorado River. The Los Angeles Times has the full story.

  • The EPA [official website] seeks comments on a proposed rule [text] that may change the increments for NO2 established under the Clean Air Act [text] to prevent significant deterioration of air quality (PSD program). Comments can be made here until April 25.

 

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