[JURIST] In Wednesday's environmental law news, the South African government has approved a plan to construct the first windfarm in the country. The Director-General for Environmental Affairs and Tourism [official website] has approved the windfarm for the Darling district of Western Cape that will include 4 Danish-designed wind turbines and is expected to produce 5.2 megawatts of electricity. Reuters has the full story.
In other news,
- Rhode Island became the seventh state in the US to ban smoking in most indoor public places. The smoking ban went into effect Tuesday and effects most bars and restaurants, and all indoor workplaces. Bars that have 10 or fewer employees and private social clubs have until October 2006 to comply with the ban, while gambling centers are exempt altogether. AP has the full story.
- Sonoma County CA supervisors agreed Tuesday to put to referendum a measure that would ban genetically modified (GM) crops and livestock in the county for 10 years. Last month, voters had collected enough signatures [JURIST report] to force the ballot referendum, although the supervisors could have just enacted the measure. If the law is passed, Sonoma would become the fourth California county to ban GM farming. AP has more.
- US District Judge Richard Cebull has issued a temporary injunction [JURIST report] halting the lifting of the ban on the import of Canada cattle under 30 months of age. The ban was set to be lifted on March 7. USDA [official website] Secretary Johanns has issued a statement [text] expressing his disappointment with the ruling.
- The Consumer Product Safety Commission [official website] is accepting comments until March 29 on a proposed rule [text] that would adopt nationally a California regulation that sets an open-flame resistant standard for mattresses, box springs and futons. The regulation, in effect in CA since Jan 1, requires all new mattresses to be able to pass a 30-minute open flame ignition test and carry a label citing that fact. The law faces criticism as it does not require manufacturers to disclose what chemicals or fire retardant materials were used to meet the standard, prompting concerns that illegal or toxic materials could be used. The San Francisco Chronicle has the full story.