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Environmental brief ~ EPA completes Love Canal cleanup, removes it from Superfund list

[JURIST] In Monday's environmental law news, the EPA has removed the infamous Love Canal site in Niagara County, New York from the Superfund National Priorities List. The Love Canal area was a site for hazardous waste dumping from 1942-1952, after which the waste was covered by dirt and houses were constructed in the area. After residents complained of odors, studies in the 1970's showed that toxic chemicals were contaminating the local water supply. By 1980 over 950 families had been evacuated from homes around the site, and problems there were one of the main factors leading to passage of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as Superfund, which serves to handle abandoned hazardous waste sites. The EPA has completed cleanup work at the Love Canal site and monitoring studies show that the cleanup goals have been reached. The press release is here. Details on cleanup at the site is here [PDF]. The University of Buffalo has additional Love Canal documentation here.

In other environemental law news...

  • The India Supreme Court has directed that about 105,000 survivors of one of the world's worst industrial disasters each receive between US$545 and $1200. On December 3, 1984 more than 40 tons of poisonous gases escaped from a Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal instantly killing 8,000 people. The case was settled by Union Carbide (now Dow Chemical) in 1989 through a survivor payment fund set up by the Indian government. However, litigation has persisted for years regarding how the money should be disbursed. The Calcutta Telegraph has more.

  • The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) conference began on Saturday in Bangkok, Thailand and runs though October 14th. This meeting of 166 member nations will update trade regulations on plants and animals, and will include taking action on some 50 proposals. A press release on the conference and the proposals is here [PDF]. Daily news coverage from the conference can be found here.

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