[JURIST] In Friday's environmental law news, the Indonesia Supreme Court has ruled that the detention of five Newmont Mining Co. [corporate website] executives last year was legal. The officials had been held in jail without charge for over 30 days last September and October while police investigated complaints against the company for possible mercury pollution in the Buyat Bay [JURIST report]. After a local court ruling, the officials were released, but had to check in with local police and could leave the area, conditions that still continue. The investigation has been completed, although charges were not brought while the arrest issue was before the courts. Charges are still expected to be brought. AP has the full story.
In other news,
- The EPA inspector general [official website] is investigating a complaint by an EPA official claiming that an EPA study was scientifically flawed and was reviewed by a panel heavily tilted toward the energy industry. The study found that hydraulic fracturing, an oil and gas drilling technique, posed "little or no threat" to drinking water. The inspector general has not yet announced the scope of the inquiry. The Los Angeles Times has the full story.
- The Alabama Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee passed a bill that would require the Alabama Department of Environmental Management [official website] to take into account population demographics before issuing new, renewed or modified pollution permits. If the pollution would numerically affect minorities disproportionably, the pollution would have to be reduced or the permit denied. The Birmingham News has the full story.
- The National Park Service [official website] seeks comments on a proposed rule [text] that would allow the use of personal watercraft in designated areas of the Gulf Islands National Seashore [official website], off the coasts of Florida and Mississippi. In 2000, the National Park Service issued a regulation (36 CFR 3.24) [text] that prohibits the use of personal watercraft in all park units, unless specifically allowed. Comments on the proposed rule can be made here until May 16.