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Environmental brief ~ UK agrees to CO2 limits, vows to fight in court

[JURIST] In Monday's environmental law news, the UK has announced it will go ahead in late April or early May with its original plan for limiting CO2 output under the European Union's emissions trading scheme in keeping with Kyoto Protocol [text] requirements. The UK had proposed a revised plan that would have increased their limits for the first few years of the regulations. The UK says it will still challenge the EU in court to further consider the revised proposal. Reuters has more.

In other news,

  • The Maryland Department of the Environment [official website] has proposed the creation of a new classification type for its waterways that is drawing complaints from environmentalists. Under the federal Clean Water Act [text], states must classify their waters and create pollution limits for the different types. Maryland has had 4 classification categories, with the lowest standards for Use 1: nontidal waters clean enough to allow fishing, swimming, water contact recreation, and the survival and reproduction of aquatic life. The highest standards are Use 4, which is Use 1 with the addition of trout. The state wants to add a Use 5, which would be limited use waters not acceptable for recreation or aquatic life because of pollution, naturally low oxygen levels or other factors. Critics argue that the new classification indicates the state is simply giving up on trying to clean up any waters so designated. The Baltimore Sun has the full story.

  • A lawsuit against the Denver-based Newmont Mining Co. [company website] appears to be going ahead, despite efforts by the company to settle the case. The lawsuit, brought on behalf of some 1,100 Peruvian villagers, blames Newmont for a mercury spill that has allegedly led to numerous medical problems around the area. In 2000, a canister containing mercury, used in the processing of gold from the mining operation, opened during truck transportation and spilled some 330 lbs of the liquid metal. The company has already spent $10 million to treat exposed villagers, clean up the spill, and monitor the environment. It is reported that if the Peruvians win, it will be the first judgment against a US company in a US court for environmental contamination committed outside the US. The San Francisco Chronicle has the full story.

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