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Environmental brief ~ No settlement on hazmat transportation ban

[JURIST] In Friday's environmental law news, CSX Transportation Inc. and the federal government have refused a proposal by US District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan [official profile] to help settle a dispute with Washington DC officials over the city's plan to ban railroad shipments of hazardous cargo. The ban, passed by the DC Council [official website] and signed by Mayor Anthony Williams [official profile], was to have begun Monday. CSX has argued that the ban is unconstitutional because only the federal government can regulate railroads, and that detours around cities would interfere with the national transportation of important chemicals. Judge Sullivan had offered to broker settlement talks and proposed three conditions: that the city delay the ban for 30 days, that CSX halt shipments through the District for the same period, and that federal officials privately explain their plans to secure the rails to top city officials. Both CSX and federal officials balked at the conditions, setting up a court battle. Background materials, including the legal filings[official website, most document links are PDF], are provided by the DC Attorney General. The Washington Post has more.

In other news,

  • Liberia's Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Dr. Fodee Kromah, has recommended that the Firestone [corporate website] Rubber Plantation Company compensate the Government of Liberia a total amount of US$79 million (1 million for each year of operation) for alleged environmental damages, including air, ground, and water pollution. GlobalSecurity.org has a history of the plantation. The Monrovia Analyst has more.

  • Canada's Prime Minister Paul Martin [official bio] has announced that he stands behind the appointment of former Winnipeg mayor and failed Liberal candidate Glen Murray [official bio] as chairman of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy [official website]. The House of Commons voted Wednesday 143-108 calling on the PM to withdraw the appointment. The vote, however, was not binding and was not a confidence issue that could have triggered an election. The Toronto Globe and Mail has more.

  • The California Energy Commission's [official website] Climate Change Advisory Committee [official website] is considering a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Officials are concerned, however, that if CA acts alone other states could take economic advantage of the self-imposed emissions limitation by selling electricity to CA at lower prices than CA producers could afford. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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