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Environmental brief ~ CA joins states suit to increase appliance energy-efficiency

[JURIST] In Thursday's environmental law news, California has joined 14 other states suing the US Department of Energy (DOE) [official website], alleging that the agency is 6 to 13 years behind schedule in updating efficiency standards for some household and commercial appliance categories and has failed to issue any new efficiency standards at all since January 2001. The 1987 Federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act requires the DOE to periodically review and strengthen efficiency standards. The Sacramento Bee has more.

In other environmental law news,

  • The California Air Resources Board [official website] is having a public hearing [webcast of hearing] to discuss and act on a proposal that would temporarily relax gas pollution standards in the state. Following Hurricane Katrina which damaged oil rigs and refineries, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would allow the distribution of gasoline with a lower evaporative standard [JURIST report] than required by some states. A number of states with tighter standards subsequently relaxed them. The relaxed standard in CA could increase local ozone levels by 1 percent, which could violate federal air pollution standards. The Los Angeles Times has more.

  • A West Virginia circuit court [official website] is hearing testimony in a case that could force the Mingo Logan mining company [corporate website] to provide water to households whose wells have gone dry due to longwall mining. A 1992 federal law [text] requires coal operators to replace water supplies that underground mining operations damage or destroy. The residents allege that the company's attempts to provide water, namely, dwelling new wells and setting up large water holding tanks, have been inadequate. They ask that public lines are run to each house and that the company pay each household’s costs for 30 years of public water service. The case is expected to go to the jury on Friday. The Charleston Gazette 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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