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Environmental brief ~ Ninth Circuit upholds Clean Air deadline

[JURIST] In Wednesday's environmental law news, the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] has upheld [PDF text] a decision that found a 2010 deadline set by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District [official website] to clean up soot and other particles fell within the guidelines established by the Clean Air Act [text]. The Sierra Club and other groups had argued that the EPA had to require the local air district to meet federal standards by 2006. The San Francisco Chronicle has more.

In other environmental law news...

  • Norway is in danger of noncompliance with its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol [text; JURIST news archive]. Statistics were presented by a Norwegian government agency Wednesday showing that Norway is discharging 11 percent more greenhouse gases compared to 1990 levels. To comply, Norway has to reduce its emission levels by 2008-2012. Aftenposten has more.

  • The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) [official website] is seeking comments on a proposed rule that would delist the Arizona distinct population segment (DPS) of the cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl (Glaucidium brasilianum cactorum) [advocacy website backgrounder] from the federal Endangered Species List [official website], eliminate its currently designated critical habitat, and withdraw its proposed new critical habitat. The proposed rule follows a ruling by the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that found that "the FWS acted arbitrarily and capriciously in designating the Arizona pygmy-owl population as a DPS under the DPS Policy." (National Association of Home Builders v. Norton, 340 F.3d 835 (9th Cir.2003)) [PDF text]. Comments can be made here until October 3, 2005.

  • The US FWS also seeks comments on an incidental take permit application that the agency has received from Snowshoe Mountain, Inc.[corporate website]. Snowshoe plans to expand its West Virginia mountain resort area in an area populated with the West Virginia northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus) [official factpage], a federally endangered species. A draft EA is also available for review (not online). The FWS has more. Comments can be made here until November 7, 2005.

  • The US Mine Safety and Health Administration(MSHA)[official website] seeks comments on a proposed rule [text] that would extend the date for compliance with new diesel particulate matter limits in mining operations. MSHA also seeks comments on the appropriateness of including a provision for the medical evaluation of miners required to wear respiratory protection and for the transfer of miners unable to wear a respirator. Comments can be made here until October 14, 2005.

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