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Environmental brief ~ Hawaii DOT to pay $52M for water pollution

[JURIST] In Friday's environmental law news, the US Environmental Protection Agency [official website] and Hawaii Department of Health [official website] have settled [press release] a case against the Hawaii Department of Transportation (DOT) [official website] for violations of the federal Clean Water Act [text] at highways and airports. The DOT will pay a $1 million fine, another $1 million for a program to assess its environmental responsibilities and $50 million over five years to resolve the violations. The problems mainly stem from stormdrains that run directly into streams or dump right into the ocean, polluting the shorelines and nearshore reefs. The Honolulu Advertiser has more.

In other environmental law news...

  • The first witnesses have testified in the Newmont Mining Co. trial [JURIST report] in Indonesia. Newmont [corporate website], and its local director Richard Ness, has been charged [corporate trial backgrounder] with dumping mercury and other pollutants into the Indonesia's Buyat Bay, allegedly causing villagers to develop skin diseases and other illnesses. AP has more.

  • The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection [official website] announced [press release] Thursday that it is issuing new requirements for food preparation facilities to prevent the discharge of fats, oils, and greases into sanitary sewer systems. The new requirements are contained in a general permit [PDF text] for food preparation facilities, and include installing indoor or outdoor "grease interceptor" units. The New London Day has more.

  • Malaysian Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Peter Chin [official website, profile] has announced that the country will make palm oil a mandatory gasoline additive by 2008. Malaysia is the world's top producer of palm oil, and the biofuel would consist of 95% diesel and 5% palm oil. The legislation is expected to pass next year, and would reduce the government's diesel subsidies. Reuters has more.

  • The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) [official website] has issued an interim final rule [text] amending the regulations for the leasing of oil and natural gas in special tar sand areas. The amendments will bring the regulations into accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 [PDF text]. The rule is effective immediately, but comments will still be accepted until December 6, 2005.

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