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Environmental brief ~ Maine adopts 'California' emissions standards for new vehicles

[JURIST] Leading Friday's environmental law news, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection [official website] has approved regulations [DOC text] that set "California" emissions standards for new cars and trucks sold in Maine beginning in 2009. Maine becomes the sixth state to adopt the standards, designed to reduce pollution linked to global warming, joining California, Washington, Oregon, New York, and Vermont. AP has more.

In other environmental law news...

  • Xie Zhenhua, director of China's State Environmental Protection Administration [official website], resigned Friday [press release] following the chemical plant explosion in the city of Jilin that released benzene into the Songhua River, causing running water to be shut down in towns along the river. Officials at the agency also blamed local officials for the extent of the spill, which allegedly went unreported for five days. Officials have sent bottled water and fleets of water trucks to communities on the Songhua, and announced they are sending pollution monitoring devices and 150 tons of activated charcoal to help filter drinking water to Russia, where the spill is expected to reach on December 11, 2005. AP has more.

  • The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] upheld a ruling [PDF opinion] Thursday that W.R. Grace and Company [corporate website] must pay $54.5 million for asbestos pollution cleanup in Libby, Montana. The court held that the EPA's cleanup of a vermiculite mine previously owned and operated by Grace in Libby was a removal action that was exempt from temporal and monetary caps, despite the company's objections. AP has more.

  • Indonesia Minister for the Environment Rachmat Witoeler [official website] has announced that the government will not appeal the ruling in favor [JURIST report] of the Newmont Mining Corporation [corporate website] arising out of the alleged pollution of Buyat Bay [JURIST news archive]. The decision is based on negotiations that have been occurring between the government and the company, and which officials hope will result in a satisfactory outcome faster than international arbitration. The decision does not impact the separate criminal case brought against Newmont's top local executive, American Richard Hess. The Jakarta Post has more.

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