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Environmental brief ~ EPA rules against North Carolina in out-of-state pollution dispute

[JURIST] Leading Friday's environmental law news, the US Environmental Protection Agency [official website] has ruled against a petition [PDF text] from the state of North Carolina to force the cleanup of coal-fired power plants in other states that North Carolina argued contribute to its air pollution problems. The petition was based on the "good neighbor" provision (Sec. 126) of the Clean Air Act [text]. The EPA denied the request [PDF text], saying that the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) [PDF text, EPA backgrounder] will "address the emission reductions requested by North Carolina. CAIR will eliminate any significant contribution of air pollutants from states linked to North Carolina's nonattainment thus satisfying North Carolina's petition request." AP has more.

In other environmental law news...

  • Hilmar Cheese [corporate website], the world's largest cheese factory, will pay $3 million for violating California water pollution laws. The factory, located outside of Modesto, California, has been operating since 1995 beyond its permits in the volume and salinity of its discharges. In the settlement [PDF text, press release, PDF], Hilmar will pay for a study of salinity management in process water in California's food processing industry, for a study to determine the extent of its pollution, and for soil and groundwater cleanup. The Sacramento Bee has more.

  • The South Korea Supreme Court [official website] refused to hear an appeal Thursday of a ruling [Korea Times report] that will allow the government to complete a 20-mile long seawall project. The Saemangum project will block two river estuaries and turn wetlands into agricultural land. Critics argue that the project will destroy important wetlands for shore birds and waterfowl, erase a rich fishery and aquaculture resource and is not economically required due to available inland farmland that has been vacated by a declining rural population. AFP has more.

  • Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. [official website] signed into law a bill [text] Thursday that will ban smoking in private clubs and restaurants. The ban on smoking in private fraternal organizations, country clubs and restaurants begins Jan 1, 2007, and becomes effective for remaining private clubs and taverns on Jan. 1, 2009. Critics of the bill say Utah should follow the direction of other states in allowing an exemption for smoking in private clubs. Utah is unique among the states, however, in requiring liquor to be sold by itself only in private clubs [backgrounder], resulting in many seemingly public "private clubs." Some Utah legislators, and the governor, support proposed legislation that would end the private establishment rule for liquor sales, which could open up the possibility of a smoking exemption for actual private clubs. Only the Salt Lake City International Airport remains exempt from both the liquor and smoking bans. AP has more.

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