Taking Birds Under Their Wing: Bird Conservation Group Petitions Government for Regulation of Wind Turbines

Harnessing the wind – such an attractive notion in these times when awareness of the benefits of clean renewable energy is heightened.  Wildlife conservation groups (and in an ironic and hilarious way, hunting groups) are speaking out about an ugly side-effect of wind energy: bird deaths.  Yes, that’s right.  Hundreds of thousands of birds are killed each year by collisions with wind turbines.  (The number of actual deaths per year is disputed by different sources however, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated in 2009 that 440,000 bird deaths per year were attributable to wind turbines.) 

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Don’t Sink That Battle Ship: New Suit Demands Tighter Rules on Navy’s Disposal of Vessels at Sea

Environmental Litigation

BattleshipEnvironmental groups filed suit last week in California federal court against the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alleging the agency failed to adequately regulate a federal ship sinking program, which the groups assert pollutes the sea with toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

The federal program, known as SINKEX, allows the Navy to engage in live fire exercises on decommissioned naval warships to practice gunnery, torpedo accuracy, and missile drills, while simultaneously disposing of obsolete ships. Basel Action Network (BAN) and the Sierra Club allege in their complaint that the ship disposal activities of the federal program pose a substantial and unreasonable risk to human health and the environment because PCBs present in electrical cable insulation, fiberglass bulkhead insulation, paints, adhesives or rubber mounts and gaskets aboard the old vessels eventually leach into the marine environment. Once these PCBs enter the marine environment they accumulate in the bodies of fish and other marine organisms that humans consume.

The groups have asked the court to compel EPA to initiate rulemaking under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which authorizes EPA to regulate the disposal of PCBs, to more stringently regulate the Navy’s remediation of vessels designated for sink exercises, or, alternatively, to revisit the program’s ocean dumping permit.

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San Francisco Superior Court Clears the Way for Cap-and-Trade Enforcement in 2013

Climate Change

CourtroomOn Tuesday, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ernest H. Goldsmith, issued an order that removes one more obstacle from the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) efforts to implement its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through an unprecedented cap-and-trade program adopted by the agency in October and slated for enforcement in 2013. The court’s order discharging a peremptory writ of mandate issued by the court in May, indicates that CARB has complied with the Court’s previous order by adequately considering alternatives to its market-based cap-and-trade program, ending a year-long legal saga that threatened to derail the state’s plan to implement its landmark greenhouse gas reduction law, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32).

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