Vedanta in trouble: The Supreme Court's (SC) appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) has called for annulling the clearance granted to Vedanta Alumina's Rs 4,000 crore refinery project, at Lanjigarh in Orissa's Kalahandi district. This was granted by the Union ministry of environment and forests (see 'Legal landmine', Down To Earth, September 15, 2005).
The report submitted on September 21, 2005, recommended that SC should immediately issue a direction to stop work at Lanjigarh . The area is a proposed wildlife sanctuary which houses the endangered Dongaria Kandha tribe. The report lashes out at the Union and state governments, saying, "The casual approach, the lackadaisical manner and the haste with which the entire issue of forests and environmental clearance for the alumina refinery project has been dealt with, smacks of undue favour / leniency and does not inspire confidence".
Katrina lawsuit: A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the victims of hurricane Katrina in the eastern US district, Louisiana. Attorneys of law firms Liska, Exnicios and Nungesser and St. Martin and Williams have filed the suit, alleging that gas exploration and drilling activities by major oil companies have damaged coastal marshes, which afforded natural protection to New Orleans from hurricanes such as the Katrina. The suit also alleges that thousands of hectares of marshlands and more than 150 kilometres of terra firma between the Mississippi River and the city of New Orleans were destroyed.
The plaintiffs complain that "years of negligence and callous indifference to the marshland ecology and the oil companies' failure ... to maintain canals have caused damage to the ecological functions of the marsh property, leading to physical removal of marsh terrain, creation of spoil banks and impairment of natural flow of tidal water".
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