In Court

Published: Tuesday 31 August 2004

infamous five: Eight US states and the city of New York are taking five of US' biggest power companies to court. Reason: they are some of the biggest contributors to global warming in the country. The attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, as well as New York City's corporation counsel, have filed a public nuisance lawsuit in the federal court in Manhattan. It is the first lawsuit by state and local government against private companies over global warming emissions. The companies being sued are American Electric Power Co., Southern Co., Xcel Energy, Cinergy, and the federal Tennessee Valley Authority. The action is not trying to obtain monetary damages from the companies, but is calling for a three per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions every year for the next ten years. A second legal action is also being brought to bear against the same five companies by the Audobon Society of New Hampshire and the Open Space Institute of New York. The two land groups are being represented by the Natural Resource Defence Council (NRDC). "These cases represent a new frontier in the fight against global warming pollution," said David Doniger, NRDC attorney.

Damned: Sri Lanka's premier environmental group, Environmental Foundation Ltd (EFL), has gone to court against the government's move to grant permission for the construction of a hydro-power project on a protected waterfall in one of the country's most verdant highland reserves. It has filed action in the court of appeal seeking to quash the approval given by the Central Environmental Authority for the project on the Bomuruella falls. In its petition, the EFL claims that the waterfall used for the project falls within a very important catchment area and requires the felling of some 1420 trees. This would cause immeasurable damage to the fragile ecology.

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