In Court

Published: Friday 15 October 2004

Logjam: A federal appeals court has blocked logging of trees scorched in one of the US's largest wildfires. It is unlikely that the dead trees can be harvested before rotting. The court order came after a two-year old court battle. The 2002 blaze that burnt 202,343 hectares in southwestern Oregon had become the focus of an intense political and scientific debate, with the Bush administration and the timber industry on one side, and the environmentalists on the other. "The court's action gives us a chance to find some balance here that will actually be good for the forests and the people in the region, instead of just logging everything in sight," said Todd True, an attorney representing the environmentalists. Needless to say, the judgment left the pro-timber group seething.

hope ahoy: US Chemical company, DuPont, has agreed to pay as much as US $343 million to settle a lawsuit holding the chemical giant guilty of contaminating drinking water supplies in West Virginia and Ohio (see 'In Court', Down To Earth, Vol 13, No 8, September 15, 2004). A circuit judge is yet to approve of the terms, reached between DuPont and the lawyers, for the 60,000 residents of the area around DuPont's Washington Works plant on the Ohio River. If approved, the settlement will fund a US $5 million study to determine the truth behind the soundness of the allegation. If such a link is determined, DuPont will have to pay up to US $235 million to the residents for medical treatment. DuPont would spend another US $10 million to remove as much C8 (the troublemaking ingredient of Teflon) from the area's water supply.

patent problem: Procter & Gamble Co (P & G) is suing its former partner Coca-Cola Co for infringing patents on preservatives in fruit drinks. The former alleges that Coca-Cola's Minute Maid fruit drinks infringe several P&G patents on processes that control the growth of microorganisms. Coca-Cola is yet to comment on the suit.

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