A court battle over an endangered West Coast snail is being heard by the Christchurch High Court, New Zealand. The lawsuit filed by anti-mining group Powelliphanta Augustus Incorporated had appealed against an environment court's decision allowing power company Solid Energy to mine the snail's habitat on Mount Augustus in the north of Westport province. In December, the environment court ruled the company's actions could lead to the possible extinction of the giant snail. However it had no jurisdiction to stop Solid Energy from mining. Powelliphanta is confident the high court will overturn the decision and enforce restricted mining for all licence holders. The court's decision is expected in by early April.
Operators of the Arizona Snowbowl, an alpine ski resort located in San Francisco Peaks, cannot use treated wastewater to make snow, a US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. It found that the procedure for making snow would have violated the religious freedom of 13 southwest American Indian communities. The 314-hectare (ha) resort wanted to expand its ski resort by clearing about 40 ha of forest on the San Francisco Peaks, which have religious significance. The tribes claimed the plans violate their religious sentiments. Besides, the government had not addressed the impact of wastewater on the environment, they said. The judge said the scheme violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
Fine for cruelty
A Pennsylvania club was fined US $400 for cruelty to animals after using live turkeys as targets, prosecutors said. The Elstonville Sportsmen's Association admitted to staking turkeys to straw bales and shooting them with bows and arrows. It was charged with eight violations of the Pennsylvania Cruelty to Animals statutes.
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