Burn the hazard: The Supreme Court (SC) on January 5, 2004, ordered the destruction of illegally imported hazardous waste oil, lying at Mumbai's Nhava Sheva port, by incineration. The consignment of 133 containers was illegally imported in August-September 2000 by 15 importers under the garb of 'furnace oil' and was lying at the port since then (see: 'Slipping Through', Down To Earth, October 15, 2002).
A bench comprising judges Y K Sabharwal and S H Kapadia passed the order on a petition filed by the Research Foundation for Science. The petition had highlighted the dangers of the waste oil being dumped in violation of anti-dumping rules. Regarding another 170 containers of a similar kind of oil lying unclaimed at the port, the SC directed custom authorities and concerned departments to furnish the details of importers to the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee (SCMC) within four weeks. The SC will issue its directions on the basis of the SCMC's recommendations.
Mercury check: A US federal court allowed the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA), on January 13, 2005, to draft rules to control mercury emissions from taconite plants. Taconite is a low-grade iron ore. The order came in response to a lawsuit filed against the EPA in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), the Minnesota Conservation Federation, the Lake Superior Alliance and the Save Lake Superior Association.
"The EPA has really been resistant to the idea of setting a standard for mercury for this industry," says Jane Reyer of Grand Marais, senior counsel for NWF's Lake Superior Project. Following the lawsuit, the EPA had requested to be allowed to draft rules on mercury emissions. The request was granted on January 13. The court issued a similar order regarding asbestos in November 2004. Frank Ongaro, president, Iron Mining Association of Minnesota, says: "We will continue to work with the EPA as we go forward.
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