Archive | Justice

Michigan Law Chief Sees No Carp Progress

DETROIT, Feb. 11 (UPI) — Michigan’s attorney general reports “no headway” in talks with the U.S. Justice Department over keeping the invasive Asian carp out of Lake Michigan.

Attorney General Mike Cox and attorneys general from five other states filed a lawsuit in December to close off the canal linking the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River basin to keep the voracious invader out. They discussed the problem with Washington by phone Wednesday.

“We appreciate the opportunity to talk, but no headway was made,” Cox told the Detroit Free Press. “We are still left with this policy which will wreak havoc on the Great Lakes.”

A $78-million federal plan to attack Asian carp announced Monday includes part-time lock closures that would start a few months from now, plus more testing for carp DNA and various procedures aimed at limiting numbers in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

Cox has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to order the immediate closure of locks leading from the Mississippi River system to Lake Michigan. So far, his requests have been rebuffed.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Fish, Justice0 Comments

$78 Million Carp Control Plan Floated

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 (UPI) — U.S. officials unveiled a $78 million effort to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.

The Detroit Free Press said the plan includes intermittent closures of locks along the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, which connects the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan. The closures could begin by the end of April and keep the locks closed three weeks per month, officials said.

At a Washington meeting Monday, Obama administration officials and Midwestern governors such as Michigan’s Jennifer Granholm and Wisconsin’s Jim Doyle discussed ways to keep the voracious invasive species out of the lakes.

Federal officials plan to create electric barriers and expand crews to search for carp using sonar observation, electro-shock and netting, the Detroit News said, and DNA sampling will be increased.

Asian carp are insatiable feeders that can grow to more than 100 pounds and some fear they could destroy the Great Lakes fishery.

Granholm said intermittent lock closures are not enough, adding, “I think there’s enough (Asian carp) DNA evidence now to shut them down.”

Illinois lawmakers say the ship canal is a vital transportation link and needs to be kept open. A lawsuit brought by the state of Michigan seeking the locks’ closure has so far been unsuccessful.

U.S. House lawmakers were set to debate proposed legislation Tuesday during a meeting of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, while on Wednesday, attorneys general for Great Lakes states were to meet with U.S. Department of Justice officials on the carp issue, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Fish, Infrastructure, Justice, Transportation0 Comments

Agency: 'Climategate' Scientists Hid Data

LONDON, Jan. 28 (UPI) — A British university whose scientists are accused of manipulating climate data broke the law by refusing to show the raw data for review, a British agency said.

The University of East Anglia violated Britain’s Freedom of Information Act by refusing to fulfill requests for data supporting claims by university scientists that human-made emissions were causing global warming, Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office said.

But while the public research university in Norwich, England, may have broken the law, it will not be prosecuted because a six-month time limit for prosecutions elapsed, The Times of London reported the independent regulatory office under the justice ministry as saying.

Breaches of the act are punishable by an unlimited fine, the Times said.

The controversy stems from hundreds of e-mails stolen from the university’s Climatic Research Unit that indicated university climate scientists supported the cause for global warming by manipulating data and interfering with the peer-review process of scientific papers to keep contrary information out of scientific journals.

The university described the computer hacking that came to light in November, shortly before the Dec. 7-18 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, as an illegal taking of data. Police are conducting a criminal investigation of the server breach and subsequent personal threats made against some scientists mentioned in the e-mails.

Research unit Director Phil Jones, who stepped down after the “climategate” scandal broke, had told staffers to delete FOI request e-mails from climate change skeptics, the Times said.

One e-mail involved a much-publicized 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that the Himalayan glaciers would “very likely” disappear by 2035 if current warming trends continued.

That report, by the United Nations scientific advisory body, is currently under fire for gross exaggeration.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Climate Science & Weather, Justice3 Comments

Duke Energy to Spend $93M for Violations

INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 22 (UPI) — Duke Energy will spend $85 million to resolve Clean Air Act violations at its Indiana plant and pay a $1.75 million fine, federal officials said Tuesday.

The company agreed to reduce harmful air pollution and pay the penalty under a settlement to resolve the violations, the U.S. Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency said in a joint release.

The settlement also requires Duke Energy to invest $6.25 million on environmental mitigation projects, the agencies said.

The agreement, filed in federal court in Indianapolis, resolves violations found at the company’s Gallagher coal-fired power plant in New Albany, Ind., across the Ohio River from Louisville. The settlement is expected to reduce the plant’s sulfur dioxide emissions by almost 35,000 tons per year, an 86 percent reduction when compared to 2008 emission levels, the Justice Department said.

The settlement also requires Duke to spend $6.25 million on environmental mitigation projects, including $250,000 for the U.S. Forest Service to address acid rain in downwind national forests, $5 million for at least one project such conversion to hydro-generation or hybrid vehicle fleets, and $1 million for environmental mitigation projects allocated among the states — New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — that joined the settlement.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Air Pollution, Air Pollution Remediation, Air, Atmosphere, & Weather, Business & Economics, Coal, Energy, Energy & Fuels, Energy Industry, Ethics & Responsibility, Justice0 Comments

Protests Continue at U.N. Climate Summit After Arrests

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 13 (UPI) — Scattered protests took place Sunday in Copenhagen, Denmark, a day after police arrested nearly 1,000 arrests during the climate change summit, police said.

Police said nearly 230 people were arrested during Sunday’s protests, with the majority of the targeted protesters taking part in an illegal protest in the northern part of the Danish capital, The New York Times reported.

Sunday’s arrests paled in comparison to those made on Saturday as tens of thousands of protesters gathered to call for action on climate change. Police estimate between 60,000 and 100,000 individuals took part in Saturday’s protest.

Police coordinator Per Larsen said in addition to Sunday’s scattered protests, four cars were set on fire and a police officer was hit in the face with a rock.

“We saved the demonstration from being disturbed totally,” Larsen told the Times. “There were some hard-core protesters that we have neutralized.”

Meanwhile, at least one activist alleges those protesters arrested Saturday were denied medical attention, water and toilets.

“People were there in freezing conditions urinating on themselves and being held in lines like, essentially like animals,” Mel Evans of Climate Justice Action told the BBC.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Animals, Cars, Global Warming & Climate Change, Justice0 Comments

Akron Agrees to Reduce Sewage Overflows

AKRON, Ohio, Nov. 14 (UPI) — The city of Akron, Ohio, has agreed to reduce sewer overflows polluting the Cuyahoga and Little Cuyahoga rivers and the Ohio & Erie Canal, authorities said.

The settlement between the U.S. Justice Department, the Ohio attorney general’s office and the Akron City Council still must be approved in federal court, justice officials said in a statement Friday.

“These steps will improve water quality in the Cuyahoga River and its tributaries, protect public health, and enhance recreation and other public uses of the River,” the statement said.

The settlement calls for Akron to expand the capacity of its sewage treatment plant, reduce overflows from 32 sewer outlets, pay a $500,000 fine and provide $900,000 to remove a dam on the Cuyahoga River between Brecksville and Sagamore Hills Township.

The settlement resolves a lawsuit brought against Akron this year by the federal government and the state of Ohio.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Justice, Office, Other0 Comments

Loch Ness Monster Hunter Robert H. Rines Dead at 87

BOSTON, Nov. 8 (UPI) — Attorney Robert H. Rines, known for spending decades chasing the Loch Ness monster, died in Boston at the age of 87, his wife, Joanne Hayes-Rines, said.

The New York Times said Sunday while Rines founded the Franklin Pierce Law Center and held more than 800 patents, it was his passionate search for the rumored creature that earned him widespread notoriety.

While spending more than 25 years searching for the Scottish monster, Rines came to suspect the fabled creature may have died. Not to be deterred, Rines moved forward in hopes of finding the skeleton of the Loch Ness beast.

“They can just call me crazy, and that’s OK by me,” Rines said in a 2008 interview regarding his passionate search that began in 1972.

Among Rines’ patented inventions was electronic gear that has been used to locate the remains of the RMS Titanic and improve Patriot missiles.

The Times said Rines, who died of heart failure Nov. 1, is survived by his wife; his sons, Justice and Robert; his daughter, Suzi Rines Toth; his stepdaughter, Laura Hayes-Heur; and four grandchildren.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Justice0 Comments

U.S. Park Service: Mount Rushmore lacks Adequate Security Systems & Ranger Staff

SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Oct. 22 (UPI) — People are accessing areas normally off-limits to tourists at South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore, which also lacks an adequate security system, a memo indicates.

The memo on security threats to the national monument also said the ranger force is inadequate to protect visitors and the sculpture, USA Today reported Thursday.

The security review by the U.S. Park Service’s Midwest staff began after environmental activists hung a protest banner July 8 on the monument that features 60-foot-tall sculptures of past presidents. The activists breached security and accessed anchors normally used by the National Park Service for periodic cleaning.

“It concerns me that information about secure areas of Mount Rushmore was inadvertently put out in the public sphere and used by Greenpeace,” U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., said in a statement. “Going forward, it’s critical for the safety of the monument that anyone who accesses these secure areas of the park understands the sensitive nature of the area.”

Hundreds of people have been allowed in the secured areas for activities such as taking in views from the presidential pates, said Hugh Dougher, regional chief ranger in the National Park Service’s Midwest office in Omaha.

The report said the Park Service and the Justice Department will look into beefing up criminal penalties for climbing Mount Rushmore.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Justice, Nature & Ecosystems, Office, Regional0 Comments

Hemp Legalization Proponents Stage Protest at DEA Museum

ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 14 (UPI) — Proponents of legalizing hemp picked the lawn of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Museum in Arlington, Va. to stage a demonstration Tuesday, officials say.

The half dozen demonstrators from the advocacy group Vote Hemp began planting toasted hemp seeds imported from Canada in the grass but ended up being hauled off by police, the Washington Post reports.

“Keep digging fellas,” a security guard told the men. “You’ll be going to jail in a minute.”

Farmers and activists say industrial hemp has minuscule levels of THC compared with marijuana.

But unlike governments in Canada, Europe and China, the DEA does not allow it to be cultivated in the United States.

A handful of state legislatures has approved industrial hemp farming pending DEA action.

The DEA is referring all questions about hemp and Tuesday’s protest to the Justice Department, the Post says.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Justice0 Comments

Officials: 10,000 Marijuana Plants Destroyed in Los Padres National Forest

SALINAS, Calif., Sept. 18 (UPI) — About 10,000 marijuana plants growing in a national forest in Monterey County were destroyed by California and local agents, police said.

The plants were discovered in Los Padres National Forest, Bay City News Service reported. A joint operation by the California Department of Justice and Monterey County sheriff’s deputies was carried out last week.

The sheriff’s office said the marijuana had an estimated street value of $40 million once it was harvested.

No one was spotted in the area, and no arrests have been made. Police are investigating, the sheriff’s department said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Justice, Office, Other0 Comments

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