WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (April 18-24, 2011)

ENVIRONMENT & CONSERVATION

EPA, eco groups at odds in climate change case; Who has the right to make the rules: the government agency or a federal court?” By Mark Sherman. MSNBC/Associated Press. April 18, 2011. — The Obama administration and environmental interests generally agree that global warming is a threat that must be dealt with. But they’re on opposite sides of a Supreme Court case over the ability of states and groups such as the Audubon Society that want to sue large electric utilities and force power plants in 20 states to cut their emissions. The administration is siding with American Electric Power Co. and three other companies in urging the high court to throw out the lawsuit on grounds the Environmental Protection Agency, not a federal court, is the proper authority to make rules about climate change. The justices will hear arguments in the case Tuesday. The court is taking up a climate change case for the second time in four years. In 2007, the court declared that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. By a 5-4 vote, the justices said the EPA has the authority to regulate those emissions from new cars and trucks under that landmark law. The same reasoning applies to power plants. The administration says one reason to end the current suit is that the EPA is considering rules that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. But the administration also acknowledges that it is not certain that limits will be imposed. At the same time, Republicans in Congress are leading an effort to strip the EPA of its power to regulate greenhouse gases. The uncertainty about legislation and regulation is the best reason for allowing the case to proceed, said David Doniger, a lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which represents Audubon and other private groups dedicated to land conservation.

Quimby buys historic Lunksoos Camps on Penobscot.” By Nick Sambides Jr. Bangor Daily News. April 19, 2011. — Writer Henry David Thoreau once canoed the East Branch of the Penobscot River and might have stood on the land that conservationist Roxanne Quimby will turn into an artistic and scientific center, she announced Tuesday. Quimby’s purchase of the 13.8-acre Lunksoos Camps on Friday likely will have no immediate impact on almost all of the recreational access sportsmen previously enjoyed, said Mark Leathers, a forestry consultant Quimby employs. That includes the Interconnected Trail System snowmobile trail that runs through the property and the land’s boating access to the river. However, hunting might no longer be allowed on the property, Leathers said. He declined to say how much Quimby paid for the land. Originally built in 1881, the camps consist of a lodge and four cabins situated on the east side of the river, 10 miles west of Sherman Mills, and is accessible by road from Stacyville. “It complements the rest of her holdings because it provides a starting point on the east side of the river to the west side of the river and because it is a commercial property adjacent to her large land holdings,” Leathers said Tuesday. “Now we don’t have to worry about an incompatible user” buying the camps. Leathers called the camp a future retreat for writers and artists but a statement released by Quimby’s group, Elliotsville Plantation Inc., said the camps also will serve recreational, artistic and scientific pursuits, including hiking, canoeing, skiing, bird watching, and research.

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