Is clean water bad for business? Last year, the New Mexico Environment Department told Phelps Dodge Mining Company to clean up contaminated groundwater beneath its Tyrone Mine (HCN, 5/12/03: Phelps tries to Dodge bond). The state recently upheld its decision despite the company’s appeal, leading a company spokesman to tell the press: "We think it sends a signal that the state isn’t interested in economic growth. It creates kind of an onerous business climate." Phelps Dodge’s appeal was supported by the Citizens for Economic Growth and Environmental Protection, a group whose chairman, William Van Dran, said in 2000 that wolf reintroduction would hurt business in Grant County.
February, a jury ruled that Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. had manipulated
cattle prices between 1994 and 2002 — and owed
$1.28 billion to ranchers (HCN, 3/15/04: Ranching’s worst
enemy? It’s not greens). But at the meat company’s
behest, U.S. District Judge Lyle Strom reversed the
jury’s verdict, ruling that "there is no evidence
before the court to suggest that (Tyson’s) conduct is
illegal." The suit, first brought against Tyson in 1996, will head
next to the appeals court.
Biologists with the
Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and Nevada Department of Fish
and Wildlife have performed some tricky surgery on endangered
Lahontan cutthroat trout, implanting 30 of the
fish with radio transmitters to better learn their habits (HCN,
7/7/03: Reinstating the heir to the Truckee River).
Ambitious anglers, beware: Don’t try out
your new magnetic lures. If you catch any of the implanted trout,
or any of the 2,100 tagged trout, you must return them to the river
and notify officials about their whereabouts.
Grow a garden, write a letter: Simple actions
can cause change. In April, the U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s National Organic Program
weakened organic food standards, allowing produce treated with
pesticides, livestock fed synthetic feed, and milk from cows given
antibiotics and hormones to be labeled "organic." But a coalition
of organic growers protested, and Sen. Patrick
Leahy, D-Vt. — who drafted the original Organic
Foods Production Act in 1990 — fired off an angry letter to
Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman. At the end of May, Veneman
rescinded the policy.