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.

In 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 At the end of May, Veneman rescinded the policy.

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