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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

News Follow-up

Air Date: Week of

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New developments in stories we’ve been following recently.


CURWOOD: Time now to follow up on some of the news stories we’ve been tracking lately. In January we reported about longwall mining. This underground mining technique can cause land on top of the mine to collapse, resulting in damage to landscapes, homes, and businesses. Recently, a federal district court banned longwall mining under national parks, homes, buildings, and roads. The home of Laurine Williams, on the National Historic Registry just outside Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, was damaged by mining last year.

WILLIAMS: When they went under our house, the first thing that happened was the front of the house went out about an inch-and-a-half. Our engineers had told us that if it had gone out two inches the house could have caved in on itself.

CURWOOD: According to the U.S. Interior Department, the new ruling protects Ms. Williams’ home and 30,000 others, along with more than 15,000 acres of parks and open lands, mostly in Appalachia.

To aid in the recovery of fish populations in the North Atlantic, a federal judge recently restricted the number of days New England fishermen can work and the areas they can work in. Priscilla Brooks, director of the Marine Resources Project at the Conservation Law Foundation says the harsh measures are needed.

BROOKS: Many of our fish stocks are only a quarter of what they could be. We have a long way to go to rebuild these fish stocks. The situation’s very serious out there and I think the judge’s order reflects the severity of the situation.

CURWOOD: But many fishermen say the new rules will force them out of business.
Recently, we reported on a dispute between the Bus Riders’ Union in Los Angeles and the L.A. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The riders want more buses and more routes to serve poorer communities. At the time of the report, Chief MTA spokesman Mark Littman said in total, the public agency had spent about one million dollars fighting the Bus Riders’ Union suits all the way to the Supreme Court. But, in fact, a request by Living on Earth under California’s Open Records Law reveals that the agency spent nearly ten times that amount: $9.4 million dollars. We asked Mr. Littman about the discrepancy.

LITTMAN: I can only give you the information that I had. I was under the impression that it’s just a little over a million dollars.

CURWOOD: The L.A. MTA is buying new cleaner running natural gas buses now, but the Bus Riders’ Union says overcrowding on many routes remains a problem.

And finally, in Great Britain, scares over e-coli and salmonella poisoning have some restaurant owners worried about legal liability. So they’re making customers who prefer their meat rare sign a disclaimer absolving the restaurant of responsibility. And that’s this week’s follow-up on the news from Living on Earth.



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