Short Cuts Dec 14, 2007 of Court NewsSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Short Cuts Dec 14, 2007 of Court News

14 December 2007 at 11:39:55 AM

A 2005 indictment charged Grace and seven of its former managers, one of whom has since died, with conspiring to conceal health risks posed years ago by the company's Libby vermiculite mine, which closed in 1990. Hundreds of people in the northwest Montana town have fallen sick, and many have died from exposure to the contaminated vermiculite ore.

An August filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission said Grace has "categorically denied any criminal wrongdoing and intends to vigorously defend itself at trial."

Last year, Grace was ordered to pay approximately $55 million to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has performed cleanup on land and buildings in the Libby area.

West Virginia coal interests must have sighed in relief last week, thankful that Gov. Joe Manchin's administration signed on as a friend of the court to oppose two federal court rulings that would impose greater controls over mountaintop mining. 

Coal company executives have said repeatedly the federal rulings would curtail coal production in southern West Virginia -- production that generates hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars each year in payroll and millions in severance taxes and sales taxes.

According to press reports, the Manchin administration's "friend-of-the-court" briefs prompted the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition to respond that state officials did not raise their concerns when Judge Robert C. "Chuck" Chambers was hearing the case. We'll see how that goes.

A federal appeals court sharply rejected the Bush administration's new pollution standards for most sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and vans and ordered regulators Thursday to draft a new plan that's tougher on auto emissions.The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration failed to address why the so-called light trucks are allowed to pollute more than passenger cars and didn't properly assess greenhouse gas emissions when it set new minimum miles-per-gallon requirements for models in 2008 to 2011.The court also said the administration failed to include in the new rules heavier trucks driven as commuter vehicles, among several other deficiencies found.Judge Betty Fletcher wrote that the administration "cannot put a thumb on the scale by undervaluing the benefits and overvaluing the costs of more stringent standards."

A federal appeals court on Wednesday blocked a Bush administration rule that allowed logging and burning projects in national forests without first analyzing their effects on the environment.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the U.S. Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it issued the 2003 rule, which was billed as a way to reduce wildfires as part of the administration's "Healthy Forests Initiative."

Heh, yeah, remember that *Healthy Forests* baloney????

The "hazardous-fuels reduction" rule exempted logging projects up to 1,000 acres and prescribed forest burns up to 4,500 acres from environmental review.

In its opinion, the three-judge panel said the agency's failure to properly analyze the rule has caused "irreparable injury" by allowing more than 1.2 million acres of national forest land to be logged and burned each year without studying the ecological impacts

The couple believes Lakeview wrongly promotes Christianity by endorsing activities such as Prayer at the Flag Pole, National Day of Prayer and Praying Parents activities.

Jennifer Walker is part of Praying Parents, which she described as a group that meets once a month at the school to pray for the school, faculty, and the staff.

Walker said they've used fliers and the PTO newsletters to tell other parents about the group's activities.

The former principal of Lakeview Elementary School Wendell Marlowe also testified Wednesday.

Marlowe told the judge he allowed Praying Parents to meet at the school as he would any group he thought the community had an interest in.

He said he attended Prayer at the Flag Pole meetings and let Praying Parents use the school's sound system.

Marlowe also took heat for allowing a Nativity scene in a Christmas play.

Finally. I had wondered about this when Republicans in Congress altered this. If the judicial branch is truly a separate and co-equal branch of government, then judges HAVE to be able to have discretion in sentencing.

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