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Current International Update

International developments reported in the current issue of ELR's Weekly Update appear below. For previously reported international news, please use the filter function on the left. For older material reported between 2000 and 2010, visit the Weekly Update Archives.

Volume 45, Issue 9

COAL-FIRED PLANT EMISSIONS LEAD TO LEGAL PROBLEMS FOR UK

Country: United Kingdom

The European Commission announced it will take legal action against the United Kingdom for violating emission limits for nitrogen dioxide (NOx) at a coal-fired power plant in Wales. The Aberthaw plant, located in the Vale of Glamorgan, is permitted to emit over twice the NOx allowed under the EU's large combustion plant directive. That directive was passed seven years ago and is scheduled to be replaced by even stricter standards in 2016. The Commission believes it would be impossible for Aberthaw to meet the new standard, and expressed impatience over the UK's transition plan.

DRC CONSIDERS BORDER CHANGES FOR FAMED VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK

Country: DRC

The Democratic Republic of Congo has announced that it will consider revising the boundaries of Virunga National Park in an effort to accommodate oil exploration in the area. The government announced the possible change following the voluntary halting of exploratory activities within the park by Soco International last year. The British company ceased operations in Virunga after completing seismic surveys, the results of which will be turned over to DRC officials. Changes to the borders would have to be approved by UNESCO, as the park was designated a World Heritage Site in 1994.

CHILEAN COURT RULES FOR GOLD MINE IN GLACIER PROTECTION SUIT

Country: Chile

Chile's Environmental Court ruled in favor of the Barrick Gold Corporation on March 23 in a case emblematic of the country's political debate over glacier protection. Local farmers and environmental organizations claimed the company's Pascua-Lama gold and silver mining project is harming three glaciers and their associated watersheds. The Santiago court determined that Barrick has not harmed glaciers within its "area of influence." The Pascua-Lama project has been on hold ever since low gold prices and political and regulatory hurdles sidelined it in October of 2013.

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