Kerala's Cola rift A division bench of the Kerala High Court recently allowed Pepsico to begin operations in its plant in Puthussery village panhayat in Kerala's Palakkad district. In 2004, the panchayat cancelled the firm's licence to operate the plant, alleging that it used excessive groundwater leading to water shortage in the area. Following this, Pepsi had approached the court. The court has set aside the panchayat's action saying it has no right to act in such matters. Since the factory is in an industrial area, authorised government officials should handle such issues, the court said. The state government will appeal.
Need for a chair On April 4, 2007, the Delhi High Court directed the Union ministry of environment and forests to fill vacant posts of chairperson and vice-chairperson of the National Environmental Appellate Authority (NEAA).The ruling came during the hearing of a case filed by Vimalbhai of Matu Peoples Organisation, a Delhi-based NGO. Vimalbhai filed the case in September 2005 after NEAA refused to admit an appeal against clearance for a hydel project in Uttarakhand. The court had directed NEAA to consider the appeal, but a review was put on hold. The next hearing will be on May 16.
Emission rights A federal court trial over whether states have the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles got underway on April 10, 2007, at the US district court in Burlington. The auto industry has challenged Vermont's strict emission limits. It argues caps won't help stem global warming. Currently, 10 states, including Vermont, have followed California in adopting standards tougher than federal rules. They want a 30 per cent cut in carbon dioxide emissions. The industry has sued California and Rhode Island, but Vermont is the first to go to trial.