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Man Bites Dog
There are so many stories about environmental groups suing corporations for allegedly polluting the environment, etc..., that Winston generally does not report them. This time, however, the tables are turned, and the story comes from one of Winston's favorite places: the State of Tasmania, Australia.

The timber company Gunns Ltd. Has filed a 216-page "writ" in Victorian Supreme Court. A "writ" is a complaint in US court-terms, and 216 pages is a long complaint anywhere. Gunns is suing 20 individuals and environmental groups that Gunns claims committed the tort of "corporate villification" against it. The claims include various allegedly tortious acts committed by the defendants in response to Gunns's accidentally spraying the herbicide atrazine on a Tasmanian farm. The accidental spraying was the subject of a media campaign and alleged acts of vandalism by some of the defendants, who claimed that Gunns had dropped a carcinogen on them and on the unquestionably beautiful Tasmanian forests.

The only problem with the defendants's claims is that atrazine does not cause cancer. If you don't believe Winston, then maybe you'll believe the Australian Pesticides & Veterinary Medicines Authority, which recently concluded that atrazine doesn't hurt anything except the weeds it was designed to kill. The US EPA also recently concluded that atrrazine is not likely to cause cancer.

The defendants in the Gunns suit include Australian Green party leaders Bob Brown and Peg Putt, and the Australian Wilderness Party. Senator Brown is reported as denouncing the suit as "a US-style writ to hector the strongholds of the popular environmental movement into silence and submission...." Sorry Senator Brown, but we don't get these types of cases in US courts. Here, it's always enviros hectoring corporations.

  • Click to read Australian conclusion that atrazine is harmless.
  • Click to read EPA conclusion that atrazine is not likely to cause cancer. (page 2)

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