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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

News Follow-up

Air Date: Week of July 6, 2001

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New developments in stories we’ve been following recently.

Transcript

CURWOOD: Time now to follow up on some of the news stories we've been tracking lately. Last winter, we reported on a court case involving Rhode Island property owner Chris Palazollo. He argues he's entitled to compensation from the government because he's restricted from developing his environmentally sensitive wetlands. The state of Rhode Island says no, noting that the restrictions were in place before he bought the land. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in on the issue, ruling that property owners do have the right to challenge pre-existing development restrictions. Harvard urban planning professor Gerald Kayden says the court didn't address the merits of Mr. Palazollo's complains.

KAYDEN: All that the United States Supreme Court did was to state, unambiguously, that property owners are not barred, in every single case, from making that claim. They can make the claim in every single case, but I believe that they will lose, in the great majority of cases.

CURWOOD: Mr. Palazollo's case now goes back to the Rhode Island State Supreme Court for further consideration.

A few weeks ago, we reported on the discovery of the first condor eggs laid in the wild since the mid-1980s. That's when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service started to round up the remaining endangered birds and place them in a captive breeding and reintroduction program. But biologists in California's Los Padras National Forest concluded the egg found there was being neglected. So, they replaced it with a fake one. A couple of weeks later, that egg produced the first wild-bred condor chick born in at last 14 years.

Biologists then pulled another switcheroo, replacing the fake egg with a captive bred one just days away from hatching. The condor mother accepted the egg and helped a healthy baby condor hatch. Unfortunately, when the first time mom finally left to forage for food, another female who shared the nest killed the chick, apparently mistaking it for an intruder. Tom Brooks, of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, says the good news is, at least one female is a competent mother.

BROOKS: So that bird now has learned those skills and will be a lot further ahead next year, in the next breeding season when she breeds again. This won't be foreign or strange to her.

CURWOOD: Mr. Brooks says two females sharing a nest is not usually seen in nature. One explanation may be that, as these condors spent their youth living together in captivity, the birds decided to do the same once they were out in the wild.

And an update now on the field guide to monsters we told you about last summer. Now, an Italian scientist says sightings of the Loch Ness monster can be explained by tectonic activity beneath the lake. Waves, groans and blasts can be tied to earthquakes underwater, he says, but some British geologists don't buy the idea. They say the fault near Loch Ness is inactive. And that's this week's follow-up on the news from Living on Earth.

Just ahead: Maine's lovely off-shore islands in danger of being loved to death. First this consumer note from Jennifer Chu.

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