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US-ENVIRONMENT Summary

Sep 4, 2011, 11:45 p.m.

Analysis: Damages ruling may be pivotal in BP case

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A key court ruling in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill litigation could change the landscape in the massive case -- encouraging more plaintiffs to sue, or spurring the parties to make a deal to resolve what could be a long string of trials over damages. Last week, the judge overseeing a group of spill-related lawsuits against BP Plc and its business partners ruled that claims for punitive damages -- not just compensatory damages -- could be brought by fishermen and other plaintiffs alleging harm to physical property. If a jury ultimately awards these plaintiffs punitive damages, defendants could be forced to pay out big.

Ontario "mega-quarry" faces environmental review

TORONTO (Reuters) - Ontario has ordered a full environmental review of a proposed "mega-quarry" backed by one of Boston's best-known hedge funds, a move that may threaten a project that has already raised local opposition. The project, which would supply crushed limestone for Toronto's booming construction industry, has counted value investor Seth Klarman's Baupost Group as one of its investors.

Tropical Storm Lee forms near Louisiana Coast: NHC

(Reuters) - Tropical Depression 13 has strengthened into Tropical Storm Lee, south of the Louisiana coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its report on Friday. The latest alert from the NHC said the storm was located about 200 miles southeast of Cameron, Louisiana and about 210 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River, with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 km/h).

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