Kenyan Court Halts Biofuels Project, Pending Environmental Review

A $370 million biofuels project planned for the Tana Delta in Kenya has been stalled by a high court order, which found that environmentalists and citizen groups who claim that the project will devastate wildlife and the grazing grounds of local herders can apply for a judicial review. The Mumias Sugar Company project, which involves planting 2,000 square kilometers of wetlands with sugarcane for ethanol, is backed by the Kenyan government. Opponents claim that when the government approved the project, it ignored a study warning that the proposed irrigation would deprive herders of water during dry seasons. More than 350 species of birds, lions, elephants, rare sharks, and reptiles are native to the delta and may also be threatened by the project, conservationists say. Government officials counter that the project will provide jobs and boost sugar production in Kenya.