Environmental Impact Assessments, Evidence, Liability, Burden of Proof, Torts, Permits, Inspections, Wildlife, Taxation, Contract

Huajin, an aluminum company, constructed a barrage to divert water from a river for a construction project.  This caused water levels to drop downstream, where Taipinhe, a fish farm, was unable to retrieve enough water for its breeding ponds.  Taipinhe attempted multiple times to intervene with Huajin and local authorities to restore water flow, without effect.  As a result, large amounts of Taipihhe’s fish were killed due to water and oxygen deprivation.  The court found Huajin liable for the value of the fish killed.

Key environmental legal questions
  • Was Huajin subjectively at fault: Huajin was subjectively at fault for building the barrage without conducting and Environmental Impact Assessment, operating the barrage without permission at the time of the incident, and failing to notify downstream users of its operations.
  • Was there a causal link resulting in liability: The reduction of water volume at the fishery did not occur until Huajin began diverting and storing water.  There was thus a causal link, making Huajin liable for the value of the lost fish.