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Environmental Case Law Update – 1st Six Months of 2017

On March 21, 2017, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of National Labor Relations Board v. SW General, Inc. This case concerns the operation and application of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA). ...more

Environmental Regs That Have Been Revoked, Stayed or Postponed by the New Administration

Only a few existing federal environmental rules have been set aside or overturned by the new Administration, and these actions were taken by the Congress in accordance with the special procedures of the Congressional Review...more

Section 2462’s Five-Year Statute of Limitations Governs Agency’s Disgorgement Claim For Violation of a Federal Law

In the case of Kokesh v. SEC, decided on June 5, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court held that the 28 U.S.C. § 2462, which apples to “any action, suit or proceeding for the enforcement of any civil fine, penalty or forfeiture,...more

District Court Again Orders FTA To Provide An SEIS for Purple Line Expansion Project

In an interesting decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on May 22, the District Court again held that metro-300x200a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) must be provided by the...more

7th Circuit Discusses Equitable Tolling

Seeking regulatory relief from even an exotic statute like the the Commodity Exchange Act requires adherence to the relevant provisions of the law. Failure to comply with, for example, a provision governing timely pursuing a...more

Exemption 4 of FOIA Not Revoked By Later Enacted CWA Section 308

On May 30, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit decided the case of Environmental Integrity Project, et al. v. EPA. Affirming the District Court, the Court of Appeals held that Exemption 4 of the Freedom of...more

FERC’s Certificate Order Did Not Violate CWA Sequencing Requirements

Many large and complicated construction projects require the issuance of several differed permits having different requirements. Courts strive to interpret their requirements in a rational and reasonable manner. On May 23,...more

Ozark Society Lacks Standing To Pursue Injunctive Relief

In Ouachita Watch League, et al., v. U.S. Forest Service, et al., decided May 30, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit dismissed for lack of jurisdiction an appeal of the District Court’s ruling that the plaintiff...more

SCOTUS Interprets Federal Employers’ Liability Act

Fundamental fairness requires that before a company doing business in several states is sued in a particular state that it has substantial contacts with that state. Merely being present in that state will not satisfy the...more

Town of DISH’s and Its Residents’ Takings Claims Barred By Statute of Limitations

Litigating parties may be so invested in the rightness of their cause that they neglect to check the calendar, and the relevant stature of limitations. On May 19, the Texas Supreme Court decided the case of Town of DISH, et...more

Texas Supreme Court Discusses Rights Conveyed by a Mineral Lease

The recent Lightning Oil Company v. Anadarko E&P Onshore, LLC F/K/A Andarko E&P Company, LP, decision of the Texas Supreme Court, which clarified the rights and obligations of owners of the surface property and the mineral...more

DC Circuit Considers When a Voluntary Remand Is Appropriate

The endless variety of federal regulatory programs are subject to the requirements of federal administrative law, i.e., the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). The APA is chiefly the province of the U.S. Court of Appeals for...more

DC Circuit Discusses “Limited Purpose” Public Figures

On May 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a significant ruling in Kahl v. Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. The Court of Appeals addresses (i) whether Yorie Von Kahl is a public figure for First...more

DC Circuit Considers Scope of FOIA Exemption 9

Federal government records, including business records submitted to the government, are subject to disclosure under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). However, FOIA exempts nine categories of government records...more

District Court Dismiss Bid To Force DOI To Decide Whether NEPA Policy Changes Are Needed

On May 4, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a “Deepwater Horizon” ruling in Center for Biological Diversity v. Zinke. The Center for Biological Diversity’s (Center) claims concerns the Department of...more

5th Circuit Discusses Privilege Logs In Connection With EEOC Investigation

Company records and communications are typically subject to disclosure in government investigations. They may be protected from disclosure if they are protected by the attorney client privilege or attorney-work product...more

Congress Includes Many Statements of Environmental Policy and Preferences in Omnibus Appropriations Act

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 authorized appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2017. This large and copious bill provides funding for all Federal agencies for this fiscal year. The Congressional committees included...more

Texas Federal Court Discusses Regulatory Affirmative Defenses To CAA Claims

In a very complex, hard-fought case, U.S. District Judge David Hittner discusses how the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) regulatory affirmative defenses to alleged Clean Air Act (CAA) violations will be...more

Texas Supreme Court Confirms That Commerce Clause Does Not Prohibit Levying Of Property Taxes On Stored Natural Gas

Will the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause always insulate interstate commerce from the imposition of state and local taxes? Not always, as the Texas Supreme Court recently confirmed, when it agreed with the Court of...more

Texas Supreme Court Discusses Primary Jurisdiction For Environmental Contamination Claims

On April 28, the Texas Supreme Court, affirming the Court of Appeals of Texas, First District, sitting in Houston, issued a unanimous ruling in the case of Forest Oil Corporation v. El Rucio Land and Cattle Company, Inc., et...more

Louisiana’s Subsequent Purchaser Rule Bars Property Owner’s Claims

On April 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling in a Louisiana case that dismissed the plaintiff’s claims for property damage based on contamination caused to his property by...more

Agreed Judgments Rendered Without the State of Texas’ Consent Must Be Set Aside

On April 20, an intermediate Court of Appeals for the First Court of Appeals, sitting in Houston, reversed the trial court and directed that court to reinstate an environmental enforcement action that had purportedly been...more

4/27/2017  /  Appeals , Enforcement Actions

CWA Citizen Suit Dismissed Where Plaintiffs Failed to Allege “Conveyance of Pollutants Into Navigable Waters

On April 20, the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Anderson Division, dismissed the plaintiffs’ Clean Water Act (CWA) Citizen Suit which alleged that the defendant pipeline operators had violated the CWA...more

Court of Appeals Dismisses Appeal For Lack Of Jurisdiction

On April 20, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a unanimous ruling that may terminate much of the litigation triggered by the bankruptcy of Tronox Inc. The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal for lack...more

District Court Confirms Work-Product Doctrine Privilege Covers Only Certain Documents Exchanged With Third Party Consultants

On April 14, a U.S. Magistrate serving with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana issued a ruling in a matter involving the attorney-client and attorney work product privileges. The case is Valley Forge...more

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