Administrative Agency Environmental

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EPA's Concern Over TCE Vapor Intrusion Is Misguided

On July 9, 2014, the Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund Division in Region 9 issued a memo to staff setting an “operational framework” to address “inhalation exposures [to trichloroethylene] in...more

Court Reluctantly Upholds Designation of Critial Habitat for Frog

Last week, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana upheld the designation of approximately 1,544 acres of privately-owned timber land located in Louisiana as critical habitat for the dusky...more

City of San Diego's Settlement Over Alleged MS4 Permit Violations Results in Crackdown on Out-Of-Compliance Projects

On August 13, 2014, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board approved a two-part settlement with the City of San Diego for violations of the City's Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System ("MS4") permits. Most of the...more

California Coastal Commission Further Solidifies Enforcement Powers

An informal Attorney General advice letter and recent legislation attempt to clarify the Coastal Commission’s powers in carrying out its enforcement authority. The extent of the California Coastal Commission’s legal...more

Court Allows ESA Claims Involving Oversight of Pesticides to Move Forward

In Center for Biological Diversity v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 11-cv-00293-JCS, plaintiffs alleged that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violated section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by failing to...more

Critical Habitat and the Endangered Species Act: Proposed Revisions to Fundamental Regulatory Concepts

On May 12, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, the “Services”) issued notices of proposed rules and a proposed policy related to the designation of...more

Court of Appeal Clarifies Requirements for Public Input on Development Agreements

Due process rights to notice and a public hearing for those who may be affected do not apply to a public agency’s consideration of approval of a development agreement, an appellate court has ruled. In addition, the First...more

California District Court Dismisses ESA Section 7 Case for Failure to Allege that Agency Action Took Place on the "High Seas"

On August 12, a judge for the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss claims alleging that a federal agency violated section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by failing to consult with federal...more

Fifth Circuit Holds that the Army Corps of Engineers' Jurisdictional Determination Does Not Constitute a Reviewable "Final Agency...

On July 30, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the issuance of a jurisdictional determination (JD) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is not a final agency action subject to...more

New Structure of Kazakhstan’s Government

On 6 August 2014 the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan issued Decree on reorganization of the Government (the “Decree”). The Decree envisages integration of ministries or certain authorities of theirs into one...more

EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases

The United States Supreme Court ruled in June that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must reduce its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources. The EPA tried to increase two of its permit...more

CEQA Alert: Court of Appeal Blunts Latest CEQA Attack on California’s High-Speed Train System

On July 24, 2014, California’s Third Appellate District affirmed a trial court’s ruling that the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s (Authority’s) revised final program environmental impact report/environmental impact...more

How Much Deference Do States Get in Entering CERCLA Consent Decrees? Probably A Lot, But Perhaps Not As Much as You Thought

In Cannons Engineering, the First Circuit Court of Appeals famously stated that, when CERCLA consent decrees arrive at the courts of appeal for review, they do so “encased in a double layer of swaddling,” because both the EPA...more

Court Signals Green to $8.6bn California High-Speed Rail Bond Issuance

The Third District Court of Appeal reversed a Sacramento Superior Court Judge’s ruling that prohibited the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) from selling bonds under Proposition 1A to construct the High Speed Rail Project...more

Ninth Circuit Rejects CERCLA Settlement, Declines to Give Deference to State Agency

On August 1, 2014, a divided panel of the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court’s approval of a multi-party settlement at an Arizona waste site. State of Arizona v. Ashton Company Incorporated Contractors and Engineers, et...more

10th Circuit Limits ESA Consultation Obligations To Boundaries Of The Agency Action

This past week, the 10th Circuit held that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had no obligation to engage in consultation pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) where the potential effects on...more

The SJC Gives “Great Deference” to the Energy Facilities Siting Board. That’s An Understatement

In two related decisions last week, the Supreme Judicial Court issued three important rulings, and handed the Brockton Power Company one major problem in its long-running effort to build a combined-cycle gas plant in...more

New Jersey Supreme Court Allows Early Contribution Claims Under the Spill Act

Parties sued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) for remediation now have an immediate right to seek contribution from other potentially responsible parties. Following last week’s unanimous ruling...more

More on the Reach of Sackett: Corps Jurisdictional Determinations Are Not Final Agency Action

Early last month, we noted that the decision in Luminant v. EPA suggested that the reach of the Supreme Court decision in Sackett is not unlimited. The Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit agrees. In Belle Company v. Corps of...more

The Slow Grind of Justice for EPA's Carbon Emissions Regulations

It was inevitable that EPA's Clean Power Plan, regulating carbon emissions from existing power plants was going to generate law suits. Even if the suits are ultimately unsuccessful, an injunction against the Plan's adoption...more

Fifth Circuit Rejects Application of Sackett to Corps’ Jurisdictional Determination

In Belle Company, LLC et al v. USACE, No. 13-30262 (July 30, 2014), the Fifth Circuit rejected an effort to apply the Supreme Court’s decision in Sackett v. EPA, 132 S. Ct. 1367 (2012), to a determination by the Army Corps of...more

Updates: Federal Government's Efforts to Review and Devise Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations

(1) GAO Report: EPA Can Do More To Protect Groundwater from Pollutants Associated with Fracking - On Monday, July 28, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report stating that EPA can do more to...more

EPA Won't Require Formal Rulemaking for WIFIA Program

During the “Use of WIFIA” breakout session at the NCPPP P3 Connect conference this week in Denver, Elizabeth Corr, Associate Division Director for the EPA, confirmed that the agency will not need to complete the formal...more

Who Gets to Review EPA Actions? The Court of Appeals? The District Court? (Hint: The Answer Is Not “Neither One”)

The general rule under the Clean Air Act is that any: person may bring suit in district court against the EPA Administrator for an alleged failure to perform a nondiscretionary act or duty, and the district court has...more

Texas Court of Appeals Holds There is No Right Under The Administrative Procedure Act to Seek Judicial Review of a State Agency's...

On July 23, 2014, the Austin Court of Appeals held that Texas trial courts lack subject matter jurisdiction under the Texas Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to review orders by state agencies denying petitions for...more

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