Civil Procedure Environmental Energy & Utilities

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EPA, Army Corps Propose New Rule to Govern Federal Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

Intended to clarify confusion from prior US Supreme Court decisions, the rules could have far-reaching implications for many stakeholders. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Army Corps of...more

Federal Court Upholds First Offshore Oil And Gas Lease Sales After Gulf Oil Spill

On March 31, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a memorandum opinion upholding the approval, by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, of the first oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico...more

Third District Construes CEQA Guidelines’ Class 23 Categorical Exemption And “Unusual Circumstances” Exception In Rejecting...

In an exceptionally thorough and well-reasoned opinion, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment denying a writ petition challenging respondent 14th District Agricultural Association’s (District)...more

Obama Administration Releases Proposed Rule on "Waters of the United States"

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a proposed rule that will impact many segments of the U.S. economy, greatly expanding future permitting requirements. The proposed rule...more

Take That! Second District Court of Appeal Clears Major Hurdles for Newhall Ranch Project, Provides Guidance on California’s...

California’s Second District Court of Appeal, Division Five, issued a decision on March 20 in Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of Fish & Wildlife (Case No. BS131347), overturning the trial court’s decision...more

California’s LCFS Surviving Challenges As Major Changes Loom

The Air Resources Board proposes to merge court-mandated re-adoption of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard with other significant program changes. The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) continues to generate uncertainty due to...more

Real World Implications of Forest Service’s New Process for Finalizing Records Of Decision

About a year ago, the Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) issued a final rule establishing a ?new and exclusive process for filing objections to certain proposed National Forest Service (“NFS”) ?projects and activities (78...more

Federal Approval of Tule Wind Project Upheld in District Court on NEPA, Migratory Bird Act, and Bald & Golden Eagle Act Claims

On March 25, 2014, in The Protect Our Communities Foundation et al. v. Jewell et al. , the US District Court for the Southern District of California issued a decision on a challenge to the Tule Wind Project and found in favor...more

Coal Companies, Don’t Look Behind; EPA May Be Gaining on You

As the lawyers among our readers know, the denial of a certiorari petition does not establish precedent. However, that doesn’t make it unimportant. Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied cert. in Mingo Logan Coal Co. v. EPA. ...more

Ninth Circuit Upholds 2008 Biological Opinion Restricting Operations Of California Water Projects

On March 13, the Ninth Circuit issued its long-awaited decision in the latest round of the delta smelt litigation, upholding the 2008 Biological Opinion prepared by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for the combined operations...more

Court of Appeal Confirms AB 32 Target Is Proper CEQA Significance Threshold

The strongly worded opinion in Center for Biological Diversity v. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Case Number B245131)(CBD v. CDFW) by the Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District has confirmed...more

Yes, Virginia, NSR Really is a Preconstruction Permitting Program: Another NSR Enforcement Case Fails on Statute of Limitations...

The trend of cases holding that the NSR provisions of the Clean Air Act constitute a one-time preconstruction review requirement got stronger earlier this month, as the decision in Sierra Club v. Oklahoma Gas and Electric...more

Are Fracking Fluid Recipes Trade Secrets? Wyoming Supreme Court Sends Issue Back to District Court

In a unanimous opinion issued March 12, 2014, the Wyoming Supreme Court reversed and remanded a case concerning the confidentiality of the ingredients in fracking fluids. The decision keeps alive a challenge to the...more

Breathing New Life Into Pennsylvania’s Environmental Rights Amendment

On Dec. 19, 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a controversial decision in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania addressing the injunction entered by the Commonwealth Court enjoining the enforcement of a...more

February Closes with Significant Activity Relating to EPA's Regulation of Greenhouse Gases

Last week saw two developments regarding EPA's regulation of greenhouse gases. On February 24, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. the Environmental Protection...more

NSR Emissions Projections — Finally, An Area Where It is the Regulated Entity Which Is Entitled to Deference

Last spring, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that when power plant owners compare actual emissions to projected future actual emissions for the purpose of determining whether a project is subject to the Clean Air Act’s...more

Clean Air Act Ruling May Curb Suits

Last month, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to re-hear en banc a decision handed down last October by a three-judge panel, thereby leaving in place a decision that could be a major hurdle for plaintiffs in...more

Ninth Circuit Reverses NEPA Approval of an Oil and Gas Lease in the Chukchi Sea

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) of the Department of Interior sought to lease approximately 30 million acres of federal land in the Chukchi Sea for oil and gas development, but, according to a recent decision by...more

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Landmark Case on Federal Greenhouse Gas Regulation

My colleague, Daniel Lee, followed oral argument yesterday in the U.S. Supreme Court's consideration of federal greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, and provides this analysis...more

US Supreme Court considers EPA greenhouse gas emissions regulations

May the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and industry under the Clean Air Act? The Supreme Court of the United States heard oral argument on this issue yesterday,...more

Divisional Court Overturns Environmental Review Tribunal Decision and Allows Wind Project to Proceed

In an important decision for stakeholders in the Ontario renewable energy industry, the Divisional Court of Ontario overturned the July 2013 decision by the Environmental Review Tribunal (the ERT) in Ostrander Point. In its...more

Ontario Court Backs Wind Developer at Ostrander Point

In July 2013, the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) revoked the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) issued to Gilead Power to develop a nine-turbine, 22.5-megawatt wind power project at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County....more

There May Be Trouble Ahead: Legal Challenges on Home Turf Threaten U.S. Ex-Im Bank Funding for Foreign Mining Projects

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is facing a new wave of legal challenges related to the financing of natural resource projects outside of the US, and which threaten to de-rail one of Western...more

Ninth Circuit Denies Rehearing in Clean Air Act Greenhouse Gas Case

As we discussed in an earlier post, in October 2013 the Ninth Circuit held in Washington Environmental Council v. Bellon, 732 F.3d 1131, that it lacked jurisdiction to hear certain environmental organizations’ challenge to...more

Mixed Result In A Louisiana Legacy Pollution Case

The Dietz family sued several lessees for injunctive relief and restorative damages arising out of leases on two non-contiguous tracts in Acadia Parish. In Dietz, et al. v. Superior Oil Company, et al the trial court granted...more

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