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Environmental Case Law Update

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” Many important environmental and administrative law decisions were reported by the federal and state courts over the past six months. The courts are dealing with very...more

Quicksands and Cutting Edges of the Law: Do Municipal Utility Customers possess Due Process and Vested Rights to Continued...

Sometimes, I read a court’s opinion and put it aside because it is thought provoking beyond its facts and outcome. The case of United States Cold Storage, Inc. v. Town of Warsaw, __ N.C. App. ___, 784 S.E. 2d 575 (April 5,...more

Robinson Township v. Commonwealth – Is Any of Act 13 Left?

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck four additional portions of Act 13 of 2012 in its much anticipated second decision in the Robinson Twp. v. Com. litigation (Robinson IV) on September 28, 2016. While the decision and its...more

The Saga of Pennsylvania's Act 13 Comes to an End

With a bang, rather than a whimper, the saga of Pennsylvania’s Act 13 appears to have finally come to an end. On September 28, 2016, nearly three years after giving teeth to the long-dormant environmental rights amendment to...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Issues New Decision in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth Case

On September 28, 2016, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a highly anticipated decision in the Robinson Township v. Commonwealth case, in which petitioners challenged numerous provisions of Act 13 of 2012, 58 Pa. Con....more

Clean Power Plan has its day in court - Will the D.C. Circuit uphold EPA’s landmark CO2 regulations?

In a marathon day-long session before a packed courtroom (and a number of overflow rooms) on Tuesday, September 27, 2016, the full US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit heard oral arguments in a litigation challenging the...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - August 2016 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - Lawmakers and Governor Brown claim major victory on climate change bills - Sacramento Bee - Aug 24 - California lawmakers on Wednesday advanced a pair of bills to sustain the...more

Municipal Condemnation of Privately Held Utilities Continues to be a Hot Issue, but at what Cost?

In January, I spoke at a conference in Austin about efforts by municipalities to condemn privately-held utility companies. At the time, I figured it would be a one-off presentation on a pretty niche issue, even for eminent...more

Greater Flexibility in Challenging Pipeline Takings

The standards contained in the Uniform Condemnation Procedures Act allow greater flexibility to trial judges when evaluating the necessity of a pipeline taking than other takings. Since initially writing this post, as a...more

The Arbitrary and Capricious Standard Remains Deferential: The Corps’ Nationwide Permit 21 Survives Review

Late last week, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges to the Army Corps’ Nationwide Permit 21, which allows small surface mining projects to proceed without individual permits under § 404. ...more

Alameda Fracking Ban: All Bark with No Bite

On July 19, 2016, Alameda County, California (“County”) became the first county in the Bay Area to approve a ban on hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”). The County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the ban through...more

Coal Plant Shutdowns: Operators Need to Manage Community Relationships

Imagine this scenario: A company operates a coal ash landfill. Local citizens protest and organize an advocacy group against it and create a Facebook page. The company responds by suing the individual members of the group for...more

Sewer Connection Must Be By The Least Restrictive Means

Barbara L. Yoder and Joseph I. Yoder (“Owners”) own a home in Sugar Grove Township, Pennsylvania (“Township”), which has a mandatory sewer connection ordinance (the “Ordinance”), requiring connection to the Sugar Grove Area...more

Stay in your Lane: Three Recent, Significant Rulings Enforce State and Federal Separation of Powers

Builders and contractors may be interested to learn that, in the past few days, the Supreme Courts of Texas capitoland Colorado, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit have issued significant rulings addressing the...more

Fracking Scores with Two Colorado Supreme Court Opinions

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a hotly debated topic in many states. In New York and Pennsylvania, anti-fracking groups have obtained a statewide ban on fracking and the allowance of local authority to regulate...more

Gas Company May Challenge Local Ordinance Prohibiting Deposit of Flowback Water into Underground Injection Wells

A Federal Magistrate Judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that an oil and gas exploration company may challenge a township ordinance that makes it unlawful to deposit flowback water into underground injection wells within the...more

SC Public Policy Update - March 2016 #3

What's New - SENATE - The Senate spent the week on the floor working on a compromise to S .997, a bill by Senator Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg) that would track refugees that are located in South Carolina. Senators...more

State Well Permit Prevails Over Local Zoning – Again

The state laws of Louisiana regulating oil and gas exploration and production will trump local regulations. See St. Tammany Parish Government v. State of Louisiana, Office of Conservation. (Forgive us for that word that...more

Federal Court Refuses To Reinstate Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing: What Now, And What’s Next?

Last fall a federal court in the Western District of Texas upheld a challenge to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (Service) decision to list the lesser prairie chicken (LEPC) as a threatened species under the federal...more

Renewable Energy Case Law Update

This case law update describes a selection of renewable energy cases from 2015. It is not intended to address all renewable energy cases over the previous year, but rather, highlight a few that are more likely to be of...more

MPSC Approved Wolverine Pipe Line Project in Wayne and Washtenaw Counties

Wolverine Pipe Line Company received the administrative approval that is a prerequisite to it acquiring necessary property rights and constructing its project. On June 17, 2015, Wolverine Pipe Line Company filed anApplication...more

Are Groundwater Pumping Fees or Charges Subject to Proposition 218? California Supreme Court to Resolve Conflicting Precedent

In 2015 California’s Sixth and Second District Courts of Appeal issued conflicting opinions regarding whether groundwater extraction fees or charges are subject to Article 13D of the California Constitution (Proposition 218)....more

Possible Chicanery by DTE On Milford Bypass Loop Pipeline?

Has DTE withheld distribution of complete easements, including the exhibit containing the legal description of the encumbered property, in an attempt to hide the true impacts of the easements from homeowners? Last night, I...more

Pennsylvania State Trial Court Dismisses Appeal Challenging Constitutionality of Local Ordinance Regulating Natural Gas Drilling

In Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et al. v. Middlesex Township Zoning Hearing Board, A.D. No. 15-10429 (Nov. 19, 2015), Butler County Judge S. Michael Yeager upheld a gas drilling ordinance that was challenged by residents and...more

Trans Mountain Expansion Project: Burnaby’s Latest Bid for Jurisdiction Unsuccessful

The City of Burnaby’s latest effort to assert jurisdiction over work performed in Burnaby in connection with the Trans Mountain Expansion Project was recently dismissed for procedural and constitutional reasons in Burnaby...more

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