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EPA Re-gains “Green Light” to Regulate Permitting Procedures - D.C. Circuit overturns lower court decisions on EPA permitting...

Two district court orders declaring the federal Environmental Protection Agency acted illegally when it implemented certain permitting procedures for coal mining operations have been vacated by a federal court of appeals....more

The Clean Power Plan: State Implementation Plans Building Block 2 – The Re-dispatch Option

On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced proposed regulations (the “Clean Power Plan” Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”)) to limit greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions from existing...more

Fourth Circuit Affirms Liability for Selenium Discharges - Rejects Permit Shield Defense

By a published decision released on July 11, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a district court decision out of the Western District of Virginia finding that A & G Coal Corporation (“A & G”)...more

Texas City Council Rejects Fracking Ban

On July 16, 2014, the City Council of Denton, Texas rejected an ordinance that would prohibit hydraulic fracturing. The initiative will now be considered by the Denton residents in the November election. Earlier this year,...more

Efforts to Avoid Ballot Measures on Fracking Fail in Colorado

Faced with the potential for two anti-fracking measures on the Colorado ballot this November, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper and state lawmakers have been working for weeks to develop a legislative compromise to avoid...more

Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Proposed Rule Defining “Waters of the United States” Under the...

On April 21, 2014, the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (collectively the “Agencies”) released a proposed rule to define the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act...more

Only When a Permit is Required: The Supreme Court Caps the EPA’s Authority to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Stationary...

Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA et al. 573 U.S. ____ (2014) - On June 23, 2014, the United States Supreme Court held that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overstepped its authority under the Clean Air Act...more

Water, Water everywhere …

There were two court decisions this week regarding regulation of Maine rivers, one from the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, Watts v. BEP, and one federal, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay v. Hydro Kennebec, LLC. ...more

New York Court of Appeals Upholds Local Fracking Bans

The New York Court of Appeals, in a 5-2 decision, held that the New York State Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law (“OGSML”) does not preempt municipal zoning authority. The Court explained that land use regulation is among the...more

CEQA Exemption Update: Westland Water District Two-Year Contract Renewals Ruled Exempt from CEQA Requirements

In North Coast Rivers Alliance v. Westlands Water District, No. FO67383 (Cal. Ct. App. 5th Dist. July 3, 2014), the Fifth Appellate District upheld the Westland Water District and its related distribution districts’ (Water...more

Missoula, MT and Apple Valley, CA Team Up for Water Fight

In what might appear as a strange pairing, the city of Missoula, Montana and Apple Valley, California are collaborating on how to take back their local water systems. As reported by the Missoulian, the water systems for both...more

Capital Thinking: Environment and Natural Resources

REGULATORY ACTIVITY - GREENHOUSE GAS - Pursuant to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will soon propose to prohibit certain chemicals contributing to emissions of...more

Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Calls Proposed Denton Fracking Ban ‘Extremely Misguided’; Asks City Council to Reject Measure

On July 11th, Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman sent a letter to the mayor and city council members for Denton, Texas asking that the council reject a proposal to ban hydraulic fracturing in Denton. Chairman...more

Riders on the Storm Beware

Every summer, warm weather prompts millions to flock to bodies of water. While sunbathers likely give little thought to the source of water in which they frolic, design professionals and builders of public and private...more

Environmental and Energy: Hydraulic Fracturing: Courts and Localities Act Where New York State Fears To Tread (7/14)

In an opinion issued on June 24, 2014, the New York Court of Appeals upheld the zoning laws adopted by the Towns of Dryden and Middlefield to ban oil and gas production activities, including hydraulic fracturing, within their...more

Fifth Circuit Limits the Reach of ESA "Take Liability" for State Regulatory Agencies Based on "Proximate Causation" Principles

The Fifth Circuit's decision provides important legal and factual guidance for whether an action will cause a "take" under the ESA. While the decision only affects states covered by the Fifth Circuit (Texas, Louisiana and...more

District Court Denies Motion to Enjoin Delta Water Transfers

Last Friday, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied a motion brought by environmental groups to enjoin a water transfer project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (Delta). Plaintiffs...more

EPA Wins Two Clean Water Cases in One Day: The Fourth Circuit Affirms a Narrow Construction of the Permit Shield Defense

Yesterday, I noted that the D.C. Circuit rejected challenges to EPA’s Enhanced Coordination Process and Final Guidance on Clean Water Act permitting for mining activities. It was not EPA’s only CWA victory. On the same day,...more

Water Issues Reframe State Fracking Debate

The debate over fracking continues nationwide, but in California there is an increasing focus on one major issue: water supply. With the state facing one of the most severe droughts on record and water regulators tightening...more

Fifth District Upholds CEQA Exemptions For Ongoing Pre-CEQA Projects And Continued Operation of Existing Facilities To Reject...

In a July 3, 2014 published decision more notable for the practical importance of the water rights involved than the CEQA law applied, the Fifth District Court of Appeal rejected the CEQA challenges of various environmental...more

The D.C. Circuit Rejects Challenge to EPA’s Final Guidance on CWA Coal Mining Permits: EPA Action Has to Be Really, Really, Final...

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit reversed Judge Reggie Walton’s decision from 2012 and affirmed EPA’s authority to adopt the “Enhanced Coordination Process” governing coordination with the Army Corps of Engineers in the processing...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - July 2014 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus: House holds hearing on proposed ‘Waters of the United States’ rule - Association of California Water Agencies - Jul 9: The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing...more

President Obama Signs Water Resources Reform & Development Act of 2014 #2

President Obama recently signed into law the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 ("WRRDA"). The President's action follows Congressional approval of the Conference Agreement reached in May by House and Senate...more

Supreme Court’s CEQA Docket Expands With Grant of Review in Newhall Ranch Case

On July 9, 2014, the California Supreme Court granted the petition for review filed by Plaintiff/Respondent Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in Center for Biological Diversity, et al. v. Department of Fish and Game...more

Colorado Supreme Court Clears Ballot Initiative Aimed at Bolstering Local Control of Oil and Gas Drilling

On June 30, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion In the Matter of the Title, Ballot Title, and Submission Clause for 2013–2014 #89[1] (Initiative 89). In affirming the finding of the state’s Ballot Title Setting...more

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