Environmental Administrative Agency Civil Procedure

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MassDEP Provided Substantial Discretion to Interpret Legislative Mandate in Global Warming Solutions Act

Just how much discretion will the courts give to the MassDEP to interpret legislative intent when it implements legislative directives such as a requirement to develop rules under the Global Warming Solutions Act? The...more

Finality! Common Sense Prevails Over Wetlands Jurisdictional Determinations

“All good things come to those who wait,” certainly is not an expression that applies to property owners who receive wetlands jurisdictional determinations (JD) from the Army Corps of Engineers with which they disagree. ...more

Eighth Circuit Creates Circuit Split By Holding Jurisdictional Determinations Under The Clean Water Act Constitute "Final Agency...

On April 10, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that the issuance of a jurisdictional determination (JD) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) pursuant to the Clean Water Act (CWA)...more

Landowners, Developers Win Big In Wetlands Case

Building on a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision, the Eighth Circuit ruled on April 10th that Clean Water Act jurisdictional determinations made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can be challenged in a “pre-enforcement”...more

Army Corps Jurisdictional Determinations Subject to Pre-Permit Judicial Review, Eighth Circuit Says

EPA and Army Corps of Engineers imposition of federal Clean Water Act requirements can now be challenged in court without waiting for the agencies to bring an enforcement action, at least in the Eighth Circuit. On April 10,...more

Perhaps a Corps Jurisdictional Interpretation is Final Agency Action After All

After Sackett, the question on everyone’s mind was “How far does it go?” The first test of that question was the decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals – not known as a bastion of liberalism – in Belle Company v. Corps...more

Federal Court Strikes Down HCP: No Piggybacks Under Section 10

While decisions dealing with lawsuits alleging violations of section 7 or section 9 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are rather common, it is far less common for courts to address suits under section 10. In fact, in any...more

EPA Really Has A Lot Of Discretion In Deciding Whether to Promulgate Water Quality Standards

When a number of citizen groups petitioned EPA to determine that it is necessary under the Clean Water Act to promulgate water quality standards for nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River Basin and the Northern Gulf of...more

When Uncertainty Surrounds California Solar Project, Court Defers to Agency Not Tortoise

Project opponents have been invoking the Endangered Species Act (ESA) with increasing regularity in an attempt to block the construction of large-scale renewable energy projects. ...more

Court of Appeal Upholds Regional Water Quality Control Board's TMDL Based on Pollutants in Lake Bed Sediment

On March 30, 2015, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District upheld a novel, sediment-based total maximum daily load (TMDL) set by the Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) for McGrath...more

Chromium 6: From the Code to the Courts… and Back Again

This past summer, with a little prodding from the Alameda County Superior Court in Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. California Department of Health, the California Department of Public Health met the California...more

Storm Water Update

We recently informed our clients that there has been an apparent uptick in recent months of citizens suits against storm water permittees for alleged storm water violations under the Clean Water Act. According to a recent...more

NEPA Review — Still the Land of Deference

Last week, District Judge Ralph Beistline allowed the summary judgment motion filed by the United States Forest Service, and dismissed citizen claims challenging the Forest Service decision to approve an logging project in an...more

Environmental Appeals Board Vacates Penalties for TSCA Section 8(e) Violations

The U.S. Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) issued an opinion this month that sheds light on section 8(e) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA); specifically, the applicability of the “continuing violations doctrine” to...more

D.C. District Court Denies Utility’s Intervention Because of Timing

On March 17, 2015, the D.C. District Court denied the Public Service Company of New Hampshire’s (PSNH’s) motion to intervene in a Sierra Club-initiated proceeding urging the U.S. EPA to object to a Title V permit for one of...more

Supreme Court’s Perez Decision Shines the Light on Federal Agencies’ Authority to Use “Interpretations” (Often called Shadow...

Over the last three decades, federal agencies have increasingly used “interpretations” to “explain” what a formal regulation means, rather than to go through the more expensive, complicated and slow process of changing the...more

Source Aggregation: Recent Court Decision Addresses Whether Certain Facilities are "Adjacent"

On February 23, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania issued a decision finding eight compressor stations to be "separate sources" under the Clean Air Act and State of Pennsylvania regulations....more

Texas Supreme Court opinions (2/15)

In its weekly orders (2/6/15), the Texas Supreme Court issued four new opinions and granted no petitions for review. The new opinions are as follows: No. 12-0136, Wackenhut Corp. v. Gutierrez -- This case...more

EPA Responds to Petition for Writ of Mandamus Relating to Chlorpyrifos

Along with the release of the revised human health risk assessment for chlorpyrifos, in late December 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed a Response to the Petition for a Writ of Mandamus that the...more

D.C. Circuit Rejects Psychological Harm Theory in Deer-Culling Case

This Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit issued an opinion in No. 13-5136, Grunewald v. Jarvis, affirming the lower court’s decision that the National Park Service’s promulgation of the White-Tailed Deer Management Plan was lawful. At...more

Reversing Course, EPA Tightens Its RCRA Hazardous Waste Recycling Rules

After years of relative easing in its interpretation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act rules that govern industrial recycling, the Environmental Protection Agency is now taking a harder line. A recently issued...more

First District Publishes Decision Rejecting CEQA Challenges To Cal Fire’s Approval of Gualala Area Nonindustrial Timber Management...

In a decision filed December 2, and later ordered published on December 30, 2014, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the Mendocino County Superior Court’s judgment denying a petition for writ of mandate challenging a...more

District Court Limits Tiering of Biological Opinions

On December 5, 2014, a federal district court held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) failed to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when it relied entirely on existing programmatic biological opinions to...more

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide FutureGen Clean Coal Dispute

In the closing days of its November term, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed to decide an issue of potentially enormous consequence to a major Illinois utility, agreeing to review an order of the Illinois Commerce Commission...more

DOT Denies Request to Prohibit Shipment of Bakken Crude Oil on Older Tank Cars; Environmental Groups Push Battle to Courtroom

On December 2, 2014 following the Department of Transportation’s (“DOT”) November 7, 2014 denial of their request for an immediate ban on use of older DOT-111 or CTC-111 railcars for the shipment of crude oil from the Bakken...more

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