Environmental Civil Procedure

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EPA Finalizes Rule Defining Waters of the United States

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a prepublication version of its rule defining the waters of the United States, also referred to as the Clean Water Rule (the Rule). The EPA issued this Rule to...more

EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Approve New Definition of "Waters of the United States"

The U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today that they have jointly approved a new definition of the key term "waters of the United States," a term that defines the limits of federal jurisdiction over...more

PRPs May Want To Dig In With Divisibility Defense

In a victory for potentially responsible parties at multiparty contamination sites, a federal district court in U.S. v. NCR Corp., No. 10-C-910 (E.D. Wis. May 15, 2015), held a PRP established that environmental harm at a...more

Clean Water Act: New Rule Significantly Expands Reach of Federal Jurisdiction

On May 27, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) finalized the long-anticipated Clean Water Rule. The Rule defines the term “waters of the United States” as used by...more

Revision Of Coal Mining Permit By Environmental Group Results In Attorney Fee Award

In Black Mesa v. Jewell, 2015 DJDAR 1050, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that an environmental group was entitled to an award of attorney fees arising out of their challenge to the Office...more

Court Rules Planned Development of Banning Ranch May Proceed

In Banning Ranch Conservancy v. City of Newport Beach (filed 5/20/2015, No. G049691), the California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, held the Environmental Impact Report prepared by the City of Newport Beach for the partial...more

Easy Cases Make Better Law — Standing Edition

In an interesting, but not really difficult, decision on Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the National Association of Home Builders did not have standing to challenge a consent decree pursuant to which...more

Fourth District Holds CEQA Does Not Require City To Predict ESHA Determinations In Approving Project Over Which Coastal Commission...

In a published opinion filed May 20, 2015, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s judgment granting mandate relief based on a general plan violation, affirmed its denial of relief under CEQA, and...more

Kansas Thumbed Its Nose at EPA’s SIP Requirements — How’d That Work Out?

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals today rejected Kansas’s challenge to EPA’s disapproval of Kansas’s SIP revisions intended to comply with the Interstate Transport Rule. The Court found that EPA was not arbitrary or...more

District Court Imposes Divisibility Cap on Superfund Liability

A Wisconsin district court has ruled that NCR Corporation’s liability for contamination in the Fox River is limited to NCR’s share of contamination contributed to the river....more

Half a Loaf May Not Be Too Bad: The 9th Circuit Affirms Most of EPA’s Approval of the San Joaquin Valley SIP

Earlier this week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted part of a petition challenging EPA’s approval of California’s SIP for ozone and PM 2.5 in the San Joaquin Valley.  While the trade press has been focusing on the...more

MassDEP Has A Lot of Discretion in Implementing the Global Warming Solutions Act

Unsatisfied with the pace of the administration’s implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act, the Conservation Law Foundation sued the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, seeking a court order...more

PRP in CERCLA Enforcement Action Saves Millions of Dollars with Successful Divisibility Defense

Action Item: On March 15, 2015, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in United States v. NCR Corp., No. 10-C-910 (E.D. Wis. May 15, 2015), held that a potentially responsible party (“PRP”) at...more

Impact of California Appellate Decision on Proposition 65 Actions Unclear

On April 28, 2015, the Environmental Law Foundation (“ELF”) filed a petition in the California Supreme Court for review of the Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Environmental Law Foundation v. Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp., et...more

Ninth Circuit Issues Decision in Civil Rights Case in Review of California SIP

On May 8, 2015, in El Comite Para El Bienestar De Earlimart v. EPA, a Panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review filed by several groups that the court describes as “community...more

Preliminary Injunction Motion Filed To Stop BLM’s Final Fracking Rule

Last Friday, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and the Western Energy Alliance (WEA) opened their arguments on a preliminary injunction motion to halt the federal Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final...more

The SJC Walks Back the GE Decision; State Agencies Can Protect Work Product

In its 1999 decision in GE v. DEP, the SJC surprised most Massachusetts lawyers by ruling that the Commonwealth’s Public Records Act (our version of FOIA) did not have an exemption for work product materials and that it had...more

Ninth Circuit Strictly Construes “Single Local Event” Exception to CAFA Jurisdiction for Mass Actions

In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals strictly construed the “single local event” exception to federal jurisdiction under CAFA as not encompassing “events or occurrences” that are of a continuing...more

Are Concurrent CERCLA Claims For Section 107(a) Cost Recovery and Section 113(f) Contribution Permissible?

Given the uncertainties after Cooper Industries v. Aviall about what cause of action a PRP has for recovering response costs under CERCLA, many parties take the prudent course of pleading claims under both for cost recovery...more

Sixth District Applies CEQA’s “Fair Argument” Standard, Holds That Despite Project’s Compliance With Local Noise Ordinance, EIR...

On May 7, 2015, the Sixth District Court of Appeal filed a published opinion addressing numerous issues of interest under CEQA’s “fair argument” test for preparing an Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”). Keep Our Mountains...more

California Water Law Update

To address the worsening drought, on April 1, 2015, Governor Brown issued Executive Order B-29-15 (“Executive Order”), mandating a 25% reduction in potable urban water consumption. In response, the State Water Resources...more

Court of Appeal Sinks Challenge to TMDL for Lake Bed Sediment

A Court of Appeal has upheld the Regional Board’s adoption of the total maximum daily load (TMDL) for concentration of pollutants in the sediment in McGrath Lake, rejecting the claim that TMDLs may not be stated in terms of...more

Bill to Streamline Federal Permitting for Major Energy and Infrastructure Projects Advances in the US Senate

On May 6, 2015, the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs voted 12-1 in favor of a bill designed to streamline the Federal permitting process for major energy and infrastructure projects. The bill,...more

Sweeping Colorado Supreme Court Order Limits Lone Pine Approach

The Colorado Supreme Court issued a sweeping ruling that will limit, if not eliminate, Lone Pine-style case management orders in Colorado toxic tort cases. See Antero Resources v. Strudley, 2015 BL 111122 (Colo. Apr. 20,...more

Pennsylvania Federal Court Strikes Class Allegations in Air Pollution Suit

Underscoring the requirement that class action plaintiffs clearly and objectively define the putative class without reference to the underlying merits of plaintiffs’ claims, a federal district court in Pennsylvania struck...more

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