Environmental Civil Procedure

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Weekend Roundup of Environmental and Regulatory Law Developments

Recently there have been some interesting developments in environmental and regulatory law, including litigation, administrative and regulatory actions, and legislation. I’ve provided you with a little lite reading to ease...more

An Air of Change in CERCLA Liability? Pakootas v. Teck Cominco and CERCLA’s Federal Permit Shield

A case recently argued before the Ninth Circuit, Pakootas v. Teck Cominco Metals, Ltd., 9th Cir., No. 15-35228, could pave the way for a new theory of liability for parties who release air emissions during the course of...more

SCOTUS Gives Landowners New Tools to Challenge Wetlands Permitting Decisions

The United States Supreme Court handed landowners and developers a win this month in a unanimous decision allowing appeals to federal courts of Army Corps of Engineers determinations that a body of water or wetland is subject...more

Court Strikes Down BLM Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

US District Court rejects US Bureau of Land Management’s rule regarding hydraulic fracturing operations on federal and Tribal lands. On June 21, 2016, the US District Court for the District of Wyoming (District Court)...more

Subpoenas and SLAPP Motions to Dismiss

If an individual or entity believes a subpoena is aimed at silencing debate on a matter of public interest, can it invoke the DC anti-SLAPP statute in response?  That is the question presented by a recent anti-SLAPP motion...more

Supreme Court Declines to Give Chevron Deference to Agency Regulation that Departed from Prior Agency Practice

On June 20, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 6-2 opinion in Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro et al., holding that the U.S. Department of Labor (Labor Department) was not entitled to receive Chevron deference with respect...more

New York Court Holds Pollution Exclusion Applicable to Love Canal Claims

In its recent decision in Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. Roy’s Plumbing, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75958 (W.D.N.Y. June 10, 2016), the United States District Court for the Western District of New York had occasion to consider...more

NEPA Does Not Require An Agency To Guarantee Project Compliance with Environmental Laws

In an interesting decision last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges to BLM’s decision to issue a right-of-way permit for Tule Wind’s plan for a wind farm southeast of San Diego. It’s not exactly...more

Court Has Inherent Authority to Supervise CSSP, Including Sanctioning Attorneys for Ethical Violations and Misconduct

On June 2, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit addressed another matter of alleged attorney misconduct in a Deepwater Horizon claims case and the District Court’s authority to impose sanctions for...more

Twice Is Not As Nice: Plaintiff’s Counsel Ordered to Pay Defendant For Unreasonable and Vexatious Filing

On June 1, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued an interesting ruling in Beatrice Boyer, et al., v. BNSF Railway Company dba Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company. It ordered plaintiffs’...more

Vermont’s Generalized Injury Claims from MTBE Contamination Time-Barred

On May 27, 2016, Vermont’s Supreme Court, in State of Vermont v. Atlantic Richfield Company, et al., ruled that the State of Vermont’s “generalized injury” claims “to state waters as a whole due to groundwater contamination...more

Supreme Court Update: U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers V. Hawkes (15-290), Johnson V. Lee (15-789), Lynch V. Arizona (15-8366) And...

As we settle into June, the Eight seem to be clearing out the less difficult decisions in preparation for what could be a messy end to the term, given some controversial issues (abortion, affirmative action, immigration) and...more

Supreme Court Rules Landowners Can Challenge Jurisdictional Determinations

On May 31, 2016, in a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court held in USACE v. Hawkes Co. that approved jurisdictional determinations (“JD”) are final actions which can be reviewed by the courts. Under the Clean Water Act a...more

D.C. Circuit Holds Injury Exists Where Statutory Enactment Denies Plaintiff’s Right to Information; Upholds Section 9 Exemption...

On June 3, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held in Friends of Animals v. Jewell (No. 1:14-cv-00357) that Plaintiff Friends of Animals (“Plaintiff”) had Article III standing to pursue a constitutional...more

If You Don’t Like Nukes, Petition Congress: The D.C. Circuit Affirms the NRC’s GEIR On Nuclear Waste Storage

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges by several states and the NRDC to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Generic Environmental Impact Statement analyzing the impacts of continued on-site storage...more

The Supreme Court Holds that Army Corps’ Jurisdictional Determinations are Final Actions Subject to Judicial Review

On May 31, 2016, in United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., the US Supreme Court unanimously held that a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) approved jurisdictional determination (JD) is a final agency action...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - June 2016

Environmental and Policy Focus - U.S. Supreme Court allows pre-permit challenges to approved jurisdictional determinations - Allen Matkins - May 31 - In a major new legal development for the Clean Water Act's...more

Supreme Court Authorizes Judicial Review of Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Determinations Over Federal Government’s Objection

In a rebuke to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”), the United States Supreme Court unanimously held on May 31, 2016, in Corps v. Hawkes that jurisdictional determinations (“JDs”) under the Clean Water Act are...more

Supreme Court Sides with Property Owners: Jurisdictional Determination is Reviewable

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Supreme Court decided that Army Corps’ jurisdictional determinations are judicially reviewable. This decision leaves open the question of whether other types of administrative decisions are immediately...more

Land Owners Need Not Wait for the EPA to Drop the Hammer

In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) finalized a rule that either “clarified” the scope of Clean Water Act that regulates “the discharge of any pollutant” into...more

Supreme Court Again Sinks Government on Wetlands

A few months ago, we (and most everyone else not working at the Justice Department) predicted that the Supreme Court would rule that property owners seeking to develop potential federal wetlands on their property may...more

Unanimous Supreme Court Sides With Property Owners In Clean Water Act Row

Introduction - On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important decision that continues a trend of judicial skepticism toward federal agency efforts to avoid judicial review of agency permitting and related...more

US Supreme Court Holds US Army Corps Clean Water Act Determinations Reviewable

Decision allows landowners to challenge in court a US Army Corps of Engineers’ determination that a property is subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act....more

Supreme Court: Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Determinations Challengeable in Federal Court

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled on May 31, 2016, in United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc., No. 15-290, slip op., 578 U.S. ___ (2016) that approved jurisdictional determinations (JDs) issued by...more

Supreme Court Allows Challenges to Section 404 Jurisdictional Determinations

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc., No. 15-290 (May 31, 2016) - Why It Matters: The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously concluded that property owners who are required to obtain Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404...more

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