Environmental Civil Procedure Administrative Agency

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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

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

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

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

Slow and Steady Wins the Race? Another Chapter in Ontario’s Ostrander Point Wind Farm Challenge

In an important development in the ongoing saga of judicial challenges to wind farm developments in the province, the Ontario Court of Appeal (“ONCA”) has restored the finding of the Environmental Review Tribunal (“ERT”) that...more

D.C. Circuit Vacates 100-Hour Exemption for Emergency Generators

On May 1, 2015, the D.C. Circuit in Delaware v. EPA vacated a portion of EPA’s National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) and New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Reciprocating Internal...more

EPA Is Not an Expert in Determining Electric System Reliability

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals just reversed and remanded EPA’s rule allowing backup generators to operate for up to 100 hours per year as necessary for demand response. It’s an important decision that could have lessons...more

When Does a Judge Refuse an Unopposed Motion to Enter a Consent Decree?

Last week, Judge John Copenhaver refused to allow a motion by the United States to enter a consent decree that would have resolved government claims against DuPont concerning alleged violations of the Clean Air Act, CERCLA,...more

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

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