Environmental Constitutional Law

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Supreme Court of Ohio Rejects Local Governments’ Attempts to Regulate Oil and Gas Activities

In the Appalachian basin, several states have recently faced the issue of whether local governments have the ability to regulate oil and gas operations, potentially causing a maze of varying rules and requirements from one...more

Case Could Alter the Reach of the Endangered Species Act

The U.S. District Court for the District of Utah attracted national attention with its November decision in People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, in which it ruled...more

California Supreme Court To Resolve Appellate Court Split on Federal Preemption in Railroad Regulation

On December 10, 2014, the California Supreme Court granted petition for review in Friends of the Eel River v. North Coast Railroad Authority to resolve a split between the First and Third District Courts of Appeal. (230...more

Appellate Division Review - Business Judgment Rule, Privilege, Child Support, Animal Rights

The more things change, the more they remain the same. As we enter a new year, New York’s Appellate Division faces the same and greater challenges: increasing caseloads, staff shortages, judicial vacancies, and legal disputes...more

Tenth Circuit Hears Arguments in Colorado Renewable Energy Standard Case

On Wednesday, January 21, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard. The case was originally filed in 2011 and this latest appeal...more

It’s All Connected: EPA Finally Determines that the Science Supports an Expansive Definition of Waters of the United States

On Thursday, EPA issued its final report on Connectivity of Streams & Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review & Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence. The Connectivity report is intended to support EPA’s rule clarifying the...more

3 (of Many) Shortcomings of the EPA and Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define "Waters of the U.S."

On April 21, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) jointly released a new Proposed Rule – Definition of Waters of the U.S. Under the Clean Water Act – that would...more

Senate Poised to Debate Keystone XL Pipeline, Other Key Energy Issues

In the wake of the U.S. House of Representatives' passage of legislation to approve the long-stalled Keystone XL pipeline, the Senate now stands poised to take up the measure beginning this week, opening the door to other key...more

Prairie Dogs vs. Congress

A recent ruling by a Utah federal judge, although directed at the Endangered Species Act (ESA), may have far-reaching implications on Congress' commerce clause powers. In a first-of-its-kind ruling, U.S. District Judge Dee...more

Commonwealth Court Rejects Constitutional Challenge to Natural Gas Production on State-Owned Lands and Use of Lease Funds in...

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation (PEDF) to declare unconstitutional and enjoin natural gas extraction from State park and forest land....more

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Retroactive Application of Landfill Cleanup Statute

In 2004, the Illinois legislature amended the Illinois Environmental Protection Act to authorize mandatory injunctions to require cleanups of landfills. But could the courts use the statute to order cleanups of older...more

Unanimous Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court rules that the Supreme Court’s interpretation of Environmental Rights Amendment in...

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled on January 7, 2015 that the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Environmental Rights Amendment in Robinson Township, which was backed by only three justices, is nonbinding. The...more

Fracking Bans Don't Trigger Civil Authority Coverage

On Nov. 4, 2014, voters in Denton, Texas, which is home to more than 270 natural gas wells, approved a ballot initiative banning all hydraulic fracturing within the city’s limits. The Denton ban, which took effect on Dec. 2,...more

Industry Challenging County and Municipal Bans on Multiple Fronts

Municipalities and counties have joined forces with environmental groups to halt hydraulic fracking and related well stimulation techniques. Environmental groups have filed suits under the National Environmental Policy Act...more

Utah Prairie Dog Could Narrow Endangered Species Act

A Utah federal court has created the potential for a constitutional showdown that could result in a significant narrowing of the Endangered Species Act and further limiting Congress’ power to legislate. In an unprecedented...more

Aviation & Aerospace and Surface Transportation Quarterly Newsletter

In This Issue: - Update on Developments in California Drone Law - One Community Gets Relief from Aircraft Noise - California Once Again Relinquishes Clean Air Act Enforcement Responsibility to the...more

DTSC’s Lien Procedure Found to Violate Due Process

In Van Horn v. Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”), a California Court of Appeal found that DTSC’s procedure for imposing liens on property under the California “Superfund” law violates due process of law....more

Methodology for Measuring National Content in Mexican Hydrocarbon Sector - The Three Legal Schemes Impacted in the National Oil...

The "Methodology for measuring national content in Allocations and Contracts for Exploration and Extraction of Hydrocarbons, as well as for the Permits in the Hydrocarbons Industry"was published on Nov. 13, 2014,in Diario...more

Sale of Property for Secular Use Does Not Constitute “Religious Exercise”

The Northern District of California recently dismissed RLUIPA claims filed by the California-Nevada Annual Conference of the Methodist Church (the “Conference”) against the City of San Francisco. The case revolves around the...more

Condemnation and Contamination: The Spectre of Double Liability

Agencies acquiring private property for a public project conduct thorough investigations to determine whether the property has environmental contamination. If contamination is found, the question arises whether evidence of...more

The Unintended Effects of Protecting the Environment – How Banning Fracking Can Lead San Benito County To Bankruptcy

On November 4, 2014, San Benito County voters went to the poles to vote on Measure J, the measure designed to prohibit hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, and related gas and oil extraction activities, as well as other...more

Ninth Circuit Lifts the Veil: Explains How to Comply With Endangered Species Act 60-Day Notice Requirement

The federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) imposes certain procedural hurdles on any would-be plaintiff commencing a citizen suit to compel compliance with the ESA. One of the more substantive requirements is the 60-day notice...more

What CEQA Gives, The Legislature Can Take Away: Third District Holds Special Legislation For Sacramento Kings Downtown Arena...

The Third District Court of Appeal, in a published opinion filed November 20, 2014, affirmed the trial court’s order denying plaintiffs’ application for a preliminary injunction seeking to halt construction of a massive new...more

Ninth Circuit Rejects Use of Preemptive Litigation to Validate Federal Approvals

Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc., v. Center for Biological Diversity, (11/12/14, No. 13-35835) The Ninth Circuit has rejected a “novel litigation strategy” that Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc., employed in an effort to preempt a...more

Opponents of Arena Project Foul Out

On November 20, 2014, the Third District Court of Appeal (Court) handed a partial victory to the City of Sacramento (City), rejecting petitioners' appeal and thereby authorizing the continued construction of the Sacramento...more

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