Environmental Constitutional Law

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Court of Appeal Turns a Careful Eye Toward Challenges to California’s Cap-and-Trade Auction System

A California Court of Appeal signaled it is moving closer to making what could be a far-reaching decision in the consolidated cases of California Chamber of Commerce v. California Air Resources Board (Case No. C075930) and...more

10th Circ.: Permit Issuance Is Not State Action For Purposes of 14th Amendment

On April 19, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in Wasatch Equality, et al., v. Alta Ski Lifts Company, et al., affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit claiming that the U.S. Forest Service, in...more

State AGs Announce Climate Change Investigations - ExxonMobil Challenges Subpoena on Constitutional Grounds

Several state attorneys general (“state AGs”) have recently announced investigations into energy companies’ securities disclosures about the risks climate change poses to their businesses. In November 2015, Peabody Energy...more

Children’s Crusade to Combat Climate Change Continues

A federal magistrate judge in Oregon has kept alive the dreams of a group of young plaintiffs—aided by environmental advocacy groups—to compel government action against climate change. Like a similar case brought by the same...more

A Substantive Due Process Right to Climate Change Regulation? What’s a Lonely Apostle of Judicial Restraint To Do?

Late last week, Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin concluded that the most recent public trust case, which seeks an injunction requiring the United States to take actions to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations to 350 parts per...more

Gas Company May Challenge Local Ordinance Prohibiting Deposit of Flowback Water into Underground Injection Wells

A Federal Magistrate Judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that an oil and gas exploration company may challenge a township ordinance that makes it unlawful to deposit flowback water into underground injection wells within the...more

Real Estate and Land Use - March 2016

A Rare Win for Former Redevelopment Agencies—State Collection Procedures Ruled Unconstitutional - City of Bellflower v. Michael Cohen, Director of the Department of Finance (245 Cal. App. 4th 438) - Why It Matters:...more

Federal Court Refuses To Reinstate Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing: What Now, And What’s Next?

Last fall a federal court in the Western District of Texas upheld a challenge to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (Service) decision to list the lesser prairie chicken (LEPC) as a threatened species under the federal...more

To “SIB” or Not to “SIB” – That Is the Question on How to Timely Fund Necessary Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Improvements

Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Survey showed that $271 billion is needed for the Nation’s Wastewater Infrastructure, including for investor-owned utilities regulated by state public utility commissions....more

Newhall Case Applies Proposition 26 to Wholesale Water Rates

Newhall County Water District v. Castaic Lake Water Agency (2016) 243 Cal.App.4th 1430 (“Newhall”) - Case Disposition - Plaintiff Newhall County Water District (“Newhall”), a retail water purveyor, challenged a...more

Maryland Court of Appeals Opens Door to New Class of Inverse Condemnation Claims

A property owner states a valid claim for inverse condemnation where the owner alleges that its property was taken by the government's failure to act in the face of an affirmative duty to act, the Maryland Court of Appeals...more

Justice Scalia’s Enduring CEQA and Land Use Law Legacy

With the February 13 passing of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, American jurisprudence lost an intellectual giant. But Justice Scalia will not be forgotten; the legacy of his life’s work lives on. While...more

Federal Court Strikes Town Ordinance Requiring Warning Labels

In a case that may have implications for chemical warning laws, a federal court in New York found a town’s efforts to require warning labels on pesticide-treated utility poles compelled non-commercial speech and infringed on...more

Renewable Energy Case Law Update

This case law update describes a selection of renewable energy cases from 2015. It is not intended to address all renewable energy cases over the previous year, but rather, highlight a few that are more likely to be of...more

Eminent Domain: Be Careful What You Ask For

The condemnation of property for public works may not always be as clean and easy as the government would like. Although local governments are often critical players in the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated...more

Are Groundwater Pumping Fees or Charges Subject to Proposition 218? California Supreme Court to Resolve Conflicting Precedent

In 2015 California’s Sixth and Second District Courts of Appeal issued conflicting opinions regarding whether groundwater extraction fees or charges are subject to Article 13D of the California Constitution (Proposition 218)....more

Supreme Court to Decide if Army Corps Initial Jurisdictional Determination to Regulate Wetlands Under CWA is Ripe for Judicial...

By Andrew H. Perellis, Patrick D. Joyce, and Craig B. Simonsen The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) agreed on Friday to review an important Clean Water Act (CWA) decision issued by the Eighth Circuit in Hawkes Co.,...more

Pennsylvania State Trial Court Dismisses Appeal Challenging Constitutionality of Local Ordinance Regulating Natural Gas Drilling

In Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et al. v. Middlesex Township Zoning Hearing Board, A.D. No. 15-10429 (Nov. 19, 2015), Butler County Judge S. Michael Yeager upheld a gas drilling ordinance that was challenged by residents and...more

Pennsylvania Federal Court Strikes Down Ordinance Banning Disposal of Wastewater as Unconstitutional

In Pennsylvania General Energy Co. L.L.C. v. Grant Township, Magistrate Judge Susan P. Baxter of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, in an unpublished opinion, held that several...more

Sixth Circuit Issues Nationwide Stay of EPA Waters of the United States Regulation

The Stay Follows A Preliminary Injunction Issued Against the Clean Water Rule in August - In an unexpected move and while still deciding if it has jurisdiction to hear the matter, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals today...more

Updates on Environmental, Administrative and Regulatory Law: EARL e-News: Sixth Circuit Stays New 'Waters of the United States'...

On October 9th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a nationwide stay precluding implementation of controversial new rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of...more

Pre-enforcement Review? Not Enough. How About Pre-issuance Review?

In Sackett, the Supreme Court ruled that EPA could not issue enforcement orders under the Clean Water Act without allowing the subjects of the order the right to bring a pre-enforcement challenge to such orders under the...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - October 2015

Environmental and Policy Focus - Royal Dutch Shell suspends Arctic drilling indefinitely: Washington Post - Sep 28: Royal Dutch Shell announced early on September 28, 2015 that it will indefinitely suspend its Arctic...more

U.S. District Court Rejects Challenges to Final Rule Terminating Sea Otter Translocation Program.

On September 18, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California rejected the assertion by the California Sea Urchin Commission, California Abalone Association, and Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara...more

Lawsuit Challenges Ohio’s Disqualification of Local Anti-Frac Ballot Initiatives

Residents in three Ohio counties have sued the state after Secretary of State Jon Husted invalidated three ballot proposals to ban hydraulic fracturing projects in Fulton, Medina, and Athens counties. The bans, if passed,...more

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