Environmental Civil Procedure

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Court Orders EPA to Promulgate Air Toxics Standards: A Taste of What’s to Come?

On March 22, 2017, federal Judge Christopher Cooper ordered EPA to promulgate emissions standards for 13 sources of hazardous air pollutants by June 30, 2020. EPA admitted that it missed statutory deadlines to do so; the...more

Court Dismisses Complaint That FERC’s Regulatory Structure Is Biased In Favor Of Pipeline Applicants

On March 22, in the case of Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et al., v. FERC, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint that the statutory requirement that the Federal Regulatory...more

Kern County Judge Grants Injunction, Blocking Blanket Enforcement of Oil Field Aquifer Exemption Regulations

A reported in a prior blog post, the Western States Petroleum Association (“WSPA”) sued the California Department of Conservation and the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (jointly, the “Department”) in Kern...more

The Conservative Case for Chevron Deference, Chapter 3 (Plus an Auer Bonus!)

The conservative cases in support of Chevron deference keep arriving. This week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed EPA’s federal implementation plan for compliance with its regional haze regulations by the Navajo...more

Texas Federal Court Grants Preliminary Injunction Based On Sea Turtle Concerns

On March 13, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas granted a preliminary injunction relying primarily on Endangered Species Act (ESA) claims, halting operation of a mooring project on the Lydia Ann...more

CERCLA’s Statute Of Limitations Doesn’t Preempt State Law Claims Based Largely On Negligence, Nuisance And Trespass

On March 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a ruling affirming the District Court’s rejection of Virginia common law property damage claims based largely on negligence, nuisance, trespass, and argument...more

Ninth Circuit Holds that Federal Reserved Water Rights Extend to Groundwater

On March 7, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians v. Coachella Valley Water District, Case No. 15-55896. In this decision, the Court unequivocally held that...more

D.C. Circuit Reinstates Gray Wolf Delisting in Wyoming

On March 3, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld a final rule delisting the gray wolf in Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Defenders of Wildlife v. Zinke, No. 14-5300 (D.C....more

Longtime Supreme Court CEQA Maven, Justice Kathryn Werdegar, Announces Retirement

The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that California Supreme Court Justice Kathryn Werdegar, 81, and currently the Court’s longest-serving member, will retire this summer, on August 31, 2017. Justice Werdegar has served...more

The Erosion of Cost Caps – at the Expense of Bona Fide Environmental Challenges?

Key changes to the Protective Cost Order regime (PCO) came into force on 28 February 2017, which could directly limit the ability of individuals and organisations to bring environmental-related legal challenges in England and...more

The Conservative Case for Chevron Deference: Chapter 2

In January, I argued that conservative opposition to the Chevron doctrine seemed inconsistent with conservative ideology and I noted, at a practical level, that opposition to Chevron does not always yield the results...more

Lesson to the Wise: Know Your Expert

In a recent Court of Claims decision, attorneys for the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) learned a hard lesson regarding the importance of vetting experts prior to proffering them. In Alta Wind I Owner-Lessor C, and...more

D.C. Circuit Rules in Favor of North Dakota in NEPA Injunction Case

The State of North Dakota, assisted by Special Assistant Attorneys General Nessa Horewitch Coppinger and Ryan Carra, secured a unanimous ruling from the D.C. Circuit Court allowing the design of a water treatment plant to...more

Federal and State Cooperative Efforts Provide Basis For DC Circuit Upholding Delisting of Gray Wolf

In the case of Defenders of Wildlife. et al., v. Zinke., et al., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit reversed the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and reinstated the U.S. Department of the Interior’s...more

Twin Challenges to LCFS Advance in California Courts, With Potential Implications for State’s Overall Climate Stabilization...

Two related cases, advancing in parallel, have the potential to upend California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), whether via full suspension of the LCFS or carving out diesel fuels from the deficit and crediting...more

Texas Supreme Court Reverses Two Court of Appeals Decisions Involving Environmental Issues

On February 24, the Texas Supreme Court released several decisions, including two rulings involving aspects of environmental law. The cases are ExxonMobil Corporation v. Lazy R Ranch, et al., and ExxonMobil Pipeline Company,...more

Georgia Supreme Court Limits Duty to Warn Third Parties

Affirming limits on the duty to warn third parties of toxic exposure risks, the Supreme Court of Georgia held that a manufacturer of asbestos-laden pipes had no duty to warn the daughter of a worker who serviced the pipes...more

Policyholders Win Again: The New Jersey Supreme Court Voids Insurance Policy Anti-Assignment Clauses in Occurrence-Based Insurance...

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently affirmed the Appellate Division’s decision in Givaudan Fragrances Corp. v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., finding that an anti-assignment clause in an occurrence-based insurance policy does not...more

Applying Product Liability Theory, Washington State Sues for PCB Damages

In an effort to use product liability theories to hold manufacturers culpable for environmental releases, the Attorney General of Washington State sued PCB manufacturer Monsanto in state court in December. See Complaint,...more

California Court Blocks Local Measure Banning Ground Application of Biosolids

In a victory for municipalities that recycle biosolids to farmland, Los Angeles’ sanitation district prevailed in its suit against a Kern County initiative banning land application of biosolids. See County Sanitation Dist....more

Ninth Circuit Rules Injury from Future Water Rights Restrictions Too Speculative for Article III Standing

On February 21, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority and Westlands Water District (collectively, “Water Contractors”) lacked Article III standing to...more

Environmental Litigation and Toxic Torts Update – Mountain/West Coast Case Law Highlights

Ninth Circuit Finds “Threatened” Designation For Bearded Seals Proper Based On New Long-Term Projections - Alaska Oil and Gas Ass’n et al. v. Pritzker et al., 840 F.3d 671, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19084 (9th Cir. 2016)....more

Fifth Circuit Issues Contentious Dissent Over Designation of Louisiana Land

On June 13, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) had properly included approximately 1,500 acres in Louisiana as designated critical...more

Fifth Circuit Limits Reverse False Claims Act Liability

On December 13, 2016, in United States ex rel Simoneaux v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., No. 16-30141, 2016 WL 7228813 (5th Cir. Dec. 13, 2016), the Fifth Circuit rejected an expansive construction of “reverse” false claims...more

Six 5th Circuit Judges Oppose USFS’s Critical Habitat Designation: Sounds Like Certiorari to Me

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals just denied en banc review in a case involving the Fish & Wildlife Service’s designation of critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog. There are only 100 of these “shy” frogs left, and none...more

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