Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use Civil Procedure

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Missouri Federal Court Cuts Claims in Pipeline Property Damage Action

Underscoring the need for plaintiffs to show concrete proof of harm in suits alleging property damage, a federal district court dismissed a suit alleging that an oil pipeline contaminated farmland in Missouri. See Henke v....more

U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania Dismisses Majority of Water Well Contamination Claims Against Oil Drilling Company

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III in the Middle District of Pennsylvania completely adopted the “extremely thorough, well-reasoned” recommendations of a U.S. Magistrate Judge and dismissed almost all...more

High Court Finds Plausible Showing of Amount in Controversy Sufficient to Remove Action

In a decision that may make it somewhat easier for defendants to remove putative class actions from state to federal court, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that defendants in such cases do not need to offer evidence in their...more

Eleventh Circuit Reinstates Groundwater Contamination Case Dismissed on Lone Pine Order

In a case that may provide some plaintiffs with protection from early Lone Pine orders, the Eleventh Circuit reversed a trial court’s dismissal of a groundwater contamination case for failure to sufficiently state claims...more

New Jersey Supreme Court Rules No Time Bar for Spill Act Contribution Claims

In a unanimous decision on January 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of New Jersey, in Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil Co., overturned two lower-court decisions and held that the six-year statute of limitations for damage to...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: EPA Stakes Out Approach to Address GHG Permitting for Authorized Sources Affected

On December 19, 2014 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two memoranda outlining the Agency’s planned response to the Supreme Court’s June 2014 decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) v. Environmental...more

A Federal Court Rules that Increased Conductivity Impairs a Stream — How Shocking!

On Tuesday, Chief Judge Robert Chambers ruled that Fola Coal Company violated the Clean Water Act by discharging mine waste with sufficiently high levels of conductivity to cause or materially contribute to impairment of...more

Undisclosed Change in Building Height Requires Supplemental EIR

Ventura Foothill Neighbors v. County of Ventura (12/15/14, 2d Civil No. B254120) - The Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District of California has ruled that (i) a 20% increase in the actual height of a...more

New Jersey Supreme Court: No Statute of Limitations for Private Claims for Contribution Under NJ Spill Act

Following principles of strict statutory construction and refusing to “unsettle a decades-long understanding in this State,” on January 26, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled that there is no statute of...more

Supreme People’s Court Issues Judicial Interpretation Addressing Environmental Civil Public Interest Litigation

On January 6, 2015, China’s Supreme People’s Court (SPC) issued a judicial interpretation on environmental civil public interest litigation, effective January 7, 2015....more

Toxic Tort and Environmental Litigation: District Court Finds Expert Proof Insufficient to Prove Causation (1/15)

Causation is often the biggest hurdle a plaintiff must clear in proving a toxic tort case. For that reason, it would be expedient if a plaintiff could get to trial on the issue of causation merely by showing that...more

General Permits Are Also Entitled to a Permit Shield

On Tuesday, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the “permit shield” provisions of the Clean Water Act protected ICG hazard from Sierra Club claims that effluent from ICG Hazard’s Thunder Ridge mine caused exceedances...more

January 2015, Court of Justice Decision on Aarhus Convention Applicability

On January 13, 2015, the Court of Justice (Grand Chamber) of the European Union (EU) overturned a judgment of the General Court of the European Union (General Court) in Stichting Natuur en Milieu and Pesticide Action Network...more

D.C. Circuit Rejects Psychological Harm Theory in Deer-Culling Case

This Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit issued an opinion in No. 13-5136, Grunewald v. Jarvis, affirming the lower court’s decision that the National Park Service’s promulgation of the White-Tailed Deer Management Plan was lawful. At...more

Supreme Court Denies Review of Ninth Circuit Delta Smelt Decision

On Monday, January 12, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court denied two petitions seeking review of a Ninth Circuit decision upholding limits on water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect the endangered Delta...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

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

Equal Access To Justice Act: Why Prevailing On Only 1 Out Of 3 Claims In Oregon Forestry Case Can Still Be Quite Rewarding

Generally, a failure rate of two-thirds would indicate that what you are doing isn't profitable. However, when dealing with environmental law, that clearly isn't the case. In Cascadia Wildlands v. Bureau of Land Management,...more

San Diego MPO's Analysis Of RTP's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rejected

In a decision with implications for all transportation projects in California, the California Court of Appeal held that the analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation projects in a metropolitan transportation...more

First District Publishes Decision Rejecting CEQA Challenges To Cal Fire’s Approval of Gualala Area Nonindustrial Timber Management...

In a decision filed December 2, and later ordered published on December 30, 2014, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the Mendocino County Superior Court’s judgment denying a petition for writ of mandate challenging a...more

Does the Public Trust Doctrine Apply to Groundwater? The California Supreme Court May Decide

The California Supreme Court is currently considering a petition that raises an important and novel issue of California water law: whether the public trust doctrine applies to groundwater. The public trust doctrine holds that...more

California Supreme Court Poised To Decide Key CEQA Questions: The Court’s Lineup For 2015

The California Supreme Court’s involvement in CEQA cases has been relatively limited since he statute’s enactment in 1970, with the court taking  review of at most one or two appellate court decisions a year.  The last two...more

The Federal Surface Transportation Board Finds California Environmental Quality Act Preempted as Applied to High-Speed Rail...

In a surprising decision, Surface Transportation Board Decision, Docket No. FD35861, December 12, 2014 (“Docket”), the Federal Surface Transportation Board (“Board”) ruled that the application of the California Environmental...more

City of Los Angeles Outsources Defense of CEQA/Land Use Lawsuits To Private Law Firms – Developers To Foot The Bill

On December 16, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously authorized the City Attorney to establish a Land Use/CEQA Panel, which will consist of five municipal law firms, to defend the City in CEQA and land use lawsuits that...more

Ninth Circuit Panel Holds NMFS Biological Opinion regarding California Water Projects Passes Legal Muster

As numerous news outlets reported, see L.A. Times and S.F. Chronicle, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision reversing a lower court and affirming a biological opinion and reasonable and...more

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