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Capital Thinking: Environment and Natural Resources

Regulatory Activity - EPA TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARINGS ON CLEAN POWER PLAN - This week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold public hearings in Washington D.C., Atlanta, Denver and Pittsburgh to receive...more

BLM Agrees to Complete Hydraulic Fracturing EIS for Leases in California

A recent agreement between environmentalists and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) may open the floodgates to challenges of the sufficiency of Environmental Assessments (EA) or Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for oil...more

D.C. Circuit Validates EPA’s Consultation Process for Reviewing Clean Water Act Permits

On July 11, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Enhanced Coordination Process,” which was developed with the United...more

Regulation – a help or a hindrance to the UK shale industry?

DESPITE significant public opposition in the UK to hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and shale gas development, there has been a upswing of activity and announcements in the first half of 2014. In May, the British...more

How Untimely Service Can Be Deadly To Your Takings Claim

If you ask ten attorneys what keeps them up at night, at least six of them will recount nightmares about missing a filing deadline. I know what you're thinking. How hard can it be? You just look in the Code, find the...more

Shots Fired: PA Auditor General Releases Oil and Gas Audit

On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Auditor General’s Office released a report criticizing the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for failing to adequately track and respond to public complaints concerning water quality...more

Is Selenium the Coal Industry’s Kryptonite? Citizen Groups Obtain Summary Judgment Based on Water Quality Criteria Exceedances

Last week, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and other NGOs obtained summary judgment that Alex Energy had violated both its NPDES permit and its Surface Mining Permits due to exceedances of the West Virginia water...more

EPA Not Required to Consult on Air Quality Regulation Regarding Four Corners Power Plant

On July 23, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was not required to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding potential...more

Sixth Circuit Weighs in on CERCLA Cost Recovery, Contribution Actions

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Court recently issued an important opinion related to claims to recover environmental cleanup costs at an Ohio landfill. The court’s ruling in Hobart Corporation, et al. v....more

Proposed Critical Habitat Rules Change Reach of the Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service have proposed two important new rules implementing the critical habitat provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 79 Fed.Reg. 27060 (May 12,...more

EPA Re-gains “Green Light” to Regulate Permitting Procedures - D.C. Circuit overturns lower court decisions on EPA permitting...

Two district court orders declaring the federal Environmental Protection Agency acted illegally when it implemented certain permitting procedures for coal mining operations have been vacated by a federal court of appeals....more

The Clean Power Plan: State Implementation Plans Building Block 2 – The Re-dispatch Option

On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced proposed regulations (the “Clean Power Plan” Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”)) to limit greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions from existing...more

Fourth Circuit Affirms Liability for Selenium Discharges - Rejects Permit Shield Defense

By a published decision released on July 11, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a district court decision out of the Western District of Virginia finding that A & G Coal Corporation (“A & G”)...more

NMFS Releases Final Recovery Plan for Central Valley Salmonids

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has released its final recovery plan for Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, and Central Valley steelhead. Sacramento River...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Credit Program for At-Risk Species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recently announced a proposed policy establishing credits for voluntary prelisting conservation actions for imperiled species. The policy is intended to establish an additional...more

Texas City Council Rejects Fracking Ban

On July 16, 2014, the City Council of Denton, Texas rejected an ordinance that would prohibit hydraulic fracturing. The initiative will now be considered by the Denton residents in the November election. Earlier this year,...more

Efforts to Avoid Ballot Measures on Fracking Fail in Colorado

Faced with the potential for two anti-fracking measures on the Colorado ballot this November, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper and state lawmakers have been working for weeks to develop a legislative compromise to avoid...more

Citizens for a Green San Mateo v. San Mateo County Community College District

Why it matters: The 30 day statute of limitations for CEQA challenges was upheld to bar litigation alleging that a project, as constructed, was different from how that project was described in the CEQA document....more

Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Proposed Rule Defining “Waters of the United States” Under the...

On April 21, 2014, the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (collectively the “Agencies”) released a proposed rule to define the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act...more

Only When a Permit is Required: The Supreme Court Caps the EPA’s Authority to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Stationary...

Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA et al. 573 U.S. ____ (2014) - On June 23, 2014, the United States Supreme Court held that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overstepped its authority under the Clean Air Act...more

Water, Water everywhere …

There were two court decisions this week regarding regulation of Maine rivers, one from the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, Watts v. BEP, and one federal, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay v. Hydro Kennebec, LLC. ...more

New York Court of Appeals Upholds Local Fracking Bans

The New York Court of Appeals, in a 5-2 decision, held that the New York State Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law (“OGSML”) does not preempt municipal zoning authority. The Court explained that land use regulation is among the...more

CEQA Exemption Update: Westland Water District Two-Year Contract Renewals Ruled Exempt from CEQA Requirements

In North Coast Rivers Alliance v. Westlands Water District, No. FO67383 (Cal. Ct. App. 5th Dist. July 3, 2014), the Fifth Appellate District upheld the Westland Water District and its related distribution districts’ (Water...more

ESA Section 9 Case Dismissed Because of Allegations re Take

Earlier this month, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a lawsuit brought under section 9 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) because, instead of attacking a specific project or...more

Capital Thinking: Environment and Natural Resources

REGULATORY ACTIVITY - GREENHOUSE GAS - Pursuant to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will soon propose to prohibit certain chemicals contributing to emissions of...more

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