Sierra Club

News & Analysis as of

Air Program Malfunction Exemption Nixed, But Not Agency Discretion

Virginia’s State Air Pollution Control Board (“Board”) recently amended its regulations to remove the long-standing malfunction exemption available to regulated sources of air pollution for violations of emission limits and...more

Environmental Notes - May 2016

The news has been full of stories and articles concerning Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR), also referred to as coal ash. CCR became a hot topic in 2008 when a coal ash pond at a utility plant in Tennessee spilled more than 5...more

Renewable Energy Update - April 2016 #4

Renewable Energy Focus - Renewable portfolio standards drive 60% of U.S. clean energy boom - Greentech Media - Apr 15 - The renewable portfolio standards that many states have enacted are responsible for 60...more

Is Increased Seismic Activity from the Disposal of Fracking Fluid Actionable Under RCRA?

Seyfarth Partner Andrew H. Perellis is quoted in this Forbes Legal News article today, Sierra Club’s Legal Theory In Frackquake Case Draws ‘Star Trek’ Comparison (March 31, 2016). The article concerns a complaint filed...more

New ESA Regulations Expand Impact of "Critical Habitat" Designations

Two new rules and one new policy from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) relating to the process of designating and protecting "critical habitat" under the Endangered...more

The Statute of Limitations Narrows a Bit More on PSD Violations: Sierra Club Suffers a Self-Inflicted Wound

The law is full of fine distinctions. Today’s example? A divided 10th Circuit panel affirmed dismissal of the Sierra Club’s citizen suit claims against Oklahoma Gas and Electric concerning alleged PSD violations at OG&E’s...more

Sierra Club Sues Over Oklahoma Earthquakes

The Sierra Club has filed suit against three oil and gas companies operating in Oklahoma, alleging that the companies’ wastewater injection practices were behind the recent uptick in earthquake activity in the state. The...more

Case Law Updates

Clean Water Act - In last month’s edition of Environmental Notes, we discussed the potential impact of two recent federal district court decisions finding that a citizen suit under the Clean Water Act (CWA) could be...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - January 2016 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - States ask Supreme Court to block Obama carbon emissions plan - Reuters - Jan 26 - A group of states led by West Virginia and Texas asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay...more

Two Frackquake Lawsuits Filed in Oklahoma

Two lawsuits were filed within days of each other in Oklahoma, claiming that energy companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing and underground disposal of produced water are causing earthquakes throughout the state. These...more

Environmental Notes - January 2016

Dominion Virginia Power (Dominion) operates a coalfired power plant in Chesapeake, Virginia. It maintains permits for its operations, including a Virginia solid waste management permit and a Virginia Pollutant Discharge...more

Virginia Federal Court Holds Groundwater Contamination Triggers Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

Dominion Virginia Power (Dominion) operates a coal-fired power plant in Chesapeake, Virginia. It maintains permits for its operations, including a Virginia solid waste management permit and a Virginia Pollutant Discharge...more

Supreme Engagement: CEQA’s Continuing Saga In California’s High Court

A new year often brings fresh perspective. With 2016 still in its infancy, it is natural to reflect back on what has been and also to contemplate what is yet to come. The California Supreme Court’s recent CEQA decisions, and...more

T&H Case Study: Creating a Timeline of Fossil Fuel Disasters in America

As mentioned in a previous case study, much of the work we do in support of environmental law and toxic tort cases involves compiling comprehensive site histories. We work with our clients to come up with cost-efficient...more

Court Denies Move For Final Judgment On Order Delaying BLM Hydraulic Fracturing Rule; Environmental Groups Proceed Anyway

Following a Wyoming federal court’s order temporarily halting the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on public lands, Sierra Club and several other environmental groups requested the...more

Environmental Challenge Blasts Kern County Oil and Gas Rules

On Thursday, December 10, environmental organizations filed a complaint against Kern County in California Superior Court alleging that the County violated the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) by preparing a...more

Sierra Club Issues Notice of Intent to Sue over Frackquakes in Oklahoma

On Monday, November 2, the Sierra Club issued a Notice of Intent to Sue (“Notice”) four oil companies, alleging ongoing violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”). Specifically, the Notice states that...more

EPA Issues New Residual Risk and Technology Rule for Petroleum Refineries

On September 29, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA” or the “Agency”) promulgated its final Petroleum Refinery Sector Risk and Technology Review (“RTR”) and New Source Performance Standards (“NSPS”) rule...more

With Latest Filings, Decision On Preliminary Injunction Motions In Litigation Against BLM Fracking Rule Expected Soon

In June, a Wyoming federal district court temporarily delayed implementation of the Bureau of Land Management’s (“BLM”) new final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal public lands, while it granted the BLM an...more

Proposed CEQA Guidelines Amendments: A Critique Of OPR’s “Preliminary Discussion Draft” (Part I – Proposed “Efficiency...

On August 11, 2015, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) released a 145-page “Preliminary Discussion Draft” of “Proposed Updates to the CEQA Guidelines” (the “Discussion Draft”). The Discussion Draft “contains...more

The Importance of Independence: The Ninth Circuit Provides Helpful Clarification on Connected Actions in the Energy Project...

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a right-of-way for an access road over Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land to connect a wind project to a state highway did not trigger formal consultation under the...more

Foes of the NJDEP $225 Million Settlement with Exxon Mobil Must File “Friend of the Court” Briefs Today

After denying their motions to intervene last week (see our coverage here), Judge Hogan issued a Scheduling Order that sets today as the deadline for the eight environmental organizations and State Senator Lesniak (D-Union)...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - July 2015

Environmental and Policy Focus - BP pays record $18.7 billion to settle claims in Gulf oil spill Bloomberg - Jul 2: BP Plc reached a record $18.7 billion agreement to settle all federal and state claims from the 2010...more

More Injunction Arguments In BLM Fracking Rule Litigation Prior To Major Court Hearing Tomorrow

Several more key filings have come into the federal litigation challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on public lands in advance of the June 23 consolidated preliminary...more

Preliminary Injunction Arguments Pour Into Litigation Against BLM’s Final Fracking Rule

Since our last update on federal litigation in Wyoming challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule to regulate hydraulic fracturing on public lands, the flurry of activity continues in advance of the June 23...more

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