Sierra Club

News & Analysis as of

D.C. District Court Denies Utility’s Intervention Because of Timing

On March 17, 2015, the D.C. District Court denied the Public Service Company of New Hampshire’s (PSNH’s) motion to intervene in a Sierra Club-initiated proceeding urging the U.S. EPA to object to a Title V permit for one of...more

General Permit Shields Mining Company from Liability for Selenium Discharge

In Sierra Club v ICG Hazard , LLC, 2015 WL 643382, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that a Kentucky coal mining company could not be sued by an environmental group for discharging selenium into...more

EPA and Sierra Club Reach Partial Settlement in Ozone SIP Litigation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Sierra Club have entered into a proposed consent decree that would partially resolve a lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club against the agency. Notice of the proposed...more

EPA Proposes Eliminating State Regulations as to Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction Emissions

Operating conditions during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM) are not normal and often result in unrepresentative emissions that exceed permitted limitations. Originally published in The Natural Gas &...more

Louisiana Denies Drilling-Related Permit in Scenic Waterway

Louisiana has denied a permit to an energy company seeking to use water from a state-designated scenic river for its drilling operations. The decision represents the first time in Louisiana’s history that a permit to draw...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

DOT Denies Request to Prohibit Shipment of Bakken Crude Oil on Older Tank Cars; Environmental Groups Push Battle to Courtroom

On December 2, 2014 following the Department of Transportation’s (“DOT”) November 7, 2014 denial of their request for an immediate ban on use of older DOT-111 or CTC-111 railcars for the shipment of crude oil from the Bakken...more

CEQA Lawsuit to Enforce Climate Change Mitigation Measure Prevails

On October 29, 2014 the California Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court’s judgment enforcing a mitigation measure adopted by a county in its program environmental impact report (PEIR). As of the date of this blog post,...more

Coastal Commission’s Public Access Easement Found to Be A Taking

In a published decision, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District rejected the California Coastal Commission’s (“Commission”) finding that there is no rational nexus or rough proportionality between...more

Coastal Commission Erred In Finding Property Owner Is Stuck With Unconstitutional Dedication Condition

In an opinion on rehearing, the Second District Court of Appeal overturned a California Coastal Commission decision that a condition of a county-issued coastal development permit could not be eliminated by a second coastal...more

Supreme Court Adds Another CEQA Case To Its Docket, Will Review Fifth District’s Sierra Club v. County of Fresno (“Friant Ranch”)...

On October 1, 2014, the California Supreme Court granted the Real Party in Interest developer’s petition for review in Sierra Club v. County of Fresno (5th Dist. 2014) 226 Cal.App.4th 704, now unciteable and pending review...more

Federal Court Orders DOT to Respond to Sierra Club’s Unsafe Tank Car Lawsuit

A Federal Court has ordered the Department of Transportation (DOT) to respond to a lawsuit filed by three environmental organizations—Earthjustice, Sierra Club and ForestEthics—in which the parties asked the court to order...more

Environmental Groups Seek to Derail Bakersfield Crude-by-Rail Project

A coalition of environmental groups has filed a lawsuit challenging Kern County’s approval of the first substantial oil-by-rail expansion project at a California refinery, alleging that the comprehensive Environmental Impact...more

Significant Victory for Defendants in Sierra Club Pollution Suit

In Sierra Club v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. W-12-CV-108 (W.D. Tex. August 29, 2014), a Texas federal judge recently awarded $6.4 million in attorneys’ fees and costs to the defendants in a pollution suit brought by...more

Environmental Groups Ramp-up the Crude-by-Rail Fight in the Courtroom

Bakken crude producers and midstream transportation companies already experience transportation woes related to inadequate pipeline infrastructure, railroad capacity, tank car supply, rail accidents, and new regulations. But...more

EPA Proposes to Eliminate Affirmative Defenses for Many Clean Air Act Violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule on September 5, 2014 that would prevent states from including affirmative defenses in their Clean Air Act state implementation plans (SIPs) for emissions...more

Yes, Virginia, It Is Possible To Win A Fee Award Against An Environmental NGO

Last week, Judge Walter Smith, Jr., ordered the Sierra Club to pay more than six million dollars – yes, you read that correctly – to Energy Future Holdings and Luminant Generation, after finding that the Sierra Club’s Clean...more

EPA Reinforces Standards to Use "Representative Data" After Sierra Club

On January 22, 2013, in Sierra Club v. EPA, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an opinion that addressed some Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permitting program issues. Following this...more

Who Gets to Review EPA Actions? The Court of Appeals? The District Court? (Hint: The Answer Is Not “Neither One”)

The general rule under the Clean Air Act is that any: person may bring suit in district court against the EPA Administrator for an alleged failure to perform a nondiscretionary act or duty, and the district court has...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

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

Sierra Club Seeks to Vacate Affirmative Defenses under Clean Air Act for Unavoidable Malfunctions

This month, the Sierra Club filed a petition for review challenging certain provisions of nine EPA rules that provide for affirmative defenses against alleged Clean Air Act violations in the case of unavoidable malfunctions....more

Sierra Club v. County of Fresno

Why it matters: The court refined its previous test for air quality impacts analysis under CEQA, and required recirculation of an EIR due to its failure to specifically analyze the impacts on human health resulting from the...more

More Pipeline Development Projects: What America Needs

National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) challenges to pipeline projects and other natural gas infrastructure have become a commonplace tool in recent years for environmental groups seeking to defeat or delay midstream...more

What's a ROG and Can It Hurt Me? EIR Overturned For Failure to Explain Air Quality Impacts to Human Health

In Sierra Club v. County of Fresno (Cal. Ct. App. 5th Dist. May 27, 2014), the Fifth Appellate District found fault with the County of Fresno’s (County) review of the Friant Ranch Project (Project) under the California...more

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