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Current Weekly Cases Update

Volume 44, Issue 21

Colorado Oil & Gas Ass'n v. City of Longmont, Colorado

44 ELR 20169
13CV63 (Colo. Dist. Ct., July 24, 2014)

A Colorado court struck down a city's ban on hydraulic fracturing. In 2012, voters passed an amendment to the city charter that bans fracking and the storage and disposal of fracking waste within city limits. The oil and gas industry challenged the ban, arguing that it was preempted. The court...

Hydraulic Fracturing, Land use

Commonwealth Edison Co. v. Illinois Commerce Comm'n

44 ELR 20168
1-12-0544 (Ill. App. Ct., July 22, 2014)

An Illinois appellate court upheld a state plan requiring state utilities to purchase power from a coal-fueled, near-zero emissions electric power plant. State utilities challenged the plan, arguing that the Illinois Power Agency has no power to propose, and the Illinois Commerce Commission has...

Energy, Illinois

United States v. Volvo Powertrain Corp.

44 ELR 20161
12-5234 (D.C. Cir., July 18, 2014)

The D.C. Circuit upheld a $72 million judgment against an automobile manufacturer for violating a consent decree requiring certain model year 2005 engines to comply with EPA’s model year 2006 nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions standard. In 1998, EPA alleged that several major engine manufacturers...

Certificate of conformity, §203(a)(1)

Robinson Township v. Commonwealth

44 ELR 20159
284 M.D. 2012 (Pa. Commw. Ct., July 17, 2014)

A Pennsylvania court severed in part and struck down in part certain provisions of Act 13, pertaining to oil and gas operations in the Marcellus Shale, that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court left undisturbed in its December 2013 decision invalidating portions of the law on constitutional grounds....

Hydraulic Fracturing, Land use

WildEarth Guardians v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

44 ELR 20160
12-71523 (9th Cir., July 17, 2014)

The Ninth Circuit upheld EPA's approval of Nevada's SIP for regional haze. In the SIP, Nevada provided reasonable progress goals for attaining natural visibility conditions at the Jarbridge Wilderness Area in remote northeastern Nevada, the state’s only Class I federal area. The SIP further...

Approval and revision, §110(a)

Environmental Law Foundation v. State Water Resources Control Board

44 ELR 20158
34-2010-80000583 (Cal. Super. Ct., July 15, 2014)

A California court held that the public trust doctrine protects navigable waterways from harm caused by groundwater extraction. Concerned about the management of the Scott River in northern California, environmental groups filed suit against Siskiyou County, claiming the county must consider the...

Ground water, Navigable waters, Water rights

Alt v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

44 ELR 20167
13-2200 (4th Cir., July 14, 2014)

The Fourth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision denying an environmental group's motion to intervene in a poultry farmer's lawsuit against EPA. In that case, the farmer seeks a declaratory judgment that farmyard stormwater runoff is statutorily exempt from regulation as an agricultural...

Defenses

Friends of Merrymeeting Bay v. Hydro Kennebec, LLC

44 ELR 20166
13-1220, -1750 (1st Cir., July 14, 2014)

The First Circuit vacated and remanded a lower court decision dismissing environmental groups' CWA claims against the operators of four hydroelectric dams along the Kennebec River. The groups alleged that the operators are in violation of their water-quality certifications, and thus the CWA,...

Water quality standards, §303

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation v. Environmental Protection Comm'n

44 ELR 20162
12-0827 (Iowa, July 11, 2014)

The Supreme Court of Iowa held that an Iowan who works for an environmental nonprofit group may sit on the state's Environmental Protection Commission and may vote to adopt rules which she actively supports both professionally and personally. The case arose after the commission adopted new water...

Water pollution

Joint Landowners Coalition of New York v. Cuomo

44 ELR 20165
843-2014 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., July 11, 2014)

A New York court dismissed mineral rights owners' lawsuit seeking to compel the state to finalize its supplemental EIS on hydraulic fracturing. The owners filed the lawsuit under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), claiming that the state's failure to finalize the standards for...

Environmental impact statement, Hydraulic Fracturing

Wallach v. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

44 ELR 20164
6773-2013 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., July 11, 2014)

A New York court dismissed a lawsuit seeking to compel the state to finalize its supplemental EIS on hydraulic fracturing. The trustee to a bankrupt energy company filed the lawsuit, claiming that the company's bankruptcy and inability to develop its mineral rights stem from the state's failure...

Environmental impact statement, Hydraulic Fracturing

Residents for Sane Trash Solutions, Inc. v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

44 ELR 20163
12 Civ. 8456, -8458 (S.D.N.Y., July 10, 2014)

A district court upheld a CWA §404 permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the construction of a large marine transfer station near the upper east side of New York City. A group of residents filed suit challenging the permit, claiming that the Corps' issuance of the permit was...

Permit issuance