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 agreed, rejecting the city's claims that the ban is a valid exercise of its home rule police and land use authority. Given the state interest in production, prevention of waste, and protection of correlative rights on the one hand, and the city's interest in banning hydraulic fracturing on the other, the court ruled that the operational conflict in this case is "obvious and patent on its face."
EPA approved a revision to Maine's SIP that exempts the state from the CAA §182(f) nitrogen oxide (NOx) control requirements; any additional reductions in NOX emissions that would be required under the 2008 8-hour ozone standards, and which would be beyond what Maine's SIP regulations already provide for, would not produce net ozone air quality benefits in the Ozone Transport Region.
Public Trust Doctrine Applies to Navigable Waterways
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 public trust prior to issuing well drilling permits. The court agreed, holding that the public trust doctrine protects navigable waters from harm caused by extraction of groundwater where the groundwater is so connected to the navigable water that its extraction adversely affects public trust uses.
The July issue of ELR's News & Analysis takes a world view of environmental law and policy, featuring articles on CAA §115 and whether it gives the president authority to bind the United States to greenhouse gas emission targets, shifting priorities at U.N. environmental conferences with regard to sustainable development, carbon emissions trading in China, and bilateral trade agreements to promote sustainable biofules under the EU Renewable Energy Directive. Closer to home, the issue looks at the recent "waters of the United States" proposed rulemaking and low-level exposures in toxic tort claims, which was selected as the “Best Paper” of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy & Resources last fall.