Presidental Order Blocking Windfarm Project Remanded on Due Process Grounds
The D.C. Circuit held that an American corporation owned by Chinese nationals was deprived of its constitutionally protected property interests without due process of law when President Obama issued an order blocking on national security grounds the corporation's windfarm project located near a U.S. Navy facility off Oregon's coast. On remand, the corporation must be provided access to the unclassified evidence on which the President relied in issuing the order as well as an opportunity to respond.
A settling CAA defendant that violated new source review and Title V provisions at the Laskin coal-fired power plants in Cohasset and Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota, must pay a $1.4 million civil penalty, must perform injunctive relief to reduce sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter emissions at these plants and others in Schroeder and Grand Rapids, and must spend at least $4.2 million on environmentally beneficial projects to mitigate the adverse effects of past emissions.
Coal Company May Not Assert "Permit Shield" Defense for Selenium Discharges
The Fourth Circuit held that a coal company may not assert the CWA's "permit shield" defense for discharges of selenium when it failed to disclose the presence of this pollutant during the permit application process. Although the permit shield allows permit holders to conduct their operations without concern that an unexpected discharge might lead to substantial liability, it requires full compliance with federal and state reporting requirements, as well as with the conditions of the permit. Because it failed to do so, the company may not assert the defense
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.