Court Denies Petition Challenging a Proposed Surface Mining Operation
A California appellate court upheld a lower court decision denying an environmental group's petition challenging a county's approval of a proposed surface mining operation on a 1,500-acre site at the base of the Sierra Nevada foothills. An environmental group argued, among other things, that the EIR was inadequate because it failed to require mitigation for the conversion of farmland to other uses. But because the county-approved EIR includes specific measures to mitigate the loss of farmland, the group's assertion to the contrary is simply incorrect.
Individuals' Convictions for Conspiring to Violate CERCLA Vacated
The Second Circuit vacated individuals' convictions for making false statements and conspiring to violate CERCLA. The jury instructions stated that because the defendant has an interest in the outcome of the trial, he has a motive to testify falsely and that the jury should bear this in mind when evaluating the credibility of his testimony. This instruction was clearly erroneous in light of prior case law and prejudiced the defendants on the false statement and conspiracy counts.
On June 18, 2014, EPA officially proposed the Clean Power Plan—a rule that aims to reduce CO2 emissions from the nation’s existing fleet of fossil fuel-fired power plants. The proposal was developed pursuant to CAA §111(d), a section of the law for which there is limited regulatory precedent and no direct judicial decisions interpreting the statutory language. Any major new EPA rulemaking is bound to be controversial, and the proposed Clean Power Plan is no exception. The December issue contributes to the debate by expanding on the major issues explored during a July 14, 2014, workshop hosted by ELI and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.