Washington Public Trust Doctrine Applies to Protection of Atmosphere
A Washington court held that the public trust doctrine applies to the protection of the atmosphere, including limits on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but denied minors' petitions for stricter GHG regulations because the state agency has already commenced rulemaking. The state argued the public trust doctrine, which has been applied to navigable waters, cannot apply to the atmosphere. But navigable waters and the atmosphere are intertwined.
A settling CWA defendant that is going through Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings must pay a $38 million penalty in connection with unauthorized discharges of oil and chemicals from an oil platform into the Gulf of Mexico; the judgment will be treated as an allowed unsecured claim in the bankruptcy proceedings.
BLM Approval of Wind Farm Project in California Complied With NEPA, FLPMA
The Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision that BLM complied with NEPA and FLPMA in allowing the construction of a utility-scale wind project in California's Sonoran Desert. BLM included a reasonably complete discussion of mitigation measures in the final EIS, and the agency did not act arbitrarily and capriciously in granting a right-of-way for the project.
The November 2015 issue of ELR's News & Analaysis features articles on assessing the impacts of climate change on the built environment, conservation and liability for environmental harm in tropical nations, and the deployment of ocean renewable energy through area-based management. The issue also looks at state implementation of the Clean Power Plan and why it matters to industries outside the power sector. The transcript to a recent ELI seminar on EPA's "Waters of the United States" rule is included as well.