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Weekly Cases Update Volume 41, Issue 24

National Electrical Manufacturers v. United States Department of Energy

ELR 20267
No. 10-1533 (4th Cir., August 2011)

The Fourth Circuit denied a petition challenging a DOE rule setting forth energy conservation standards for small electric motors. The motors covered by the rule are electric induction motors ranging in power output from 0.25 to 3 horsepower. In promulgating the rule, the DOE invoked its...

Energy Policy and Conservation Act

Secretary of Labor v. ConocoPhillips Bayway Refinery

ELR 20266
No. 10-2893 (3d Cir., August 2011)

The Third Circuit held that the Secretary of Labor need only demonstrate the possibility of exposure to asbestos that is substantially probable to lead to serious harm for purposes of classifying work standard violations as "serious." The Secretary had cited a company for nine "serious"...

Toxic Substances

Voices of the Wetlands v. State Water Resources Control Board

ELR 20268
No. S160211 (Cal., August 2011)

California's highest court upheld a regional water board's issuance of a NPDES permit authorizing a power plant to draw cooling water from an adjacent harbor and slough. An environmental group filed suit, claiming that the permit did not satisfy the "best technology available" requirement of...

Wetlands, State programs, §402(b)

In Defense of Animals v. United States Department of the Interior

ELR 20265
No. 10-16715 (9th Cir., August 2011)

The Ninth Circuit upheld the denial of animal rights groups' motion to preliminarily enjoin DOI from rounding up, destroying, or auctioning off wild horses and burros in the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area on the California-Nevada border. The groups claimed that the large-scale removal of...

Injunctions, FRCP 65, Mootness, Wild horses and burros

Northeast Natural Energy v. Morgantown,

ELR 20269
No. 11-C-411 (W. Va. Cir. Ct., August 2011)

A West Virginia court overturned a city's ordinance banning the hydraulic fracturing of Marcellus shale. The city, characterizing the hydraulic fracturing process as a nuisance, argued that it has the authority to enact and enforce the ordinance pursuant to the rights given to the city by the "...

Energy (generally), West Virginia

Western Energy Alliance v. Salazar

ELR 20264
No. 10-CV-237F (D. Wyo. , August 2011)

A district court vacated two internal DOI guidance documents that address and limit the use of §390 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which establishes a "rebuttable presumption" that a categorical exclusion from review under NEPA would apply to certain oil and gas development activities on...

Categorical exclusions, §1508.4, Energy Policy Act of 2005, Requirements not met

Ginardi v. Frontier Gas Services LLC

ELR 20270
No. 4:11CV00420-BRW (E.D. Ark., August 2011)

A district court denied an energy company's motion to dismiss residents' tort law claims against it for damages stemming from its operation of natural gas compression stations. The residents alleged that the compressor stations cause harmful levels of noise pollution and emit large amounts of...

Energy (generally), Tort Law

Ferris v. Location 3 Corp

ELR 20272
No. 2010AP2203 (Wis. Ct. App. , August 2011)

A Wisconsin appellate court held that real estate agents may be held liable to the purchasers of their client's property for failing to disclose that a landfill next to the purchased property was a Superfund site. The purchasers learned that the landfill was a Superfund site shortly after...

Contaminated Sites/Brownfields, Duty to disclose, Wisconsin

United States v. ARG Corp.

ELR 20271
No. 3:10-CV-311 (N.D. Ind. , August 2011)

A district court granted a city's motion to dismiss a company's third-party complaint against it for reimbursement of cleanup costs the U.S. government incurred responding to hazardous substances at an industrial site formerly owned by the company. The government filed suit against the company...

Owners and operators

E-Z Mart Stores, Inc. v. Ronald Holland's A-Plus Transmission & Automotive, Inc.,

ELR 20273
No. 04-10-00192-CV (Tex. App. , August 2011)

A Texas appellate court reversed and remanded a $550,019 judgment awarded to property owners in their suit against a neighboring convenience store for damages stemming from a leaking UST. The evidence was legally sufficient to show that the gasoline migrated from the store's property to the...

Texas, Underground Storage Tanks (USTs)