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Weekly Cases Update Volume 41, Issue 26

AES Corp. v. Steadfast Insurance Co.

41 ELR 20293
100764 (Va. Ct. App., September 2011)

A Virginia appellate court held that under Virginia law, an insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify an energy company in an underlying lawsuit brought by a native Alaskan village for damages allegedly caused by global warming through the emission of greenhouse gases. The relevant policies...

Climate Change (generally), Duty to indemnify, Held inapplicable in

Madera Oversight Coalition, Inc. v. County of Madera

41 ELR 20286
F059153 (Cal. App. 5th Dist., September 2011)

A California appellate court affirmed in part and reversed in part a lower court decision granting an environmental group's petition for writ of mandamus challenging a county's approval of a mixed-use development project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The lower court...

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

Ross v. California Coastal Commission

41 ELR 20283
B225796 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. , September 2011)

A California appellate court held that the California Coastal Commission complied with the California Coastal Act and the California Environmental Quality Act when it certified a coastal development project along beachfront dune property in the city of Malibu. Petitioners argued that the...

California Coastal Act of 1976, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Shoreline use

Holy Cross Neighborhood Ass'n v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

41 ELR 20287
10-cv-1715 (E.D. La., September 2011)

A district court enjoined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from continuing with its Industrial Canal Lock Replacement Project in New Orleans until it complies with NEPA and the CWA. The canal is a manmade waterway that provides access from Lake Pontchartrain and the Gulf Intercoastal...

"Changed circumstances/new information" test, EPA guidelines, §404(b)(1)

Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann

41 ELR 20290
10-6184 (10th Cir., September 2011)

The Tenth Circuit held that Oklahoma statutes that favor in-state water appropriation permit applicants over out-of-state permit applicants do not violate the Commerce Clause. The case arose after a Texas water district sought permits to appropriate water from Oklahoma for use in Texas. Because...

Commerce Clause, Oklahoma, Water allocation under federal law, Water allocation under state law

City of Hugo v. Nichols

41 ELR 20292
10-7043 (10th Cir., September 2011)

The Tenth Circuit held that an Oklahoma city and a Texas city that entered into water contracts with one another lack standing to challenge Oklahoma's water appropriation permitting process as unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause. The claims at issue here are based on a substantive...

Commerce Clause, Oklahoma, Parens patriae standing, Property rights/entitlements

Assateague Coastkeepers v. Maryland Department of the Environment

41 ELR 20291
471 (Md. Ct. Spec. App., September 2011)

A Maryland appellate court held that the state's general discharge permit for animal feeding operations complies with the CWA and state law. The general permit authorizes certain discharges but imposes requirements regarding the management of manure and its application as fertilizer....

Maryland, State standards, §303(a)

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition v. Maple Coal Co.

41 ELR 20288
3:11-0009 (S.D. W. Va., September 2011)

A district court held that environmental groups are entitled to injunctive relief and civil penalties in their CWA citizen suit against a coal company for violating the water quality standards for selenium set forth in its permit. Although an enforcement action was already ongoing in state...

Civil penalty provision, §309(d), Ongoing violations

Michigan v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

41 ELR 20289
10-3891 (7th Cir., August 2011)

The Seventh Circuit denied various states' motion to issue a preliminary injunction compelling the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prevent the emigration of invasive silver and bighead carp through the Chicago Area Waterway System into Lake Michigan. The states presented sufficient evidence...

Invasive Species

United States v. DTE Energy Co.

41 ELR 20285
10-13101 (E.D. Mich., August 2011)

A district court held that an energy company did not violate the CAA when it failed to obtain a new source review (NSR) permit prior to renovating electric utility steam generating units at its Monroe, Michigan, power plant. The government argued that a permit was required because the...

New source review