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Weekly Cases Update Volume 41, Issue 29

Russell County Sportsmen v. United States Forest Service

41 ELR 20314
10-35623, -35784 (9th Cir., October 2011)

The Ninth Circuit reversed a lower court decision invalidating the U.S. Forest Service's 2007 travel management plan for parts of the Lewis and Clark National Forest. Nothing in the Montana Wilderness Study Act of 1977, which requires the Service to manage a wilderness study area so as to "...

Decision not to prepare, Lewis and Clark National Forest, Or.

National Mining Ass'n v. Jackson

41 ELR 20317
10-1220 et al. (D.D.C., October 2011)

A district court held that EPA's Multi-Criteria Integrated Resource (MCIR) Assessment and Enhanced Coordination (EC) Process, adopted to screen mountaintop mining permits, violates the CWA and the APA. The MCIR Assessment involves EPA applying the CWA §404(b)(1) guidelines and directing the...

Mining, Permit issuance

DeCicco v. California Coastal Commission

41 ELR 20309
B228009 (Cal. App. 2d Dist., October 2011)

A California appellate court held that the California Coastal Commission has appellate jurisdiction over a coastal development subdivision project. A county's approval of a "principal permitted use" development within a coastal zone is not appealable to the Commission. But when the...

Land use, State land-use planning laws

Raritan Baykeeper v. NL Industries, Inc.

41 ELR 20308
10-2591 (3d Cir., October 2011)

The Third Circuit vacated a lower court decision dismissing, on grounds of abstention, environmental groups' RCRA and CWA citizens suit in which they sought an injunction requiring the current and prior owners of a contaminated site to remediate contaminated sediments in the Raritan River....

Not appropriate

Patuxent Riverkeeper v. Maryland Department of the Environment

41 ELR 20312
139 (Md., September 2011)

Maryland's highest court held that an environmental group has standing to challenge the state environmental agency's issuance of a nontidal wetlands permit for a development project. The permit allows a town to construct a road extension and stream crossing in order to provide primary access...

Aesthetic and recreational interests, Wetlands

In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon"

41 ELR 20313
MDL No. 2179 (E.D. La., September 2011)

A district court granted in part and denied in part motions to dismiss various individuals' personal injury claims stemming from their exposure to oil and dispersants following the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The individuals filed suit against oil drillers, cleanup responders, and a...

Tort Law, Toxic Substances (generally)

Sweet Lake Land & Oil Co. v. ExxonMobil Corp.

41 ELR 20316
2:09 CV 1100 (W.D. La., September 2011)

A district court held that an oil company cannot be held liable for punitive damages in a property owner's case against it for soil and groundwater contamination. The company operated oil and gas wells on the property, and it stored hazardous and toxic materials produced from the wells in an...

Statute of limitations

Wilder Corp. of Delaware v. Thompson Drainage & Levee District

41 ELR 20310
11-1185 (7th Cir., September 2011)

The Seventh Circuit held that a landowner who sold a large parcel of floodplain property to a conservation group may not ask a local drainage district to indemnify him for damages he incurred in an underlying breach of warranty suit stemming from petroleum contamination on the property. The...

Contractual agreements, Warranty

Sierra Club v. Jackson

41 ELR 20311
11-1278 (PLF) (D.D.C., September 2011)

A district court denied EPA's motion to dismiss an environmental group's lawsuit challenging the Agency's administrative stay of two rules setting forth hazardous air emission standards for boilers and commercial and industrial solid waste incineration units. EPA argued that the court lacked...

District court jurisdiction, Held reviewable, Solid waste incineration units

Newark Group, Inc. v. Dopaco, Inc.

41 ELR 20315
2:08-cv-02623 (E.D. Cal., September 2011)

A district court held that a property owner may go forward with its RCRA claims against a former tenant that stored toluene in a building on the site. The owner demolished all but the basement floor of the building. High concentrations of methane gas exist under the building due to degrading...

Claims allowed