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Weekly Cases Update Volume 41, Issue 30

Wyoming v. United States Forest Service

ELR 20327
08-8061 & 09-8075 (10th Cir., October 2011)

The Tenth Circuit, in a 120-page opinion, reversed a lower court decision setting aside and permanently enjoining the U.S. Forest Service's Roadless Area Conservation Rule. In setting aside the rule, the lower court held that the Service violated the Wilderness Act of 1964 and NEPA. But the...

National forests, Wilderness Act of 1964, National forests

Cunney v. Board of Trustees of the Village of Grand View

ELR 20321
10-0485 (2d Cir., October 2011)

The Second Circuit reversed a lower court decision dismissing a property owner's lawsuit against a zoning district that denied his variance request to build a single-family home on his land. The district denied his application because his proposal did not comply with a local zoning law that...


Redondo Waste Systems, Inc. v. López-Freytes

ELR 20320
10-1865 (1st Cir., October 2011)

The First Circuit upheld a lower court decision dismissing a biomedical waste disposal company's §1983 claims against the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board for rejecting its proposed plans for dealing with accumulated waste. The complaint states no plausible claim against any identifiable...

Civil Rights Act (CRA)

Saline River Properties, LLC, v. Johnson Controls, Inc.

ELR 20325
10-10507, -13406 (E.D. Mich., October 2011)

A district court held that a developer may be liable under CERCLA for response costs the former owner of contaminated property incurred at the site. The developer, who now owns the site, filed suit against the former owner to enforce an administrative order on consent that requires the former...

"Innocent landowner" defense, "Necessary" construed, Owners and operators

In re Polar Bear Endangered Species Act Listing

ELR 20318
08-764 (D.D.C., October 2011)

A district court upheld the FWS's determination that sport-hunted polar bear trophies may no longer be imported into the United States under the Marine Mammals Protection Act (MMPA) as of the effective date of the ESA listing rule for the species. In May 2008, the FWS determined threatened...


In re Polar Bear Endangered Species Act Listing

ELR 20319
08-764 (D.D.C., October 2011)

A district court held that the FWS violated NEPA, but not the ESA, when it issued a special rule that specifies the protective mechanisms that apply to the polar bear as a result of its threatened status. In May 2008, the FWS listed the polar bear as threatened under the ESA. The Service then...

Climate Change (generally), Held required for, Protective regulations, §4(d), Polar bear

American Farm Bureau Federation v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

ELR 20322
1:11-CV-0067 (M.D. Pa., October 2011)

A district court held that environmental groups and water associations may intervene in a lawsuit challenging EPA's TMDL for the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit argued that the TMDL should be vacated because EPA lacked authority under the CWA to issue the TMDL,...

Intervention, FRCP 24, Total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), §303(d)

United States v. EME Homer City Generation L.P.

ELR 20326
2:11-cv-19 (W.D. Pa. , October 2011)

A district court dismissed the U.S. government's lawsuit against the current and former owners of a coal-fired power plant in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, for alleged CAA violations. The government alleged that the former owners undertook construction projects at the plant without having...

Injunctive relief, Permits

Bankcorpsouth Bank v. Environmental Operations, Inc.

ELR 20323
4:11CV9 (E.D. Mo., October 2011)

A district court held that a bank may go forward with its CERCLA and negligence claims against engineering and remediation companies that prepared and implemented an environmental remediation plan for property in which the bank holds an interest, but it dismissed the bank's strict liability and...

Misrepresentation, Negligence, Owners and operators

Barrous v. BP P.L.C.

ELR 20324
10-CV-02944 (N.D. Cal., October 2011)

A district court held that the owner of a restaurant may seek prospective damages, and possibly punitive damages, against an oil company for damages stemming from a leaking UST at a neighboring gas station. To obtain prospective damages for nuisance or trespass, the owner must prove that the...

Groundwater pollution, Punitive