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Weekly Cases Update Volume 42, Issue 12

Sierra Club v. Napa County Board of Supervisors

42 ELR 20084
No. A130980 (Cal. Ct. App. 1st Dist., April 2012)

A California appellate court upheld a county board's adoption of a zoning ordinance pertaining to lot line adjustments. The ordinance continued the county's existing administrative practice of allowing lot line adjustments impacting four or fewer parcels to readjust lots included in a prior...

Exemptions, Zoning

AES Corp. v. Steadfast Insurance Co.

42 ELR 20086
No. 100764 (Va. Ct. App., April 2012)

The Virginia Supreme Court, upon rehearing a case, once again 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...

Climate Change (generally)

Conservancy of Southwest Florida v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

42 ELR 20091
No. 11-11915 (11th Cir., April 2012)

The Eleventh Circuit upheld FWS' denial of petitions to designate critical habitat for the Florida panther under the ESA. Environmental groups claimed that the denial of their petitions was arbitrary and capricious under the APA. But neither the ESA nor the regulations cited by the groups...

Critical habitat designation

Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority

42 ELR 20090
No. B232655 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist., April 2012)

A California appellate court held that a local board's environmental impact report (EIR) for the construction of a light rail line connecting downtown Los Angeles with Santa Monica complies with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). A coalition of homeowners' associations,...

Environmental impact reports (EIRs), Transportation

United States v. Wilmoth

42 ELR 20087
No. 11-10540 (11th Cir., April 2012)

The Eleventh Circuit upheld a restaurant manager's conviction for conspiring to illegally dump restaurant grease into U.S. waters in violation of the CWA. The evidence was easily sufficient to sustain a finding that he conspired to intentionally violate the CWA. He was the supervisor of four...

Knowing violation, §309(c)(2)

Louisiana Environmental Action Network v. City of Baton Rouge

42 ELR 20093
No. 11-30549 (5th Cir., April 2012)

The Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded a lower court decision dismissing an environmental group's CWA action against a city for violations at its wastewater treatment plants. The lower court erred in ruling that a 2002 consent decree between the city and the U.S. government requiring the...

Consent decrees, District court jurisdiction

Litgo New Jersey, Inc. v. Martin

42 ELR 20092
No. 06-2891 (D.N.J., April 2012)

A district court held that a property owner is not entitled to attorney fees from the U.S. government in an underlying case in which the government was found liable under RCRA for trichloroethylene contamination at the site. The lower court held that the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force were...

Fees denied

Consolidated Edison Co. of New York v. Entergy Nuclear Indian Point 2, LLC

42 ELR 20085
Nos. 2010-5155, -5157 (Fed. Cir., April 2012)

The Federal Circuit reversed in part a lower court's award of damages in favor of an energy company in a case involving the government's breach of its commitment to dispose of spent nuclear fuel. The court reversed the award of damages relating to the costs of operating a spent fuel pool...

Government contracts, Waste disposal

Robinson Township v. Commonwealth

42 ELR 20088
No. 284 MD 2012 (Pa. Commw. Ct., April 2012)

A Pennsylvania appellate court enjoined for 120 days the effective date of a new state law, Act 13, that authorizes municipalities to regulate the location of oil and gas operations but not the manner in which they are operated. The court reasoned that municipalities must have an adequate...

Energy (generally), Zoning

Padres Hacia Una Vida Mejor v. Jackson

42 ELR 20089
1:11-cv-1094 (E.D. Cal., April 2012)

A district court held that a low-income community association may go forward with its claim against EPA for failing to issue preliminary findings and recommendations for voluntary compliance in response to a Title VI complaint concerning the siting, permitting, expansion, and operation of...

Civil rights claims