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Weekly Cases Update Volume 42, Issue 5

Adams v. United States Forest Service

42 ELR 20039
10-16711 (9th Cir., February 2012)

The Ninth Circuit held that the U.S. Forest Service exceeded the scope of its authority under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act by charging fees to those who drive to Mount Lemmon, park their cars, and then picnic, hike, or camp in nearby undeveloped areas. The Act authorizes the...

National recreation areas

Defenders of Wildlife v. Salazar

42 ELR 20033
04-1230 (D.D.C., February 2012)

A district court granted an environmental group's motion for reconsideration and overturned its previous decision upholding the DOI's "Counterpart ESA §7 Consultation Regulations" for National Fire Plan (NFP) projects. The government's rationale for proposing the rule in the first instance...

National forests, Interagency consultation, §7(a)

Barton v. Meddock

42 ELR 20038
2:11-cv-003349 (E.D. Cal., February 2012)

A district court remanded to state court landowners' claims for damages caused by defendants' alleged disposal of hazardous materials on their property. The landowners originally filed the suit in state court, but the defendants removed the case to federal court, arguing that the case...


Citizens for Smart Growth v. Department of Transportation

42 ELR 20034
2:07-cv-14122 (11th Cir., February 2012)

The Eleventh Circuit held that the Federal Highway Administration (FHwA) did not violate NEPA or §4 of the DOT Act in its planning and development of a bridge project in Florida. A citizens group argued that the FHwA improperly relied on a state agency's Feasibility Study and Corridor Report...

Discussion of, held adequate

City of Jersey City v. Consolidated Rail Corp.

42 ELR 20035
10-7135 (D.C. Cir., February 2012)

The D.C. Circuit held that a city has standing to challenge a railroad company's sale of a historic elevated railroad embankment to developers. The city argued that the sale was void because the company failed to obtain approval from the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to abandon the...

Held satisfied, Held satisfied, Property

Pacific Rivers Council v. United States Forest Service

42 ELR 20032
08-17565 (9th Cir., February 2012)

The Ninth Circuit reversed in part and affirmed in part a lower court decision that U.S. Forest Service complied with NEPA and the APA when it amended the Sierra Nevada forest plan in 2004. In stark contrast to the 2001 EIS, which contained a 64-page detailed analysis of the environmental...

Discussion of, held inadequate, Sierra Nevada National Forest, Cal.

Western Watersheds Project v. United States Fish & Wildlife Service

42 ELR 20036
4:10-CV-229 (D. Idaho, February 2012)

A district court upheld the FWS' "warranted-but-precluded" finding for the sage-grouse under the ESA. An environmental group challenged the “precluded” portion of the “warranted-but-precluded” decision, focusing on a key finding by the Director of the FWS that the threats to the sage-grouse were...

Determination of endangered and threatened species, §4

Emergency Services Billing Corp. v. Allstate Insurance Co.

42 ELR 20037
11-2381 (7th Cir., February 2012)

The Seventh Circuit held that automobile owners should not be held liable under CERCLA for costs incurred responding to automobile accidents. The case was brought by the billing agent of a fire department that sought response costs from individuals who were involved in motor vehicle...

Consumer product in consumer use exception