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Weekly Cases Update Volume 43, Issue 1

Center for Biological Diversity v. BP America

ELR 20007
12-30136 (5th Cir., January 2013)

The Fifth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part a lower court decision dismissing an environmental group's CWA, CERCLA, and EPCRA claims against BP and Transocean Ltd. following the Deepwater Horizon disaster. BP leased the mobile offshore drilling unit known as Deepwater...

Citizen suits, §326, Right-To-Know

Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council

ELR 20004
11-460 (U.S., January 2013)

The U.S. Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision holding a water district liable under the CWA for violating its municipal separate storm sewer system permit. The lower court ruled that the violations occurred when the polluted water detected at the monitoring stations flowed out of...

Held not included, Stormwater discharges, 402(p)

Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance v. Palma

ELR 20009
11-4094 (10th Cir., January 2013)

The Tenth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision dismissing environmental groups' case challenging decisions made by BLM and the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) concerning the legality of 39 oil and gas leases in southern Utah. In the 1980s, the owner of the leases applied to have its oil...

Oil and gas leases and prospecting permits, §17

Jayne v. Sherman

ELR 20003
11-35269 (9th Cir., January 2013)

The Ninth Circuit upheld the U.S. Forest Service's adoption of the Idaho Roadless Rule, which creates different categories of land within Idaho's 9.3 million acres of inventoried roadless areas. The court affirmed and adopted as its own a lower court ...

National forests, National forests, Biological opinion, §7(b)

Sierra Club v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

ELR 20006
2:12-0044 (E.D. Cal., January 2013)

A district court, in a 114-page opinion, held that a regional planning agency violated the California Environmental Quality Act when it approved the expansion of a ski resort near Lake Tahoe. The evidence fails to support the agency's finding that a reduced alternative was not economically...

Environmental Assessment/Impact Statement, Environmental impact reports (EIRs)

Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center v. U.S. Forest Service

ELR 20005
10-2172 (E.D. Cal., January 2013)

A district court held that the U.S. Forest Service violated its travel management rule, but not NEPA, when it issued its record of decision approving the Stanislaus National Forest Motorized Travel Management EIS. The agency looked at a reasonable range of alternatives to the proposed action,...

National forests, National forests

Natural Resources Defense Council v. EPA

ELR 20001
08-1250 (D.C. Cir., January 2013)

The D.C. Circuit ordered EPA to repromulgate two final rules it issued under the CAA concerning the implementation of the NAAQS for fine particulate matter (PM). Environmental groups challenged EPA's decision to issue the rules pursuant to the general implementation provisions of Subpart 1 of...

National ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), §109

Virginia Department of Transportation v. EPA

ELR 20002
1:12-CV-775 (E.D. Va., January 2013)

A district court held that EPA cannot regulate stormwater as a pollutant under the CWA. According to the court, the language of CWA §303(d)(1)(C) is clear. EPA may set TMDLs to regulate pollutants, and pollutants are carefully defined. Because stormwater runoff is not a pollutant under the Act,...

Total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), §303(d)

Waterkeeper Alliance v. Hudson

ELR 20010
10-487 (D. Md., December 2012)

A district court dismissed an environmental group's CWA action against a poultry farm claiming that it illegally discharged chicken litter into tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. The group claimed that chicken litter, which is alleged to contain various pollutants, was discharged without a...

Citizen suits, §505, Nonpoint source discharges