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Weekly Cases Update Volume 43, Issue 16

Sierra Club v. United States Department of Agriculture

ELR 20116
12-5095 (D.C. Cir., May 2013)

The D.C. Circuit held that a power company may not appeal a lower court decision that USDA's Rural Utilities Service violated NEPA before granting approvals and financial assistance to the company's expansion of its coal-fired power plant. An environmental group filed suit against the Service...

Energy resource projects, Intervention, FRCP 24

Association of Battery Recyclers, Inc. v. Environmental Protection Agency

ELR 20113
12-1129 (D.C. Cir., May 2013)

The D.C. Circuit upheld EPA's revised NESHAPs for secondary lead smelting facilities. In 2012, acting pursuant to CAA §§112(d)(6) and 112(f)(2), EPA revised the 1995 emissions standards for secondary lead smelting facilities, reducing allowable emissions by 90% and requiring smelters to totally...

Hazardous air pollutants, §112

Institute of Cetacean Research v. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

ELR 20114
12-35266 (9th Cir., May 2013)

The Ninth Circuit reversed a lower court decision dismissing a Japanese whaling research organization's piracy claims against an environmental activist group. The researchers hunt whales in the Southern Ocean pursuant to a permit issued under the International Convention for the Regulation of...

Whales

Alec L. v. Perciasepe

ELR 20117
11-cv-2235 (D.D.C., May 2013)

A district court denied a motion to reconsider its earlier dismissal of a lawsuit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief based on the federal government's alleged failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Plaintiffs—five teenage citizens and two environmental groups—argued that each of the...

Climate Change (generally)

Gila River Indian Community v. McComish

ELR 20115
11-15631 et al. (9th Cir., May 2013)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part a lower court decision granting summary judgment in favor of the government in a city's lawsuit seeking to set aside DOI's decision to accept in trust, for the benefit of the Tohono O’odham Nation, a 54-acre parcel of land on...

Public trust doctrine

City of Arlington, Texas v. Federal Communications Comm'n

ELR 20112
11-1545 (U.S., May 2013)

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a FCC declaratory ruling that state and local zoning authorities have 150 days to process siting applications for new wireless towers and antennas. Section 332(c)(7)B) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, requires state or local governments to act on...

Deference to agency interpretation, Federal Communications Comm'n, Zoning

Center for Food Safety v. Vilsack

ELR 20111
12-15052 (9th Cir., May 2013)

The Ninth Circuit upheld the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service's (APHIS') unconditional deregulation of Roundup Ready Alfalfa (RRA), a genetically modified plant that allows farmers to control weeds through herbicide application without harming the alfalfa plant. APHIS correctly...

Agriculture

National Wildlife Federation v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

ELR 20118
13-617 (D.D.C., May 2013)

A district court dismissed an environmental group's APA lawsuit against EPA challenging 40 C.F.R. §124.55(b), which pertains to state certification of discharge permits issued by the Agency under the CWA. Specifically, the group challenged the portion of §124.55(b) that prohibits EPA from...

National pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permit program, 402

Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida v. United States

ELR 20119
10-14271 (11th Cir., May 2013)

The Eleventh Circuit upheld the dismissal of a Native American tribe's lawsuit challenging the government's management of the Central and Southern Florida Project for Flood Control in the Everglades. The tribe complained that the project diverts excessive flood waters over tribal lands, in part...

Water rights, Property rights/entitlements

Louisiana Generating L.L.C. v. Illinois Union Insurance Co.

ELR 20120
12-30651 (5th Cir., May 2013)

The Fifth Circuit held that under New York law, an insurance company has a duty to defend a power company in an underlying lawsuit filed against it by EPA and Louisiana's environmental agency for alleged CAA and state law violations. The insurer argued that the forms of relief covered by the...

Held applicable in