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Weekly Cases Update Volume 43, Issue 17

Conservation Congress v. United States Forest Service

ELR 20129
12-16452 (9th Cir., June 2013)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision denying an environmental group's request to preliminarily enjoin the U.S. Forest Service's approval of a timber sale in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The group argued that the Service failed to adequately evaluate the cumulative effects of...

Biological assessment, §7(c), Northern spotted owl

American Trucking Ass'ns v. Los Angeles, City of

ELR 20128
11-798 (U.S., June 2013)

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down portions of the Los Angeles port's "Clean Truck Program," which was designed in part to reduce emissions related to port operations, including emissions from trucks. The concession agreements implementing the plan set forth a number of provisions covering,...

Air quality, Climate Change (generally), Mobile sources, Preemption

Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann

ELR 20127
11-889 (U.S., June 2013)

The U.S. Supreme Court held that Oklahoma statutes that favor in-state water appropriation permit applicants over out-of-state permit applicants do not violate the Commerce Clause and are not preempted by the Red River Water Compact—an interstate water compact that allocates water among Texas,...

Commerce Clause, Preemption, Water allocation under federal law

Chlorine Institute, Inc. v. Federal Rail Administration

ELR 20126
12-1298 (D.C. Cir., June 2013)

The D.C. Circuit dismissed as unripe a trade association's lawsuit challenging portions of a Federal Rail Administration (FRA) rule that requires qualifying rail carriers to submit an implementation plan to install a "positive train control" (PTC) system no later than December 31, 2015, on...

Challenges held unripe, Chlorine

Organic Seed Growers & Trade Ass'n v. Monsanto Co.

ELR 20125
2012-1298 (Fed. Cir., June 2013)

The Federal Circuit held that organic farmers lack standing to seek a declaratory judgment of non-infringement with respect to 23 patents owned by a large seed manufacturer. The farmers do not intend to use the manufacturer's seeds, but given the proliferation of genetically modified seeds today...

Agriculture

Horne v. Department of Agriculture

ELR 20122
12-123 (U.S., June 2013)

The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit's decision that it lacked jurisdiction to hear a raisin grower's claim that a marketing order under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 (AMAA) requiring handlers to participate in a raisin reserve program violates the Fifth Amendment...

Agriculture

Cumberland Coal Resources, LP v. Federal Mine Safety & Health Review Commission

ELR 20123
11-1464 (D.C. Cir., June 2013)

The D.C. Circuit held that a mining company's failure to maintain adequate emergency lifelines in its mine's escapeways was a significant and substantial violation of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, thereby affirming the Department of Labor's Federal Mine Safety & Health...

Health and safety standards

Illinois Commerce Commission v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

ELR 20124
11-3421 et al. (7th Cir., June 2013)

The Seventh Circuit upheld a FERC order allowing a regional electricity transmission system to apportion costs for new power lines necessary to bring power generated from wind farms in the Great Plains to urban centers among all the utilities drawing electricity from the grid. The costs would be...

Commerce Clause, Federal Power Act (FPA)

Bridger Lake, LLC v. Seneca Insurance Co.

ELR 20130
11-0342 (W.D. La., June 2013)

A district court held that under Wyoming law, an insurance company need not cover a pipeline operator for damages resulting from a ruptured pipeline that discharged more than 4,000 barrels of crude oil over a five-day period. The policy's pollution exclusion clause bars coverage for the spill....

Held to bar

In re Quantitative Settlement Agreement Coordinated Civil Cases

ELR 20121
JCCP 4353 (Super. Ct. Cal., June 2013)

A California court validated a settlement agreement and 11 related agreements concerning the conservation, transfer, and exchange of Colorado River water diverted for beneficial consumptive use among Southern California water agencies. The agreements were negotiated and executed to resolve...

Irrigation, Water allocation under federal law, Water allocation under state law