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Weekly Cases Update Volume 43, Issue 24

United States v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P.

ELR 20194
11-4406 et al. (3d Cir., August 2013)

The Third Circuit affirmed a lower court decision dismissing the U.S. government's lawsuit against the current and former owners of a coal-fired power plant in Indiana County, Pennsylvania...

Preconstruction requirements, §165

Trinity Industries, Inc. v. Chicago Bridge & Iron Co.

ELR 20198
12-2059 (3d Cir., August 2013)

The Third Circuit held that a PRP that entered into a consent decree resolving its state-law liability with the commonwealth of Pennsylvania in connection with contamination at an industrial facility may seek contribution under CERCLA from a second PRP. The court held that CERCLA §113(f)(3)(B)...

Claims barred, Claims not barred

Bell v. Cheswick Generating Station

ELR 20195
12-4216 (3d Cir., August 2013)

The Third Circuit held that the CAA does not preempt state law tort claims brought by private property owners against a source of pollution located within the state. The case arose after a group of 1,500 residents who live within one mile of a coal-fired power plant filed suit against the...

Held not preempted

Conservation Force v. Jewell

ELR 20192
11-5316 (D.C. Cir., August 2013)

The D.C. Circuit denied petitions to downlist the straighthorned markhor, a subspecies of wild goat found in Pakistan, from endangered to threatened. The petitioners—safari clubs, hunters, and international conservationists—argued that FWS violated the ESA and APA by failing to issue a 12-month...

Determination of endangered and threatened species, §4

National Ass'n of Clean Water Agencies v. Environmental Protection Agency

ELR 20191
11-1311 (D.C. Cir., August 2013)

The D.C. Circuit remanded EPA's "maximum achievable control technology" (MACT) standards for sewage sludge incinerators under CAA §129. The court upheld EPA's authority to regulate sewage sludge incinerators under §129, deferring to the Agency's interpretation of "solid waste incineration unit"...

Solid waste combustion, §129

La Cuna de Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle Advisory Committee v. United States Department of Interior

ELR 20200
11-cv-00400 (C.D. Cal., August 2013)

A district court dismissed groups' lawsuit challenging BLM's approval of a 370-megawatt utility-scale solar power plant currently under construction in the Mojave Desert. BLM's decision to consider cumulative impacts within a single EIS was not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or...

Discussion of, held adequate, Energy (generally)

Lemire v. State

ELR 20196
87703-3 (Sup. Ct. Wash., August 2013)

The Supreme Court of Washington upheld an administrative order the state environmental agency issued to a farmer, directing him to take several steps to curb pollution of a creek that runs through his property. A lower court invalidated the order, ruling that it was unsupported by substantial...

Water pollution, Nonpoint source pollution

Wisconsin Resources Protection Council v. Flambeau Mining Co

ELR 20197
12-2969 (7th Cir., August 2013)

The Seventh Circuit reversed a lower court decision finding a Wisconsin mine operator liable under the CWA for discharging copper into navigable waters without a permit. The CWA's permit shield provision provides that if a NPDES permit holder discharges pollutants in accordance with the terms of...

Held included, Water quality, State programs, §402(b)

Alaska Wilderness League v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

ELR 20193
12-71506 (9th Cir., August 2013)

The Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal of an environmental group's challenge to a CAA permit that allows an oil company to conduct "pollutant emitting activities" associated with a drilling vessel in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska's North Slope. CAA §504(e) is ambiguous as to whether "increment"...

Operating permits,§§501-507

Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee LLC v. Shumlin

ELR 20201
12-707-cv (L), 12-791-cv (XAP) (2d Cir., August 2013)

The Second Circuit upheld a lower court's permanent injunction barring the state of Vermont from bringing an enforcement action, or taking other action, to compel the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to shut down...

Held preempted, Vermont