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Weekly Cases Update Volume 43, Issue 36

Robinson Township v. Commonwealth

43 ELR 20276
63 MAP 2012 (Pa., December 2013)

Pennsylvania's highest court struck down Act 13, which pertains to oil and gas operations in the Marcellus Shale, as unconstitutional. The Act repealed Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act and replaced it with a codified statutory framework regulating oil and gas operations in the Commonwealth. Among...

Constitutional law, Energy (generally)

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. United States Department of Agriculture

43 ELR 20272
13-976 (D.D.C., December 2013)

A district court dismissed an animal rights group's lawsuit seeking to compel USDA to enforce the general Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulations with respect to the mistreatment of birds and to promulgate new AWA regulations that are specific to birds. Although the group successfully demonstrated...

Wildlife (generally)

Food & Water Watch v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

43 ELR 20271
12-1639 (D.D.C., December 2013)

A district court dismissed environmental groups' lawsuit challenging EPA's "authorization" of pollution trading and offsets outlined in its 2010 TMDL for the Chesapeake Bay. The groups wanted statements about offsets and trading in the Bay TMDL to be declared null and void. But the groups lack...

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

Tronox, Inc. v. Kerr-McGee Corp.

43 ELR 20274
09-10156 (S.D.N.Y. Bankr. Ct., December 2013)

A federal bankruptcy court held that a petroleum company and its subsidiaries may be held liable for at least $5 billion—and perhaps up to $14 billion—in environmental response costs and tort liabilities. In 2005, a now-bankrupt manufacturing company that makes titanium dioxide pigments was...

Bankruptcy, Fraud

Save the Plastic Bag Coalition v. City & County of San Francisco

43 ELR 20275
A137056 (Cal. Ct. App. 1st Dist., December 2013)

A California appellate court, in an unpublished opinion, upheld San Francisco's ban on the use of plastic "checkout bags" by retail establishments in the city and county. A group of plastic bag manufacturers and distributors filed suit, arguing that the ban violates the California Environmental...

Environmental Assessment/Impact Statement, Exemptions

Precon Development Corp. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

43 ELR 20273
2:08cv447 (E.D. Va., November 2013)

A district court held that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could exercise jurisdiction under the CWA over wetlands contained in a developer's proposed residential site. The developer had initially asked the court to enter declaratory judgment that the wetlands were not subject to federal...

Held included