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Weekly Cases Update Volume 43, Issue 8

Filippone v. Iowa Department of Natural Resources

43 ELR 20054
2-1005, 12-0444 (Iowa Ct. App., March 2013)

An Iowa appellate court affirmed the dismissal of a minor's petition asking the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to adopt new rules regarding the emission of greenhouse gases in the state. She first argued that the state agency acted unreasonably in denying the proposed rule because Iowa's...

Climate Change (generally), Iowa

Shell Offshore, Inc. v. Greenpeace, Inc.

43 ELR 20051
12-35332 (9th Cir., March 2013)

The Ninth Circuit upheld an injunction prohibiting an environmental activist group from interfering with an oil company's outer continental shelf (OCS) exploration activities in the Arctic Ocean. The lower court's preliminary injunction barred the group from coming within specified distances of...

Injunctions, Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)

Western Energy Alliance v. Salazar

43 ELR 20052
11-8071 (10th Cir., March 2013)

The Tenth Circuit dismissed an appeal brought by energy companies arguing that §266(b)(1)(A) of the Mineral Leasing Act requires BLM to issue oil and gas leases within 60 days of payment. The energy companies were the highest bidders on 118 pending leases, and because more than 60 days had...

BLM authority

Aransas Project v. Shaw

43 ELR 20053
2:10-cv-075 (S.D. Tex., March 2013)

A district court held that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality violated ESA §9 by failing to properly manage freshwater inflows into the San Antonio and Guadalupe bays during the 2008-2009 winter, thereby causing an unlawful take of the world’s only self-sustaining, wild Whooping Crane...

"Take" construed, Whooping cranes

Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Ass'ns v. United States Department of the Interior

43 ELR 20057
1:12-CV-01303 (E.D. Cal., March 2013)

A district court held that commercial fishing groups may go forward with their NEPA lawsuit against the Bureau of Reclamation in a case involving the Bureau's approval of eight water delivery contracts in California's Central Valley. The groups argued that the Bureau's EA failed to adequately...

Central Valley Project (CVP), Water-related projects

Alabama Environmental Council v. Environmental Protection Agency

43 ELR 20055
08-16961, 11-11549 (11th Cir., March 2013)

The Eleventh Circuit vacated EPA's 2011 disapproval of Alabama SIP provisions on opacity, thereby reinstating EPA's 2008 approval of opacity limits. EPA's 2011 disapproval was unauthorized by the CAA because EPA failed to make the statutorily required error determination. Neither the text of the...

Approval and revision, §110(a)

Friends of Maine's Mountains v. Board of Environmental Protection

43 ELR 20056
BEP 12-137 (Me., March 2013)

Maine's highest court vacated a state permit authorizing the construction of a wind turbine project on Saddleback Mountain. Twenty-one days before the state environmental agency approved the permit, the state's environmental board adopted an amendment that, among other changes, lowered the...

Energy (generally), Energy sources

In re Deepwater Horizon

43 ELR 20058
12-30230 (5th Cir., March 2013)

The Fifth Circuit held that Transocean's primary and excess-liability insurers must cover BP's pollution-related liabilities deriving from April 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Under Texas law, the umbrella insurance policy—not the indemnity provisions of Transocean's and BP's contract—...

Excess liability policy, Oil Pollution Act (OPA)