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Weekly Cases Update Volume 44, Issue 1

Sierra Club v. BNSF Railway Co.

44 ELR 20005
1:13-cv-00272 (E.D. Wash., January 2014)

A district court held that environmental groups may go forward with their CWA lawsuit against a rail carrier for allowing coal dust from open-top rail cars to be released into U.S. waterways. At issue was whether coal dust from rail cars that falls onto land, rather than directly into the waters...

"Discharge of pollutants" construed, Citizen suits, §505

Reep v. State

44 ELR 20004
2013 ND 253 (N.D., December 2013)

The North Dakota Supreme Court held that the state owns the mineral interests under the shore zone of the Missouri River, which cuts through the oil-rich Bakken Shale region. Under the equal footing doctrine, the state's title to the beds of navigable waters extends from high watermark to high...

Equal footing doctrine, North Dakota, Property rights

Wildearth Guardians v. Jewell

44 ELR 20001
12-5300 (D.C. Cir., December 2013)

The D.C. Circuit affirmed the dismissal of environmental groups' lawsuit challenging BLM's decision to lease two tracts of land in the Wyoming Powder River Basin for coal mining. The groups argued that BLM failed to adequately consider several environmental concerns, including the increase in...

Climate Change (generally), Discussion of, held adequate, Mining

Jones v. National Marine Fisheries Service

44 ELR 20002
11-35954 (9th Cir., December 2013)

The Ninth Circuit held that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not violate the CWA or NEPA when it issued a dredge and fill permit necessary for a mineral sands mining project near Coos Bay, Oregon. An environmental group argued that the Corps should have prepared an EIS, rather than an EA and...

Oil exploration, Permit issuance

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition v. FOLA Coal

44 ELR 20003
2:12-3750 (S.D. W. Va., December 2013)

A district court held a mining company liable under SMCRA and the CWA for discharging excessive amounts of selenium into the waters of West Virginia. The company argued that the CWA's permit shield defense protected it from liability because selenium was not a pollutant whose discharge was...

Held not included, Water quality standards, §303