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Weekly Cases Update Volume 44, Issue 17

Sierra Club v. FutureGen Industrial Alliance

44 ELR 20131
13-CV-3408 (C.D. Ill., June 2014)

A district court dismissed an environmental group's citizen suit in which it alleged a power company was attempting to construct a major modification of its coal-fired power plant in Illinois without a PSD permit in violation of the CAA. The project will physically replace an existing boiler...

"Modification" construed, Burford doctrine

CTS Corp. v. Waldburger

44 ELR 20125
13-339 (U.S., June 2014)

The U.S. Supreme Court held that CERCLA §309 does not preempt a state's statute of repose. The case arose after property owners filed suit against a manufacturing company for alleged groundwater contamination stemming from chemicals stored on property the company sold 24 years ago. The company...

Actions under state law, §309, Hazardous wastes & substances, Preemption, §114(c), Statute of limitations

Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. Federal Energy Regulatory Comm'n

44 ELR 20126
13-1015 (D.C. Cir., June 2014)

The D.C. Circuit held that FERC violated NEPA when it approved the expansion of a natural gas pipeline in the Northeast. The project will upgrade a portion of a much longer natural gas pipeline known as the 300 Line. An environmental group challenged the approval, arguing that FERC violated NEPA...

Energy (generally), Segmentation to avoid EIS requirements

Alec L. v. McCarthy

44 ELR 20130
13-5192 (D.C. Cir., June 2014)

The D.C. Circuit dismissed teenagers' lawsuit against the federal government for failing to cap greenhouse gas emissions. Invoking the federal question statute, 28 U.S.C. §1331, as the basis for subject matter jurisdiction, the minors alleged that the federal defendants are trustees of essential...

Climate Change (generally)

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition v. Elk Run Coal Co.

44 ELR 20124
No. 3:12-0785 (S.D. W. Va., June 2014)

A district court held that mining companies discharged excessive amounts of ionic pollution, measured as conductivity, into the waters of West Virginia in violation of their federal NPDES and state surface mining permits. The companies argued that the court could not rule in the groups' favor...

Citizen suits, §505, Effluent limitations, §301, Violations

Hawai'i Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui

44 ELR 20128
12-00198 (D. Haw., May 2014)

A district court held that a Hawaiian county illegally discharged wastewater into the ocean through groundwater injection wells in violation of the CWA. An environmental group sued the county, seeking to compel it to apply for and comply with the terms of an NPDES permit, and to pay civil...


National Environmental Development Ass'n's Clean Air Project v. Environmental Protection Agency,

44 ELR 20123
13-1035 (D.C. CIr., May 2014)

The D.C. Circuit vacated an EPA memorandum directing regional air districts to apply different criteria when making source determinations in its Title V or new source review (NSR) permitting decisions for facilities located in areas within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the...

New source review, Operating permits,§§501-507

Cook Inletkeeper v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

44 ELR 20129
3:12-cv-0205 (D. Alaska, May 2014)

A district court upheld a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit issued under CWA §404 for a railroad extension project in an area surrounded by wetlands. Two functional assessments were prepared for the project. An environmental group argued that the second functional assessment, which was...

Permit issuance

Kunaknana v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

44 ELR 20127
3:13-cv-00044, -00095 (D. Alaska, May 2014)

A district court held that an environmental group lacked standing to challenge a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit issued to an oil company to fill certain wetlands in the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska for a future drill site. The group's members have not demonstrated the requisite injury...

Held not satisfied, Permit issuance