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Weekly Cases Update Volume 44, Issue 18

Illinois Commerce Commission v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

44 ELR 20137
13-1674 et al. (7th Cir., June 2014)

The Seventh Circuit, for the second time, vacated a FERC order that allocates costs for certain new high-voltage network transmission lines in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. The order allocates the costs of the lines across all the utilities in proportion to each utility’s respective sales. But...

Federal Power Act (FPA)

Living Rivers v. U.S. Oil Sands, Inc.

44 ELR 20140
20121009 (Utah, June 2014)

The Supreme Court of Utah dismissed an environmental group's lawsuit challenging the state's issuance of a discharge permit for a tar sands bitumen-extraction project in the Uintah Basin. The original discharge permit was granted by the Utah Division of Water Quality (DWQ) in 2008. In 2011, the...

Groundwater pollution, Mining

Hughes v. Treadwell

44 ELR 20135
S-15468 (Alaska, June 2014)

The Supreme Court of Alaska upheld a ballot initiative that would require legislative approval of the any new large-scale metallic sulfide mining operation—the Pebble Mine gold and copper project—in the Bristol Bay watershed. Despite mining associations' arguments to the contrary, the "Bristol...

Constitutional law, Mineral development, Mining

Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency

44 ELR 20132
12-1146 (U.S., June 2014)

The U.S. Supreme Court held that EPA's regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new motor vehicles did not automatically trigger the CAA's permitting requirements for stationary sources that emit GHGs. The Court, therefore, vacated portions of the Agency's "tailoring" rule mandating PSD...

Greenhouse gases, Operating permits,§§501-507, Permits

Sacramento Municipal Utility District v. United States

44 ELR 20138
2013-5086, -5087 (Fed. Cir., June 2014)

The Federal Circuit held that the United States must pay a California utility $53,159,863 for DOE's failure to accept and dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Under a standard contract the utility entered into with DOE pursuant to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, the...

High-level radioactive waste

Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance v. Jewell

44 ELR 20136
2:13-CV-1-BO (E.D.N.C., June 2014)

A district court upheld National Park Service (NPS) regulations restricting off-road vehicle (ORV) use in North Carolina's Cape Hatteras National Seashore at certain times of the year. Petitioners argued the rule was arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, and otherwise not in...

National parks, National recreation areas

Key Operating & Equipment, Inc. v. Hegar

44 ELR 20134
13-0156 (Tex., June 2014)

The Supreme Court of Texas held that an oil and gas company may use a road on landowner's property to access its underground mineral rights. The company held an interest oil and gas rights under the landowners' property in addition to several adjoining tracts. In 2000, it pooled the tracts,...

Energy (generally), Land use, Property rights

City of Lubbock, Texas v. Coyote Lake Ranch, LLC

44 ELR 20139
07-14-00006-CV (Tex. Ct. App., June 2014)

A Texas appellate court reversed a lower court decision enjoining a city from undertaking certain activities relating to further development of its proposed water well plan on a landowner's property. The city owns the groundwater rights under the landowner's property, and in 2012 it proposed a...

Property rights, Groundwater

Sierra Club v. Environmental Protection Agency

44 ELR 20133
13-1014 (D.C. Cir., June 2014)

The D.C. Circuit held that environmental groups lacked standing to challenge an EPA memo issued to regional directors in response to an earlier court decision vacating the Agency's 2011 Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (the "transport rule"), which sets sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions...

Interstate pollution abatement, §126, State implementation plans (SIPs)