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Weekly Cases Update Volume 44, Issue 25

Sierra Club v. Jewell

ELR 20193
No. 12-5383 (D.C. Cir., August 2014)

The D.C. Circuit held that environmental groups have standing to challenge DOI's decision to remove the Blair Mountain Battlefield—the site of a large 1921 coal miner uprising in West Virginia—from the National Register of Historic Places. Shortly after the Battlefield was listed in 2009, the...

Held satisfied, Historic Preservation

Markle Interests, LLC v. United States Fish & Wildlife Service

ELR 20192
No. 13-234 (E.D. La., August 2014)

A district court upheld FWS' designation of 1,544 acres of a privately owned tree farm in Louisiana as critical habitat essential for the conservation of the dusky gopher frog, an endangered species. The frog, listed in 2001, is located only in Mississippi; it does not presently occupy the tree...

Critical habitat designation, Wildlife (generally)

Mc Allen Grace Brethren Church v. Salazar

ELR 20194
No. 13-40326 (5th Cir., August 2014)

The Fifth Circuit held that DOI's ban on owning bald eagle feathers under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). DOI's implementation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act prohibits American Indians who are not members of federally...

Taking, possessing, or offering to sell bald or golden eagle parts, 16 U.S.C. §688

Center for Community Action & Environmental Justice v. BNSF Railway Co.

ELR 20191
No. 12-56086 (9th Cir., August 2014)

The Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal of environmental groups' RCRA citizen suit against a railroad company seeking to enjoin the emission of particulate matter found in diesel exhaust from the company's railyards. RCRA’s citizen suit provision permits any person to sue the owner or operator of...

"Disposal" construed

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Inc. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

ELR 20196
No. 2:12-6689 (S.D. W. Va., August 2014)

A district court upheld a dredge-and-fill permit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued to a mining company allowing it to conduct surface coal mining activities at a proposed 725-acre site in Boone County, West Virginia. Environmental groups challenged the permit, arguing that the Corps failed...

Permit issuance

El Dorado Chemical Co. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

ELR 20195
No. 13-1936 (8th Cir., August 2014)

The Eighth Circuit upheld an EPA decision rejecting modifications to Arkansas' water quality standards as they pertain to discharges of dissolved minerals from a chemical manufacturing plant. Arkansas adopted the revisions after the plant initiated a third party rulemaking to increase the levels...

State standards, §303(a)

South Carolina Public Service Authority v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

ELR 20197
No. 12-1232 (D.C. Cir., August 2014)

The D.C. Circuit upheld FERC Order No. 1000, in which it adopted reforms to electric transmission planning and cost allocation. The order requires public utility transmission owners and operators to participate in regional transmission planning to prevent undue discrimination and preference in...

Electric transmission facility siting, Energy (generally)

Minisink Residents for Environmental Preservation & Safety v. Federal Energy Regulatory Comm'n

ELR 20190
No. 12-1481 (D.C. Cir., August 2014)

The D.C. Circuit denied residents' petitions for review challenging FERC's approval of a new natural gas compressor station in their town. Although the project is now finished and functional, the petitions are not moot because the residents assert that the compressor's operation continues to...

Energy (generally), Energy resource projects

Enteck GRB LLC v. Stull Ranches, LLC

ELR 20189
No. 13-1172 (10th Cir., August 2014)

The Tenth Circuit held that an energy company may cross private property in order to develop new oil well sites under the property owner's surface estate as well as to access one of its existing wells located on adjacent BLM property. The only way to access the well on the BLM property is via a...

Property rights