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Weekly Cases Update Volume 44, Issue 36

Trumpeter Swan Society v. Environmental Protection Agency

44 ELR 20278
13-5228 (D.C. Cir., December 2014)

The D.C. Circuit upheld EPA's denial of a petition filed by 101 environmental groups asking the Agency to regulate spent lead bullets and shot under TSCA. EPA rejected the petition as “non-cognizable” under TSCA §21 on the grounds that it largely duplicated an earlier petition that two of the...

Judicial review, Lead

Natural Resources Defense Council v. Environmental Protection Agency

44 ELR 20275
12-1321 (D.C. Cir., December 2014)

The D.C. Circuit held that EPA's regulations implementing the 2008 NAAQS for ozone exceed the Agency’s authority under the CAA. In 2008, EPA revised and strengthened the standards for ozone pursuant to the CAA. One of the revisions extended the deadline for some regions to attain the new...

Review and revision, §109(d)

San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority v. Locke

44 ELR 20276
12-15144 et al. (9th Cir., December 2014)

The Ninth Circuit upheld the National Marine Fisheries Service's (NMFS') biological opinion regarding the impact of continuing water extraction in the California Central Valley on certain threatened and endangered salmonid species. In its biological opinion, NMFS determined that the Bureau of...

Biological opinion, §7(b), Steelhead

Humane Society of the United States v. Jewell

44 ELR 20274
1:13-cv-00186-BAH (D.D.C., December 2014)

A district court, in a 100+-page opinion, vacated an FWS rule removing the western Great Lakes distinct population segment (DPS) of gray wolves from the ESA’s list of protected species and ordered the agency to reinstate immediately the protections for gray wolves in the affected area as these...

Determination of endangered and threatened species, §4, Gray wolf

Across Big Sky Flow Testing, LLC v. Workforce Safety & Insurance

44 ELR 20273
2014 ND 236 (N.D., December 2014)

The North Dakota Supreme Court upheld an administrative law judge's (ALJ's) award of benefits in the death of an oil-tank worker. According to the medical examiner's report, the worker died from hydrocarbon poisoning due to the inhalation of petroleum vapors from oil storage tanks. His employer...

Energy (generally), Toxic Substances (generally)

Oceana v. Pritzker

44 ELR 20271
08-1881 (D.D.C., December 2014)

A district court refused to vacate a biological opinion issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in which it determined that the operation of the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery would not jeopardize the continued existence of the Northwest Atlantic population segment of loggerhead sea...

Biological opinion, §7(b), Sea turtles

Environment Texas Citizen Lobby, Inc. v. ExxonMobil Corp.

44 ELR 20277
H-10-4969 (S.D. Tex., December 2014)

A district court dismissed individuals' CAA citizen suit against an oil company for emission violations at the company's refinery, olefins plant, and chemical plant in Baytown, Texas. It is undisputed the company violated some emission standards or limitations under its Title V permit. Indeed,...

Citizen suits, §304, Penalty assessment criteria, §113(e)

Conservation Congress v. Finley

44 ELR 20270
12-16916 (9th Cir., December 2014)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision granting summary judgment in favor of the federal government on claims that it violated ESA, NEPA, and National Forest Management Act in connection with its approval of a lumber thinning and fuel reduction project in northern California. An...

National forests, Northern spotted owl

Sierra Club v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

44 ELR 20272
12-2853 et al. (7th Cir., December 2014)

The Seventh Circuit denied a petition for review challenging EPA’s decisions to redesignate three geographic areas—Milwaukee-Racine, Greater Chicago, and the Illinois portion of the St. Louis area—as having attained the 1997 NAAQS for ozone. Before redesignating an area, the CAA requires EPA to...

Designation as attainment/nonattainment

Aransas Project v. Shaw

44 ELR 20269
13-40317 (5th Cir., December 2014)

The Fifth Circuit denied a motion to rehear its earlier decision that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) did not cause the unlawful take of endangered whooping cranes in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in violation...

"Take," §9(a)(1)(B), Whooping cranes