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Weekly Cases Update Volume 44, Issue 6

Thompson v. Heineman

ELR 20030
12-2060 (D. Neb., February 2014)

A district court held that a Nebraska law passed in 2012 to expedite the approval of a new route for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline through the state is unconstitutional. Article IV, §20, of the Nebraska Constitution commits exclusively to the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) the...

Constitutional law, Energy (generally)

Pepin v. Division of Fisheries & Wildlife

ELR 20035
SJC-11332 (Mass., February 2014)

Massachusetts' highest court upheld the state's "priority habitat" regulations insofar as they allow the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to designate priority habitat without affording landowners the procedural protections statutorily due to those owning property within...

Land use, Regulation, Endangered Species

HonoluluTraffic.com v. Federal Transit Administration

ELR 20029
13-15277 (9th Cir., February 2014)

The Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal of activists' lawsuit challenging the construction of a 20-mile, high-speed rail project in Honolulu, Hawaii. The activists claimed that DOT, the Federal Transit Administration, and the city violated NEPA and §4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act (...

Alternatives, §102(2)(E), Feasible and prudent alternatives

Reese v. Malone

ELR 20028
12-35260 (9th Cir., February 2014)

The Ninth Circuit held that shareholders may go forward with their lawsuit against an oil company for allegedly making false and misleading statements about the condition of Alaskan pipelines and the company's pipeline maintenance and leak detection practices prior to and in the wake of an oil...

Corporate Law

Hughes v. Department of Environmental Quality

ELR 20036
312902 (Mich. Ct. App., February 2014)

A Michigan appellate court held that Mich. Admin. Rule 324.102(x), which defines the term “injection well,” does not include wells completed using hydraulic fracturing. Accordingly, "frack" wells are not subject to the environmental regulations applicable to injection wells. For a well to be...

Hydraulic Fracturing, Michigan

LWD PRP Group v. ACF Enterprises, LLC

ELR 20034
5:12-cv-00127 (W.D. Ky., February 2014)

A district court held that a group of PRPs in connection with a former hazardous waste incinerator in Kentucky may go forward with their CERCLA cost recovery and contribution claims against a group of companies that allegedly generated and/or transported hazardous waste to the site. The...

Claims not barred, Declaratory judgment, §113(g)(2), PRPs may bring suit, Settlements, §122

In re Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation

ELR 20033
1:00-1898 (S.D.N.Y., February 2014)

A district court dismissed New Jersey's claims against an oil company for groundwater contamination stemming from the company's use and handling of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). The state failed to allege that the company supplied gasoline at the site at issue. In light of the importance...

Hazardous wastes & substances

Pennsylvania v. Allegheny Energy Inc.

ELR 20032
08-885 (W.D. Pa., February 2014)

A district court rejected a group of mid-Atlantic states' claims that projects undertaken by an energy company at three of its coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania violated the CAA's prevention of significant deterioration and new source performance standards requirements. The states sought...

"Modification" construed, New source review, Violations

Republic of Ecuador v. Mackay

ELR 20031
12-15572, -15848 (9th Cir., January 2014)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed two lower court decisions ordering an oil company to produce expert witness documents for use in a foreign proceeding concerning an environmental contamination dispute in Ecuador. The court rejected the company's argument that the documents were presumptively immune...

South America, Testimony by experts