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Weekly Cases Update Volume 44, Issue 8

San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority v. Jewell

ELR 20056
11-15871 et al. (9th Cir., March 2014)

The Ninth Circuit, in a 170+ page opinion, reversed in part and affirmed in part a lower court decision invalidating the FWS' 2008 biological opinion (BiOp) that concluded that the Central Valley Project (CVP) would jeopardize the continued existence of the delta smelt and its habitat. The...

Central Valley Project (CVP), Biological opinion, §7(b)

Sierra Club v. BNSF Railway

ELR 20051
C13-0967-JCC (W.D. Wash., March 2014)

A district court held that environmental groups may go forward with their CWA lawsuit against a rail carrier for allowing coal dust from open-top rail cars to be released into U.S. waterways. At issue was whether coal dust from rail cars that falls onto land, rather than directly into the waters...

Notice held adequate

Powder River Basin Resource Council v. Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission

ELR 20050
2014 WY 37 (Wyo., March 2014)

The Supreme Court of Wyoming reversed and remanded a lower court decision affirming the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission's denial of a request for public records documenting the identities of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations in the state. Below, the environmental...

Hydraulic Fracturing, Subsurface mining

Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency

ELR 20048
12-1166 (D.C. Cir., March 2014)

The D.C. Circuit denied an electric utility association's petition for review challenging EPA's new source performance standards for steam generating units. The standards—issued via final rules in 2009 and again in 2012—exempt all units using particulate matter continuous emissions monitoring...

Monitoring, New source performance standards, §111

Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States

ELR 20049
12-1173 (U.S., March 2014)

The U.S. Supreme Court held that a railroad right-of-way that crossed land the United States conveyed to a family in a 1976 land patent was an easement that was extinguished when the railroad formally abandoned it in 2004, thereby leaving the family's land unburdened. The U.S. government...

Easements

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

ELR 20054
13-6153 (6th Cir., March 2014)

The Sixth Circuit held that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers complied with NEPA and the CWA when it issued a §404 permit to a mining company for a secondary mining project that was part of a larger mining operation in Kentucky. The Kentucky Division of Mine Permits, which has exclusive...

Dredge and fill permits, NEPA compliance, Permit issuance

Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District v. California Department of Water Resources

ELR 20053
34-2010-80000703 (Cal. Super. Ct., March 2014)

A California appellate court, in a pair of related cases, held that the California Department of Water Resources's environmental impact report (EIR) for an underground water bank...

Environmental Assessment/Impact Statement, Environmental impact reports (EIRs)

Central Delta Water Agency v. California Department of Water Resources

ELR 20052
34-2010-80000561 (Cal. Super. Ct., March 2014)

A California appellate court, in a pair of related cases, held that the California Department of Water Resources's environmental impact report (EIR) for an...

Environmental Assessment/Impact Statement, Environmental impact reports (EIRs)

Arrowood Indemnity Co. v. Bel Air Mart

ELR 20055
2:11-cv-00976 (E.D. Cal., March 2014)

A district court held that an insurance company has a duty to defend a commercial property owner in an underlying action concerning contamination from property it leased to a dry cleaning business. The owner discovered the contamination in 2007. In 2008, it tore down the property. In 2010, the...

Held applicable in