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Weekly Cases Update Volume 45, Issue 34

Virginia Uranium v. McAuliffe

45 ELR 20229
4:15-cv-00031 (W.D. Va., December 2015)

A district court dismissed a uranium company's lawsuit that the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) preempts a Virginia law that prohibits any state agency from accepting applications for a permit to mine uranium. The company filed suit against the governor, two cabinet members, and various officials...


Environmental Integrity Project v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

45 ELR 20228
15-0139 (D.D.C., December 2015)

A district court dismissed environmental groups' CAA citizen suit against EPA for failing to respond to their 2011 petition concerning ammonia gas pollution. In 2011, the groups petitioned EPA asking it to find that ammonia gas pollution endangers the public health and welfare, designate ammonia...

National ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), §109, Notice of intent to sue, §304(b)

In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon"

45 ELR 20227
MDL 2179 (E.D. La., November 2015)

A district court held a petroleum company liable for $159.5 million in civil penalties under the CWA in connection with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The court applied each of the CWA’s eight civil penalty factors in reaching its conclusion, with "seriousness" and "culpability"...

Civil penalty provision, §309(d)

Center for Biological Diversity v. California Department of Fish & Wildlife

45 ELR 20226
S217763 (Cal., November 2015)

The Supreme Court of California held that the state fish and wildlife agency violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the California Fish and Game Code when it approved a large development project in northwest Los Angeles County. The agency prepared an environmental impact...

Compensatory Mitigation, Environmental Assessment/Impact Statement, Environmental impact reports (EIRs), Land Use (generally)

Coal River Mountain Watch v. United States Department of the Interior

45 ELR 20230
13-cv-1606 (D.D.C., November 2015)

A district court denied DOI's motion to dismiss an environmental group's lawsuit challenging OSM's determination that a surface mining permit could not be automatically terminated without first providing notice to the permit holder. SMCRA provides that certain mining permits will be terminated...

Citizen suits, §520, Permits, §506

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Ass'n v. Environmental Protection Agency

45 ELR 20225
14-1192 (D.C. Cir., November 2015)

The D.C. Circuit dismissed a truck association's lawsuit against EPA challenging California's tractor-trailer emission rules. The association argued that the state regulations impermissibly discriminate against out-of-state tractor trailers in violation of the dormant Commerce Clause. The...

Air pollution, Citizen suits, §304, Court of appeals jurisdiction, §307(b)

Puget Soundkeeper Alliance v. Cruise Terminals of America LLC

45 ELR 20231
C14-0476 JCC (W.D. Wash., November 2015)

A district court granted in part and denied in part cross-motions for summary judgment in a CWA citizen suit alleging a cruise ship terminal and port discharged industrial stormwater runoff and other pollutants into U.S. waters without a NPDES permit. The environmental group that initiated the...

Stormwater discharges, 402(p)

Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

45 ELR 20224
14-1153 (D.C. Cir., November 2015)

The D.C. Circuit held that FERC violated the Federal Power Act (FPA) when it issued a preliminary permit for a hydroelectric project in Polk County, Iowa, to a private developer. The case involved FERC's interpretation of FPA §7(a), which grants preferential treatment to state and municipal...

Hydroelectric plants, licensing of, §10