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Weekly Cases Update Volume 45, Issue 9

Black Warrior Riverkeeper, Inc. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

ELR 20057
14-12357 (11th Cir., March 2015)

The Eleventh Circuit remanded the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' conclusion that Nationwide Permit 21 (NWP 21), a general permit that allows surface coal mining operations to discharge dredged or fill materials into navigable waters, would have no more than minimal environmental effects under...

Dredge and fill permits, Nationwide permit

Kain v. Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection,

ELR 20058
SUCV2O14-02551 (Mass. Super. Ct., March 2015)

A Massachusetts court dismissed residents' lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment that the state's environmental agency failed to comply with §3(d) of the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). The GWSA is a legislative scheme designed to address the effects of climate change in Massachusetts by...

Climate Change (generally), Massachusetts

In re Big Thorne Project

ELR 20056
1:14-cv-0013-RRB (D. Alaska, March 2015)

A district court upheld the U.S. Forest Service's approval of the Big Thorne Project in the Tongass National Forest, thereby allowing the logging of approximately 6,186 acres of old growth forest and construction of 46.1 miles of new Forest Service roads to begin on April 1, 2015. Environmental...

Discussion of, held adequate, Timber Sales, Tongass National Forest, Alaska, Upheld

Florida Wildlife Federation v. McCarthy

ELR 20054
8:13-cv-2084-T-23EAJ (M.D. Fla., March 2015)

A district court dismissed environmentalists' claim that EPA should have reviewed the entirety of Florida's impaired water rule (IWR), not just the portion that constitutes a new or revised water quality standard. States retain discretion to enact and to enforce—without EPA’s review and approval...

State standards, §303(a)

Rodriguez v. Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Environment

ELR 20053
14-3467 (3d Cir., March 2015)

The Third Circuit upheld a lower court decision dismissing, on standing grounds, a doctor's claim challenging the constitutionality of a Pennsylvania law that limits a doctor's ability to obtain information about the mixture of chemical...

Constitutional law, Hydraulic Fracturing, Toxic Substances (generally)

Sierra Club v. McLerran

ELR 20052
11-CV-1759-BJR (W.D. Wash., March 2015)

A district court held that although EPA did not violate its nondiscretionary duty under the CWA to either approve or disapprove a TMDL for PCBs in the state of Washington, it acted contrary to law in determining that a "Regional Toxics Task Force" was a suitable alternative. Environmental groups...

Total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), §303(d)

Oregon Wild v. Bureau of Land Management

ELR 20055
6:14-CV-0110-AA (D. Or., March 2015)

A district court held that BLM violated NEPA and the APA when it authorized a logging project in an area of Douglas County, Oregon, that provides habitat for the northern spotted owl. In its EA for the project, which would effectively remove 160 acres of mature forest, BLM failed to consider a...

Held required for, Timber Sales, Northern spotted owl