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Weekly Cases Update Volume 46, Issue 16

United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co.

ELR 20102
15-290 (U.S., May 2016)

The U.S. Supreme Court held that a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jurisdictional determination (JD) is a final agency action subject to judicial review under the APA. The case arose in connection with the permitting process for a peat mine. The mine obtained an approved JD from the Corps stating...

Environment Texas Citizens Lobby v. ExxonMobil Corp.

ELR 20100
15-20030 (5th Cir., May 2016)

The Fifth Circuit vacated and remanded a lower court decision that imposed no penalties against an oil company for alleged CAA permit violations at its industrial complex in Baytown, Texas. An environmental group filed a CAA citizen suit against the company, alleging violations that occurred...

Citizen suits, §304, Enforcement, §113, Operating permits,§§501-507

Oregon Natural Desert Ass’n v. Jewell

ELR 20104
13-36078 (9th Cir., May 2016)

The Ninth Circuit held that BLM’s approval of a wind-energy development project in southeastern Oregon failed to adequately address impacts to the greater sage grouse in violation of NEPA. The challenged project entails the construction of wind turbines and a right-of-way across a sagebrush...

Alternative Energy, Energy resource projects, Wildlife (generally)

Coyote Lake Ranch, LLC v. City of Lubbock

ELR 20203
14-0572 (Tex., May 2016)

The Texas Supreme Court held that the common-law "accommodation doctrine," which gives an oil-and-gas lessee an implied right to use the land as reasonably necessary to produce and remove the minerals as long as it exercises that right with due regard for the landowner's rights, also extends to...

Water law, Groundwater, Property rights/entitlements

State v. Atlantic Richfield Co.

ELR 20099
2015-201 (Vt., May 2016)

The Vermont Supreme Court affirmed a lower court decision dismissing as untimely the state's claims against a number of companies for generalized injury to state waters due to groundwater contamination from methyl tertiary butyl ether, a gasoline additive. The state's lawsuit was barred by the...

Water quality, Contamination

Dewey Home & Investment Properties, LLC v. Delaware Riverkeeper Network

ELR 20101
15-10393 (Pa. Ct. Com. Pl., May 2016)

A Pennsylvania court dismissed developers' lawsuit against environmental activists and township residents for alleged tortious interference with contract with respect to a series of oil and gas leases. In an underlying suit, the activists and residents had challenged permits as well as a local...

Contracts, Hydraulic Fracturing