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Weekly Cases Update Volume 47, Issue 10

People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. FWS

47 ELR 20052
14-4151 & 14-4165 (10th Cir., March 2017)

The Tenth Circuit held that FWS has the authority under the Commerce Clause to regulate the take of the Utah prairie dog. A group of property owners challenged FWS's authority to use the ESA to prohibit take of the Utah prairie dog, an intrastate species, on nonfederal land. A district court...

Endangered Species

Islip, Town of v. Datre

47 ELR 20049
16-CV-2156 (E.D.N.Y., March 2017)

A district court held that defendants responsible for dumping hazardous waste in a town park were not liable under CERCLA because they did not know of the hazardous nature of the material dumped. In 2013, a church pastor requested permission to replace and seed the topsoil of one of the park's...

Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)

NL Indus., Inc. v. State

47 ELR 20050
A-44 (N.J., March 2017)

The New Jersey Supreme Court held that the state hazardous waste spill law, which waives state immunity for hazardous waste suits, does not apply to spills that predate the law. In 1968, a development corporation built a seawall on state-owned land. In 2007, the state environmental department...

Hazardous

Sierra Club v. Virginia Electric and Power Co.

47 ELR 20047
2:15-CV-112 (E.D. Va., March 2017)

A district court ruled that a Virginia power plant is not liable for CWA penalties associated with its release of coal ash into nearby waters. The case concerns coal ash piles that leached arsenic and other heavy metals into groundwater that contaminated the Elizabeth River and Deep Creek. An...

Hazardous wastes & substances

Citizens Development Corp., Inc. v. San Diego, County of

47 ELR 20051
12CV0334 GPC KSC (S.D. Cal., March 2017)

A district court held that cow manure can be a hazardous substance under CERCLA. A citizen group sued a dairy farm for its part in contaminating Lake San Marcos. The dairy farm moved for judgment on the pleadings on the grounds that no actionable hazardous release was claimed. The court held...

Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)

Wayne Land and Mineral Group, LLC v. Delaware River Basin Comm'n

47 ELR 20048
3:16·CV-00897 (M.D. Penn., March 2017)

A district court upheld the Delaware River Basin Commission's fracking ban against a challenge from a energy company. Upon the Commission's creation, it was codified that no project that had a substantial effect on the water resources of the basin would be undertaken without the Commission's...

Hydraulic Fracturing

Martinez v. Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Comm'n

47 ELR 20046
16CA0564 (Colo. Ct. App., March 2017)

The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled against the state Oil and Gas Commission's narrow interpretation of its authority to readjust the balance of state oil and gas conservation regulations between the development of oil and gas resources and protection of public health, safety, and welfare. In...

Hydraulic Fracturing

Blue Ridge Envtl Defense League v. Pruitt

47 ELR 20045
16-cv-00364 (D.D.C., March 2017)

A district court ordered EPA to complete overdue assessments of 13 sources of hazardous air pollutants. In 2016, environmental groups sued the Agency over a failure to meet CAA requirements that the standards for air pollutants be reviewed within eight years to account for technology...

Clean Air Act (CAA)

United States v. Gibson Wine Co.

47 ELR 20043
1:15-cv-1900-AWI-SKO (E.D. Cal. , March 2017)

A district court denied a winery's motion to strike claims by EPA under CERCLA, the CAA, and other statutes in connection with a release of ammonia that claimed the life of one worker. In 2012, the winery experienced a 284-pound release of anhydrous ammonia from its refrigeration system. A cloud...

Clean Air Act (CAA), Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)

Yazzie v. EPA

47 ELR 20041
14-73100-02 (9th Cir., March 2017)

The Ninth Circuit rejected challenges to EPA's interpretation of the Tribal Authority Rule under the CAA in a case concerning a coal-fired power plant on Navajo land. In 2013, in response to Navajo Nation's failure to issue a Tribal Implementation Plan for the coal-fired plant, EPA proposed...

Clean Air Act (CAA)