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Weekly Cases Update Volume 48, Issue 28

Fisheries Survival Fund v. Jewell

ELR 20174
16-cv-2409 (TSC) (D.D.C., September 2018)

A district court denied commercial fishing groups' request to preliminarily enjoin development of a wind energy facility off the coast of New York. The groups argued that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) violated NEPA when it issued a lease to the company by improperly segmenting the...

Oil and gas leasing

Colorado v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service

ELR 20170
15-cv-00286-CMA-STV (D. Colo., September 2018)

A district court denied Colorado's and Utah's request to vacate FWS' decision to list the Gunnison sage grouse species as threatened under the ESA. The states argued that many of the agency's claimed threats to the species were unsupported by science, and that its determinations were arbitrary...

Critical habitat designation, Threatened species listing

Wildearth Guardians v. United States Forest Service

ELR 20169
14-828 MV/KK (D.N.M., September 2018)

A district court remanded the U.S. Forest Service's decision concerning the management of roads and trails in the Santa Fe National Forest. An environmental group argued that the agency should have considered the effects of forest management on the endangered Jemez Mountains salamander. The...

Santa Fe National Forest, N.M., Endangered Species

Otay Mesa Property, L.P. v. United States Department of the Interior

ELR 20171
13-cv-0240 (KBJ) (D.D.C., September 2018)

A district court vacated FWS' designation of land in California as critical habitat for the endangered Riverside fairy shrimp. Property owners argued that the agency improperly designated 56 acres of land as "occupied" habitat even though the shrimp species live only in the adjacent one-acre...

Critical habitat designation

Gulf Fishermens Ass'n v. National Marine Fisheries Service

ELR 20175
16-1271 (E.D. La., September 2018)

A district court ruled in favor of fishermen's challenge to NMFS regulations regarding offshore aquaculture in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The fishermen argued that the regulations were facially invalid because they fall outside the agency's authority to regulate fisheries under the...

Aquaculture, Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act)

Crow Indian Tribe v. United States

ELR 20168
9:17-cv-00089-DLC (D. Mont., September 2018)

A district court vacated FWS' decision to delist the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem population of grizzly bears. Environmental groups argued that the agency violated the APA by failing to consider the impact of delisting on other remaining grizzly populations and arbitrarily and capriciously...

Determination of endangered and threatened species, §4

Tennessee Clean Water Network v. Tennessee Valley Authority

ELR 20166
17-6155 (6th Cir., September 2018)

The Sixth Circuit held that seepage from a coal-fired power plant adjacent to the Cumberland River did not violate the CWA. Environmental groups argued that the plant violated the CWA by leaking pollutants without a permit from its unlined coal ash ponds into groundwater that is hydrologically...

National pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permit program, 402

Kentucky Waterways Alliance v. Kentucky Utilities Company

ELR 20167
18-5115 (6th Cir., September 2018)

The Sixth Circuit held that seepage from a coal-fired power plant that reached a nearby lake violated RCRA, but not the CWA. Environmental groups argued that the chemicals being stored in coal ash ponds contaminated the surrounding groundwater, which in turn contaminated a nearby lake, in...

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), National pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permit program, 402

Solenex LLC v. Jewell

ELR 20173
13-0993 (D.D.C., September 2018)

A district court vacated DOI's cancellation of an oil company's oil and gas lease in Montana. The company argued that cancellation after more than 30 years for a pre-lease NEPA violation that was never disclosed to the company was arbitrary and capricious. The court agreed, concluding that the...

Administrative Procedure Act (APA)

Western Watersheds Project v. Zinke

ELR 20172
1:18-cv-00187-REB (D. Idaho, September 2018)

A district court preliminarily enjoined BLM from conducting oil and gas lease sales under the procedures of a new BLM directive. Environmental groups argued that the directive unlawfully constrains environmental review of, and public participation in, oil and gas lease decisions that affect and...

Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)