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Weekly Cases Update Volume 50, Issue 14

Center for Biological Diversity v. Esper

50 ELR 20111
18-16836 (9th Cir., May 2020)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for DOD in a challenge to construction and operation of a new aircraft base in Okinawa, Japan, and its potential adverse effects on the endangered Okinawa dugong. Individuals and environmental groups argued that DOD failed to take into account the...

Endangered Species

Idaho Conservation League v. U.S. Forest Service

50 ELR 20110
1:18-CV-504-BLW (D. Idaho, May 2020)

A district court vacated an EA and FONSI issued by the Forest Service approving a mining company to explore for gold on public lands near the Idaho-Montana border. Environmental groups previously argued before the court that the Forest Service failed to take a hard look at the impacts on...

Discussion of, held inadequate

PPG Industries Inc. v. United States

50 ELR 20112
19-1165 (3d C.r, May 2020)

The Third Circuit affirmed a district court ruling that the U.S. government was not liable to a coatings company for cleanup costs at a chromite ore processing plant with which it was involved during World War I and World War II. The district court concluded the government was not subject to...

Liability, §107

WildEarth Guardians v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management

50 ELR 20106
CV-18-73-GF-BMM (D. Mont., May 2020)

A district court vacated 287 oil and gas leases that BLM issued on 145,000 acres of federal land in Montana. Environmental groups argued that the agency violated NEPA by failing to consider the leases' impacts on groundwater from shallow fracturing and surface casing depth. The court found that...

Discussion of, held inadequate

Oregon Natural Desert Ass'n v. United States Forest Service

50 ELR 20107
18-35514 (9th Cir., May 2020)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the Forest Service in a challenge to its issuance of grazing authorizations on allotments in the Malheur National Forest. Environmental groups argued that the Service violated the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) when it failed to "analyze and...

Malheur National Forest, Or.

In re Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

50 ELR 20108
19-1044 (D.C. Cir., May 2020)

The D.C. Circuit ordered the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Park Service to issue regulations for commercial sightseeing flights over 23 national parks. Nonprofit groups sought to compel the agencies to regulate air tours at seven parks where they had injured members, as...

Public Lands

Strahan v. Secretary

50 ELR 20109
19-cv-10639-IT (D. Mass., April 2020)

A district court ordered the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environment Affairs (MEOEEA) to seek an incidental take permit pursuant to the ESA before issuing licenses that allow fishermen to use vertical buoy ropes (VBRs) in Massachusetts coastal waters. A citizen argued that VBRs...

Incidental taking