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Weekly Cases Update Volume 50, Issue 16

Stand Up for California! v. U.S. Department of the Interior

ELR 20131
18-16830 (9th Cir., May 2020)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part summary judgment for DOI in a challenge to its issuance of secretarial procedures authorizing a Native American tribe to operate a hotel and casino in Madera, California. Nonprofit groups argued that issuance of the procedures violated NEPA...

Held required for

St. Johns Riverkeeper, Inc. v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

ELR 20128
3:17-cv-398-J-34MCR (M.D. Fla., May 2020)

A district court granted summary judgment for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a challenge to its proposal to dredge a portion of a harbor located in the Lower St. Johns River. An environmental group argued that the Corps violated NEPA by failing to analyze the present effects of past...

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

Mountain Communities for Fire Safety v. Elliott

ELR 20129
2:19-cv-6539-CAS-AFMx (C.D. Cal., May 2020)

A district court granted summary judgment for the U.S. Forest Service in a challenge to its approval of a tree-thinning and fire mitigation project in the Los Padres National Forest. Conservation groups and nearby residents argued the Service's decision to authorize the project with a...

Categorical exemption

Oakland Bulk & Oversized Terminal, LLC v. Oakland, City of

ELR 20123
18-16105 and 18-16141 (9th Cir., May 2020)

The Ninth Circuit upheld a district court ruling that Oakland, California breached its contract with a company to develop a commercial rail-to-ship terminal on a former U.S. Army base near the San Francisco Bay. The company argued that Oakland breached the contract by barring coal operations at...

Breach

County of San Mateo v. Chevron Corp.

ELR 20125
18-15499, 18-15502, 18-15503, and 18-16376 (9th Cir., May 2020)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part a district court ruling granting California counties' and cities' motions to remand to state court a lawsuit against oil companies alleging nuisance and other causes of action arising from the role of fossil fuel products in global warming. The companies argued...

Climate Change (generally)

City of Oakland v. BP PLC

ELR 20124
18-16663 (9th Cir., May 2020)

The Ninth Circuit vacated and remanded a district court ruling denying San Francisco's and Oakland's motion to remand to state court a lawsuit alleging that oil companies make and sell products that create a public nuisance—sea-level rise—when combusted. The cities argued the district court...

Climate Change (generally)

Montana Wildlife Federation v. Bernhardt

ELR 20130
CV-18-69-GF-BMM (D. Mont., May 2020)

A district court vacated BLM's 2018 instruction memorandum (IM) and oil and gas lease sales in Montana and Wyoming issued in reliance on the IM for failing to maintain federal protections for the greater sage-grouse. Environmental groups challenged the IM and lease sales, arguing that they...

Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA)

Citizens for Clean Energy v. U.S. Department of the Interior

ELR 20122
CV-17-30-GF-BMM (D. Mont., May 2020)

A district court denied a request to vacate the Trump Administration's decision to lift the Obama Administration's moratorium on new coal leasing on public lands. Environmental groups, tribes, and states argued that BLM's issuance of a final EA and FONSI were insufficient to meet the court's...

Environmental assessment (EA)

Grand Canyon Trust v. Provencio

ELR 20126
CV-13-8045-PCT-DGC (D. Ariz., May 2020)

A district court granted summary judgment for the Forest Service in a challenge against its determination that a mining company had "valid existing rights" (VER) at a uranium mine in the Kaibab National Forest when DOI withdrew public lands around the Grand Canyon from new mining claims. A...

Mining

Waid v. Earley

ELR 20127
19-1425, 19-1472, 19-1477, and 19-1533 (6th Cir., May 2020)

The Sixth Circuit affirmed a district court ruling that denied city and state officials' motions to dismiss residents' bodily integrity claim stemming from the water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan. City officials argued they were entitled to qualified immunity because they acted on...

Qualified immunity, Sovereign immunity