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Weekly Cases Update Volume 50, Issue 24

Ohio v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

ELR 20186
19-3500 (6th Cir., August 2020)

The Sixth Circuit dismissed as moot a lawsuit seeking to preliminarily enjoin EPA's 2015 Clean Water Rule that clarified the definition of "waters of the United States" under the CWA. Ohio and Tennessee challenged the validity of the rule, arguing it extended the scope of the CWA beyond the...

Definitions, §502

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

ELR 20187
1:16-cv-01534-JEB (D.C. Cir., August 2020)

The D.C. Circuit stayed a lower court ruling that ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline to be shut down and emptied of oil within 30 days. As to the pipeline company's motion to stay the order vacating the Army Corps of Engineers' issuance of an easement under the Mineral Leasing Act, however, it...

Held required for

Environmental Protection Information Center v. Carlson

ELR 20183
19-17479 (9th Cir., August 2020)

The Ninth Circuit reversed, 2-1, a lower court ruling denying a request to preliminarily enjoin a logging project in the Mendocino National Forest. An environmental group argued the Forest Service improperly determined that the project qualified for a categorical exclusion (CE) for road repair...

Categorical exclusions, §1508.4

Gulf Fishermens Ass'n v. National Marine Fisheries Service

ELR 20182
19-30006 (5th Cir., August 2020)

The Fifth Circuit affirmed, 2-1, a lower court ruling 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 invalid because they fell outside the agency's authority to regulate...

Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act)

California v. United States Department of the Interior

ELR 20184
C 17-5948 SBA (N.D. Cal., July 2020)

A district court denied a motion to enforce its previous order vacating DOI's repeal of the Valuation Rule and reinstating prior regulations governing payment of royalties on oil, gas, and coal extracted pursuant to leases on federal and Indian lands. Conservation groups argued that the Office...

Enforcement and Compliance

Power Authority of New York v. Bouchard

ELR 20185
19-1140-cv (2d Cir., July 2020)

The Second Circuit vacated and remanded a lower court ruling in a lawsuit concerning the discharge of thousands of gallons of oil from a submarine cable into Long Island Sound. A state public power utility company sought to recover costs for containing and remediating the discharge pursuant to...

Definitions, §1001

Environment Texas Citizen Lobby, Inc. v. ExxonMobil Corp.

ELR 20180
17-20545 (5th Cir., July 2020)

The Fifth Circuit vacated and remanded a lower court decision that imposed penalties against an oil company for alleged CAA permit violations at its industrial complex in Baytown, Texas. Environmental groups filed a CAA citizen suit against the company, alleging violations that occurred...

Operating permits,§§501-507

New Jersey v. Wheeler

ELR 20179
20-cv-1425 (JGK) (S.D.N.Y., July 2020)

A district court granted states' motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit concerning EPA's duty to limit air pollution drifting from upwind states into northeastern states. Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York argued that EPA failed to fulfill a nondiscretionary duty...

Federal implementation plans (FIPs), §110(c)(1)

Meritor, Inc. v. Environmental Protection Agency

ELR 20181
18-1325 (D.C. Cir., July 2020)

The D.C. Circuit upheld EPA's 2018 decision to add a wheel-covering facility in Mississippi to the NPL. The company that assumed environmental liabilities for the facility argued that EPA improperly applied the hazard ranking system regulations to the site by failing to account for the company's...

Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)