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Weekly Cases Update Volume 50, Issue 25

WildEarth Guardians v. Bernhardt

ELR 20195
1:19-cv-00505-RB-SCY (D.N.M., August 2020)

A district court granted in part and denied in part a motion to vacate BLM's approval of three leases for oil and gas development in southeastern New Mexico. An environmental group argued that BLM violated NEPA by failing to consider cumulative climate effects, failing to incorporate the social...

Held not required for

Northwest Environmental Defense Center v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

ELR 20197
3:18-cv-00437-HZ (D. Or., August 2020)

A district court granted summary judgment for conservation groups in a lawsuit alleging that the Army Corps of Engineers' continued operation and maintenance of a flood control project in the Pacific Northwest violated the ESA. The groups argued the Corps was violating §7(a)(2) by operating and...

Jeopardize species/habitat

POET Biorefining, LLC v. Environmental Protection Agency

ELR 20192
19-1139 (D.C. Cir., August 2020)

The D.C. Circuit denied in part and dismissed in part a petition to review EPA's guidance concerning the process of certifying cellulosic biofuel. A biofuel company argued the guidance was a legislative rule that was invalidly promulgated without notice and comment, conflicted with the...

Clean Air Act (CAA)

Avandgrid Networks, Inc. v. Secretary of State

ELR 20198
Cum-20-181 (Maine, August 2020)

The Maine Supreme Court held unconstitutional a state ballot initiative that proposed to reverse a Maine Public Utilities Commission order granting a certificate of public convenience and necessity for a 145-mile transmission line in New England. A power company argued the initiative violated...

Energy (generally)

Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. U.S. Department of the Interior

ELR 20190
18-CV-4596 (VEC), 18-CV-4601 (VEC), and 18-CV-8084 (VEC) (S.D.N.Y., August 2020)

A district court vacated DOI's 2017 policy allowing incidental takings and killings of migratory birds. Environmental groups and states challenged the policy, arguing that it violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) by interpreting the Act as only prohibiting takes or kills resulting from...

Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)

Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. United States Forest Service

ELR 20191
1:19-CV-445-BLW (D. Idaho, August 2020)

A district court granted summary judgment for environmental groups in a challenge to the Forest Service's approval of a site-specific project involving restoration activities in Payette National Forest. The groups initially argued that the project violated the National Forest Management Act (...

Environmental impact statement (EIS), National Forest Management Act (NFMA)

Driftless Area Land Conservancy v. Huebsch

ELR 20189
20-1350 (7th Cir., August 2020)

The Seventh Circuit reversed the denial of transmission companies' motion to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the Wisconsin Public Service Commission's approval of a $500 million electricity transmission line in southwestern Wisconsin. Environmental groups challenged the approval on...

Intervention

Howard County v. Federal Aviation Administration

ELR 20194
18-2360 (4th Cir., August 2020)

The Fourth Circuit dismissed a petition to vacate or set aside the FAA's modification to a series of flight routes that caused residents of historic areas of a county in Maryland to endure "insufferable levels of noise." The county argued that the FAA failed to comply with environmental statutes...

Courts

Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Burman

ELR 20188
CV 20-22-GF-KLD (D. Mont., August 2020)

A district court denied a motion to dismiss or stay a challenge to the Bureau of Reclamation's alleged ongoing, unpermitted take of bull trout near Glacier National Park. An environmental group argued the Bureau's water control and delivery structures that were part of its irrigation project...

Incidental taking

Schmucker v. Johnson Controls, Inc.

ELR 20196
3:14-cv-1593JD (N.D. Ind., August 2020)

A district court denied injunctive relief to residents in a lawsuit concerning soil and groundwater contamination at and adjacent to a manufacturing facility in Goshen, Indiana. Residents living adjacent to the facility brought a citizen suit under RCRA, arguing that the contamination might...

Imminent and substantial endangerment, §7002(a)(1)(B)