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Weekly Cases Update Volume 50, Issue 3

Briggs v. Southwestern Energy Production Co.

50 ELR 20027
63 MAP 2018 (Pa., January 2020)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated a lower court ruling that found an energy developer trespassed on neighboring landowners' property by extracting natural gas from their property by way of hydraulic fracturing without permission. The developer argued that the extraction did not amount to...

Hydraulic Fracturing

Louisiana v. United States

50 ELR 20026
19-30213 (5th Cir., January 2020)

The Fifth Circuit held that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had not waived its sovereign immunity from Louisiana's lawsuit alleging that the Corps failed to maintain the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway within authorized parameters under the River and Harbor Improvements Act (RHIA). Louisiana argued...

Sovereign immunity

WildEarth Guardians v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

50 ELR 20023
18-2153 (10th Cir., January 2020)

The Tenth Circuit held that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was not required to consult with FWS about alternative water management policies in the Rio Grande River that would help protect the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher and the Rio Grande silvery minnow. An environmental group...

FWS

Juliana v. United States

50 ELR 20025
18-36082 (9th Cir., January 2020)

The Ninth Circuit reversed a district court ruling that a group of youths had standing to sue the U.S. government for allegedly failing to act on climate change and violating their right to a safe climate. The youths argued that the government violated their constitutional rights under the Fifth...

Climate Change (generally)

Ass'n of Washington Business v. Washington State Department of Ecology

50 ELR 20021
95885-8 (Wash., January 2020)

The Washington Supreme Court invalidated a rule promulgated by the state's Department of Ecology authorizing regulation via emission standards of businesses that do not directly emit greenhouse gases (GHGs), but whose products do. Industry groups and utility companies argued the Department...

Air (generally)

Giovanni v. United States Department of the Navy

50 ELR 20024
16-04873 and 17-00765 (E.D. Pa., January 2020)

A district court granted the U.S. Navy's motion to dismiss a lawsuit concerning the release of perfluorochemicals from naval facilities in eastern Pennsylvania. Families in neighborhoods near the facilities argued that the Navy improperly disposed of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and...

Toxic Substances (generally)

General Land Office of Texas v. United States Department of the Interior

50 ELR 20020
19-50178 (5th Cir., January 2020)

The Fifth Circuit vacated FWS' 2016 decision denying a petition to delist the golden-cheeked warbler, which was listed as an endangered species under the ESA in 1990. Texas' General Land Office argued that the decision violated NEPA because the Service failed to prepare an EIS. The court found...

Determination of endangered and threatened species, §4

In re NorthMet Project Permit to Mine Application Dated December 2017

50 ELR 20028
A18-1952, A18-1953, A18-1958, A18-1959, A18-1960, and A18-1961 (Minn. Ct. App., January 2020)

A state appellate court reversed the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' decisions to deny petitions for a contested-case hearing and issue mine and dam safety permits for a proposed copper-nickel-platinum mine in northeastern Minnesota. Environmental groups petitioned the Department for...

Mining

American Anti-Vivisection Society v. United States Department of Agriculture

50 ELR 20022
19-5015 (D.C. Cir., January 2020)

The D.C. Circuit held that USDA's failure to issue animal welfare standards to protect birds pursuant to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violated the APA. Animal rights groups argued that USDA's longstanding failure to promulgate standards for birds was arbitrary and capricious, and sought to...

Agriculture

Advisory Opinion to the Attorney General re Right to Competitive Energy Market For Customers of Investor-Owned Utilities; Allowing Energy Choice

50 ELR 20029
SC19-328 (Fla., January 2020)

In an advisory opinion to Florida's attorney general, the Florida high court concluded that a proposed initiative to amend the Florida Constitution to restructure the state's electricity markets should not be placed on the ballot. The attorney general argued that the initiative's title and...

Public participation