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Weekly Cases Update Volume 50, Issue 30

Northern New Mexico Stockman's Ass'n v. United States Fish & Wildlife Service

50 ELR 20233
CIV 18-1138 JB\JFR (D.N.M., October 2020)

A district court dismissed a challenge to FWS' designation of critical habitat for the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse. Southwestern ranchers argued that the Service underestimated the designation's economic impacts by not considering costs beyond the designation itself, in violation of the ESA...

Critical habitat designation

North American Butterfly Ass'n v. Wolf

50 ELR 20232
19-5052 (D.C. Cir., October 2020)

The D.C. Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part a lower court's dismissal of a conservation group's suit to block the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from constructing a border wall near the National Butterfly Center in southern Texas. The group argued that the Department's presence...

Due Process Clause

Sierra Club v. Trump

50 ELR 20234
19-17501 (9th Cir., October 2020)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed, 2-1, a ruling in a lawsuit concerning the Trump Administration's use of military construction funds to build portions of a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. States and an environmental group challenged the Administration's authority to divert funds...


Wyoming v. United States Department of the Interior

50 ELR 20231
2:16-CV-0285-SWS and 2:16-CV-0280-SWS (D. Wyo., October 2020)

A district court struck down BLM's 2016 rule promulgating new regulations to reduce natural gas waste during oil and gas production activities on federal land and Indian leases. States argued that the rule exceeded BLM's statutory authority and was otherwise arbitrary and capricious. The court...

Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 (MLA)

Okanogan Highlands Alliance v. Crown Resources Corp.

50 ELR 20229
2:20-CV-147-RMP (E.D. Wash., October 2020)

A district court denied mine owners' motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging they were in violation of their NPDES permit. A conservation group and the state of Washington argued that the owners had violated the terms of their permit by discharging pollutants in excess of average monthly effluent...


Federal Trade Commission v. Peabody Energy Corp.

50 ELR 20237
4:20-cv-00317-SEP (E.D. Mo., October 2020)

A district court granted the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC's) motion to preliminarily enjoin a proposed joint venture between the United States' two largest coal producers. The Commission challenged the joint venture on antitrust grounds, arguing that it violated §7 of the Clayton Act and §5...


San Francisco Baykeeper v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

50 ELR 20228
C 19-05941 WHA (N.D. Cal., October 2020)

A district court vacated EPA's 2019 determination that found no jurisdictional waters under the CWA at a salt production complex bordering the southwestern San Francisco Bay. The Agency argued that the CWA did not apply to the complex because it was converted to salt ponds prior to the Act's...

Clean Water Act (CWA)

United States v. Sterling Centrecorp Inc.

50 ELR 20235
18-15585 (9th Cir., October 2020)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling in a lawsuit concerning the U.S. government's and California's recovery of cleanup costs from a hazardous waste spill in the Sierra Nevada foothills that released toxic amounts of arsenic into local groundwater. Plaintiffs sued the company that had...

Liability, §107

Optimus Steel, LLC v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

50 ELR 20236
1:20-CV-00374 (E.D. Tex., October 2020)

A district court denied a steel mill owner's motion to preliminarily enjoin construction of a gas pipeline in Texas. The owner argued that the Army Corps of Engineers authorized the construction in violation of the CWA, the ESA, and NEPA. The court found that the owner had not clearly...

Natural Resources (generally)

Oceana, Inc. v. Ross

50 ELR 20230
08-1881 (PLF) (D.D.C., October 2020)

A district court remanded to NMFS for a third time in a decades-long lawsuit concerning the Service's incidental take statement (ITS) assessing the impact of dredge fishing on loggerhead sea turtles in the Atlantic. A conservation group argued that the Service's revised ITS responding to the...

Incidental taking