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Weekly Cases Update Volume 50, Issue 8

United States v. California

50 ELR 20059
2:19-cv-02142 WBS EFB (E.D. Cal., March 2020)

A district court denied summary judgment to the U.S. government in a lawsuit concerning California's cap-and-trade agreement with Quebec. The government argued the agreement violated the Treaty Clause of the U.S. Constitution because it was binding and "confederat[ed] the laws of the two...

Constitutional Law

Minnesota Sands, LLC v. Winona, Minnesota, County of

50 ELR 20056
A18-0090 (Minn., March 2020)

Minnesota's high court upheld an appellate court ruling in favor of a county's zoning ordinance that bans all industrial-mineral mining, including silica-sand mining. A silica-sand mining company argued the ordinance violated the dormant Commerce Clause by discriminating against its business....

Commerce Clause

Southeast Alaska Conservation Council v. United States Forest Service

50 ELR 20057
1:19-cv-00006-SLG (D. Alaska, March 2020)

A district court held that the Forest Service violated NEPA, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), and the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) when it authorized timber harvesting in the Tongass National Forest. Environmental groups argued the EIS, which included a...

Discussion of, held inadequate

Maryland v. Federal Aviation Administration

50 ELR 20058
18-1173 (D.C. Cir., March 2020)

The D.C. Circuit dismissed as untimely Maryland's petition to review the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) approval of new flight paths to Washington National Airport. The state argued the new flight paths, which concentrated aircraft noise over its public lands, should be vacated...

Courts

Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC v. Nelson Co. Board of Supervisors

50 ELR 20054
3:18-cv-00115 (W.D. Va., March 2020)

A district court granted a pipeline company's motion for partial summary judgment in a lawsuit concerning a Virginia county board's denial of the company's request to traverse floodplains to construct an interstate natural gas pipeline. The company argued that it was not obligated to comply with...

Preemption

350 Montana v. Bernhardt

50 ELR 20055
CV 19-12-M-DWM (D. Mont., March 2020)

A district court vacated an EA prepared by OSM for a coal mine expansion in south-central Montana. Environmental groups argued that OSM violated NEPA by failing to adequately consider the risk of train derailments from the increased rail traffic that would result. The court found that OSM should...

Discussion of, held inadequate

Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. BP P.L.C.

50 ELR 20051
19-1644 (4th Cir., March 2020)

The Fourth Circuit upheld a district court order that remanded to state court the city of Baltimore's climate change case against oil companies. The city alleged it sustained climate change-related injuries, including an increase in sea levels, storms, floods, heatwaves, droughts, and extreme...

Removal jurisdiction

Back Bay Restoration Foundation, LTD v. United States Army Corps. of Engineers

50 ELR 20052
2:19-cv-323 (E.D. Va., March 2020)

A district court denied summary judgment to an environmental group challenging the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers' issuance of a CWA §404 permit for development of an additional portion of an existing residential subdivision in Virginia Beach. The group argued the issuance was arbitrary and...

Permit issuance

Friends of Cedar Mesa v. U.S. Dep't of the Interior

50 ELR 20049
4:19-cv-00013-DN-PK (D. Utah, March 2020)

A district court dismissed a lawsuit concerning BLM's March and December 2018 oil and gas lease sales in southeastern Utah. Environmental groups argued the sales were arbitrary and capricious because BLM failed to conduct proper environmental and historical analyses and failed to provide...

Natural Resources (generally)

High Country Conservation Advocates v. United States Forest Service

50 ELR 20053
18-1374 (10th Cir., March 2020)

The Tenth Circuit held that the Forest Service's decision to eliminate an alternative from its study of an exception to the Colorado Roadless Rule that allowed coal mining on previously protected national forest land near the North Fork of the Gunnison River was arbitrary and capricious....

Alternatives