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Weekly Cases Update Volume 50, Issue 9

Wildgrass Oil and Gas Committee v. Colorado

50 ELR 20066
19-cv-00190-RBJ (D. Colo., March 2020)

A district court dismissed constitutional challenges to Colorado's forced pooling statute, under which property owners were required to allow oil and gas companies to extract their minerals. A group of property owners argued the statute violated the First Amendment by requiring non-consenting...

Constitutionality

Voyageur Outward Bound School v. United States

50 ELR 20064
1:18-cv-01463 (TNM), 1:18-cv-01496 (TNM), and 1:18-cv-01499 (TNM) (D.D.C., March 2020)

A district court upheld DOI's renewal of two mineral leases that had previously been rejected for a copper-nickel mine in Superior National Forest. Businesses and environmental groups argued that DOI's authority to reconsider its decision to renew was limited to ministerial or inadvertent errors...

Mining

New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau v. United States Department of Interior

50 ELR 20062
17-2211 (10th Cir., March 2020)

The Tenth Circuit reversed and remanded a district court ruling upholding FWS' designation of critical habitat for the endangered jaguar. Ranching groups challenged the designation because it did not comport with the ESA's requirement that such areas be "essential for the conservation of the...

Critical habitat designation

Union Pacific Railroad Co. v. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

50 ELR 20065
19-1075 (D.C. Cir., March 2020)

The D.C. Circuit denied a petition to review the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s rule regulating disclosure requirements for railroad companies transporting hazardous materials. A company argued that the rule, which required railroads to release an aggregated report to...

Infrastructure

Environmental Law & Policy Center v. United States Coast Guard

50 ELR 20063
18-12626 (E.D. Mich., March 2020)

A district court denied summary judgment to environmental groups in a challenge to the U.S. Coast Guard's approval of a contingency plan for a Michigan oil pipeline. The groups argued that the plan failed to respond to a worst-case discharge, as required by the OPA, by failing to consider the...

Oil Pollution Act (OPA)

Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Forest Service

50 ELR 20061
2:17-cv-372 (S.D. Ohio, March 2020)

A district court granted in part and denied in part a motion for summary judgment in a challenge to the Forest Service's and BLM's authorizations of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Wayne National Forest. Environmental groups argued the agencies violated NEPA by failing to take a "hard look...

Environmental impact statement (EIS)

Chesapeake Climate Action Network v. Environmental Protection Agency

50 ELR 20060
15-1015 (D.C. Cir., March 2020)

The D.C. Circuit granted a petition to reconsider EPA's Final Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) Rule that exempted coal- and oil-burning power plant boilers' startup periods from numerical limits on hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). Environmental groups challenged the Agency's denial of...

Rulemaking