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United States v. Northshore Mining Co.

ELR Citation: 39 ELR 20185
Nos. Nos. 08-1423, -1533, (8th Cir., 08/17/2009)

The Eighth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision holding moot certain parts of a 1975 injunction regulating air emissions from a mining company's taconite pellet operation in Silver Bay, Minnesota. The lower court held that since portions of the injunction had been effectively incorporated into state administrative law, those portions of the injunction no longer had any force or effect. It therefore vacated the air-emissions provisions from the injunction sua sponte. The state appealed, but it failed to show how the lower court abused its discretion by vacating the air-emissions provisions, particularly since the state's air permitting regulations and the injunction contain identical language. Similarly, the state failed to show that the mining company is likely to repeat its violation in the absence of the injunction. The court also dismissed the mining company's appeal and the federal government's cross-appeal since they were not aggrieved parties. The order granted the mining company all of the relief that it sought, and the federal government's interests were not affected since its interests in the injunction extended only to water-emissions provisions, not air emissions provisions.