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Natural Resources

Elkay Mining Co. v. Smith

The Fourth Circuit denied a coal company's petition to review an ALJ decision that found that a widow was entitled to survivorship benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act. The coal miner in question worked in coal mines for 34 years...

Sierra Club v. U.S. Department of Energy

The D.C. Circuit denied a environmental group's petition to review a FERC decision allowing the transport of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Freeport Terminal in Texas. In 2011, an energy company requested permission for daily...

Montana Environmental Information Center v. U.S. Office of Surface Mining

A district court halted the expansion of a Montana coal mine approved by the Surface Mining Enforcement Office for violations of NEPA. In 2008, a coal company requested approval of a mine expansion in the Bull Mountains to extract coal...

Farrell-Cooper Mining Co. v. DOI

The Tenth Circuit held that a coal mining company was entitled to judicial review of a DOI decision after a lower court dismissed the suit. In 2013, the company was cited by DOI for a violation of SMCRA. In 2015, the mining company...

Caring for the Orphans: Approaches for Mitigating Fugitive Methane Emissions From Orphaned Oil and Gas Wells

Recent scientific research indicates fugitive methane emissions from abandoned oil and gas wells may contribute more to climate change than methane leakage from oil and gas production. Yet current orphaned well regulations fail to...

A Disaster by Any Other Name: Improving Assistance to States and Individuals During Long-Term Disasters

Disasters and emergencies come in all shapes and sizes. Some are man-made while others are a result of natural events. The federal government has a system in place under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance...

Blankenship v. Consolidated Coal Co.

The Fourth Circuit upheld a lower court ruling that a coal company isn't liable for claims by property owners over water disposed of in a mine beneath their property because Virginia's statute of limitations prohibited the suit. The...

Planning for the Effects of Climate Change on Natural Resources

Climate change has important implications for the management and conservation of natural resources and public lands. The federal agencies responsible for managing these resources have generally recognized that considerations pertaining...

DOJ/ENRD Symposium on The Future of Environmental Law

On November 4, 2016, DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division convened an extraordinary group of legal scholars and practitioners to discuss “The Future of Environmental Law.” Speaking before the presidential election but...

Virginia Uranium, Inc. v. Warren

The Fourth Circuit affirmed a district court ruling that upheld a Virginia uranium mining ban on non-federal lands. In the early 1980s, a uranium deposit was discovered in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, on land owned by a mineral...

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