Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Black Mesa Water Coalition v. Jewell (DOI)

<> Black Mesa Water Coalition v. Jewell (DOI) – 1/26/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 12-16980. Plaintiffs sought costs and expenses, including attorney's and expert witness fees, from the Federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) after Black Mesa participated in a successful challenge to OSM's grant of a coal mining permit revision.
     The Appeals Court ruled: "We reverse in part, vacate in part, and remand to the district court with instructions to remand to the agency for further proceedings on the question of 'entitlement.'"

Sierra Club v. ICG Hazard, LLC

<> Sierra Club v. ICG Hazard, LLC – 1/27/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, Case No. 13-5086. Appealed from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky at London. Split decision.
     ICG Hazard, LLC, operating under a general permit, conducted surface coal mining in Kentucky and discharged selenium into surrounding water. Although the permit did not specify effluent limitations for selenium, the discharge resulted in levels exceeding the threshold in the state's water quality standard. The district court, finding that the permit shield protected ICG from liability, granted summary judgment in ICG's favor. Through our analysis of the permit shield's application in the context of a general permit, we also conclude that the permit shield covers ICG's discharges in this case. We therefore affirm.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Visteon Corporation v. National Union Fire Insurance

<> Visteon Corporation v. National Union Fire Insurance - 1/23/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, Case No. 14-2725. Visteon, a large manufacturer of automotive parts, with manufacturing facilities scattered around the world but its headquarters in Michigan, brought this diversity suit for breach of contract against the National Union insurance company. 
     The Appeals Court rules: "We note finally that the pollution-exclusion clause is unambiguous, and therefore National Union had no duty to defend Visteon against the suits brought against it by neighboring landowners who experienced losses because of the leak of TCE from Visteon's Connersville plant. Visteon has failed to make a case. The judgment in favor of National Union is therefore affirmed.

Friday, January 16, 2015

LWD PRP Group v. Alcan Corp.

<> LWD PRP Group v. Alcan Corp. - 1/14/15. Unpublished opinion. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, Case No. 14-5730. Appealed from the Western District of Kentucky at Paducah.
     The case deals with a party's effort to obtain reimbursement for the costs of cleaning up a Superfund site in Calvert City, Kentucky. The appeal presents a particular legal question: whether the three year statute of limitations for contribution
actions after an administrative settlement to perform a removal action. . . begins running when the settlement becomes effective or begins running when the removal action is completed.
     The district court agreed with Plaintiff-Appellee that the statute of limitations for such claims runs from the completion of the removal action. The Appeals Court reversed the decision indicating the 3-year time limit begins running when the settlement becomes effective.

Monday, January 12, 2015

In Re: Deepwater Horizon

<> In Re: Deepwater Horizon - 1/9/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, Case No. 12-30883. A Petition for Rehearing was denied in a narrow 7-6 En Banc consideration. The dissenting judges indicated, "The denial of the petition for rehearing en banc ensures that our precedent concerning liability for oil spills under the Clean Water Act remains unclear.

State Water Contractors, et al., Petitioners v. Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior

<> Supreme Court Allows Scientifically Sound Protections for California's Bay-Delta Estuary to Stand - (January 12, 2015) – The Supreme Court today let stand a federal plan to protect California's vital Delta ecosystem. The Court refused to hear an appeal brought by agribusinesses trying to undermine protections.

Monday, January 5, 2015

San Luis & Delta-Medota Water v. Pacific Coast Federation

<> San Luis & Delta-Medota Water v. Pacific Coast Federation - 12/22/14. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 12-15144, consolidated with several others. The panel affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court's summary judgment and remanded for entry of summary judgment in favor of defendants, federal agencies and intervenor-environmental groups, in an action pertaining to a formal Biological Opinion developed by the Commerce Department's National Marine Fisheries Service pursuant to the Endangered Species Act regarding the impact of continuing water extraction in the California Central Valley on certain threatened and endangered Salmonid species.