Wednesday, March 25, 2015

St. Marys Cement Inc. v. EPA

<> St. Marys Cement Inc. v. EPA - 3/24/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, Case Nos. 13-3105 & 14-3479. MDEQ deemed the plant's pollution controls sufficient and excused St. Marys from the CAA retrofitting requirement. U.S. EPA disagreed and required the plant to add more stringent pollution controls. St. Marys petitions the court to vacate the decision, disclaiming the value of the required technology and claiming that the plant at any rate is exempt from the retrofitting requirement. The Appeals Court disagreed on both fronts and denied St. Marys' petition.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Black Warrior Riverkeeper, Inc. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

<> Black Warrior Riverkeeper, Inc. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - 3/23/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, Case No. 14-12357. Riverkeeper challenges the 2012 version of Nationwide Permit 21 ("NWP 21"), a general permit that allows surface coal mining operations to discharge dredged or fill materials into navigable waters.
     The district court first determined that Riverkeeper has standing to sue affirming the district court's decision on that point. The district court also held that Riverkeeper's lawsuit was, nonetheless, barred by the equitable doctrine of laches; however, the Appeals Court concluded that the Intervenors had shown neither inexcusable delay on the part of Riverkeeper nor prejudice resulting from Riverkeeper's alleged delay. . . "We, therefore, hold that the district court abused its considerable discretion in barring Riverkeeper's suit."
     On the merits, and based on significant change in the facts, supplemental briefs were filed and the Corps then conceded that the district court's decision must be reversed and the matter remanded to the Corps for further consideration based on a more accurate assessment of the potential impacts of NWP 21, to which the Appeals Court agreed.

Kent Recycling Services, LLC v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

<> Kent Recycling Services, LLC v. United States Army Corps of Engineers - 3/23/15. In the U.S. Supreme Court, Docket No. 14-493, Appealed from the Fifth Circuit. The petition for hearing was denied in the case involving issues:
     (1) Whether a jurisdictional determination, that is conclusive as to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, and binding on all parties, is subject to judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act; and (2) whether a due process claim against an agency action is subject to the finality requirement of the Administrative Procedure Act.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Consolidation Coal Company v. Georgia Power Company

<> Consolidation Coal Company v. Georgia Power Company - 3/20/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, Case No. 13-1603 & 13-1664. Consolidated Coal Company and PCS Phosphate Company, Inc. filed a CERCA complaint against Georgia Power, to recover cost contending that, as supplier of some of the PCB transformers, it should be liable for a contribution to those costs. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Georgia Power and the Appeals Court affirmed the judgment of the district court.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sierra Club v. EPA

<> Sierra Club v. EPA - 3/18/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, Case Nos. 12-3169, 12-3182 & 3420.
     Sierra Club challenged EPA's particulate matter attainment status and redesignation of the Cincinnati-Hamilton metropolitan area to "attainment" status and said the agency had acted illegally with respect to both actions, and it filed a petition for direct appellate review. The parties dispute both Sierra Club's standing to challenge the agency action and the correct interpretation of the relevant statute, the Clean Air Act.
     In a significant decision, the Appeals Court rules, "We find that the Club has standing, and we agree with its claim that "reasonably available control measures" are a prerequisite to redesignation. Therefore, we vacate EPA's redesignation of the Ohio and Indiana portions of the Cincinnati area."

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

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Alfonso Rodriguez v. Secretary of Department of Environment

<> Alfonso Rodriguez v. Secretary of Department of Environment - 3/16/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, Case No. 14-3467 (not precedential). Dr. Rodriguez challenges § 3222.1 of Act 13, which provides two mechanisms for health professionals to learn proprietary information about the chemicals used in fracking. The District Court dismissed the case for lack of standing, and the Appeals Court affirmed.