Tuesday, December 22, 2015

WIMS Daily Environmental HotSheet 12/18/15

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We are currently on our holiday break, but will resume publication on January 4, 2016. When we return we will be publishing and distributing our WIMS Daily Environmental HotSheet National Edition at no charge. If you would like to begin receiving this daily environmental briefing report starting January 4, 2016 (click here).

WIMS Daily Environmental HotSheet

Friday, December 18, 2015

National / International News

<> Energy Department Announces Largest Energy Efficiency Standard in History - The U.S. Department of Energy announced historic new efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners and furnaces -- developed with industry, utilities, and environmental groups, these standards will save more energy than any other standard issued by the Department to date -- over the lifetime of the products, businesses will save $167 billion on their utility bills and carbon pollution will be reduced by 885 million metric tons.

<> Senator Boxer's Statement on Passage of TSCA Legislation in the Senate - The U.S. Senate tonight overwhelmingly passed S.697, the "Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act" as an amendment to the House Passed H.R.2576 -- Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, issued a statement following passage of legislation to reform the nation's toxic chemicals law -- "I am pleased to move forward with the Senate language on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which has been a difficult, multi-year odyssey. . ."

<> On Heels of EPA 'Covert Propaganda' Bust on WOTUS Rule, E&C Leaders Concerned with Similar Shenanigans on Climate Rules - House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY)  sent a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy seeking information regarding the use of social media platforms by EPA to promote the agency's climate rules. 

<> NOAA Releases Climate Documents to House Science Committee - Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration handed over about 100 documents relating to climate science research this week in response to a subpoena from the House Science Committee.

<> NRC Seeks Public Comment on Draft Guidance for Subsequent Renewal of Nuclear Power Plant Operating Licenses - The Nuclear Regulatory Commission seeks public comment on two draft documents designed to guide the agency's staff in reviewing applications to extend operations of commercial nuclear power plants beyond 60 years -- publication of a Federal Register notice, expected Dec. 22. with comments accepted through Feb. 29, 2016.

<> USGS Estimates 53 Trillion Cubic Feet of Gas Resources in Barnett Shale - The Barnett Shale contains estimated mean volumes of 53 trillion cubic feet of shale natural gas, 172 million barrels of shale oil and 176 million barrels of natural gas liquids, according to an updated assessment.

<> U.S. Reliance on Nonfuel Mineral Imports Increasing - Key nonfuel mineral commodities that support the U.S. economy and national security are increasingly being sourced from outside the U.S., according to a new U.S. Geological Survey publication.

<> November 2015 Global Climate Report - The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for November 2015 was highest on record for the month since record keeping began in 1880.

<> Report: Boosting Energy Efficiency In Chicago'S Large Buildings Could Save Up To $184 Million Annually, Create Up To 2,000 Jobs - The City of Chicago yesterday released the results of its second annual assessment of energy use in large commercial, institutional, and residential buildings throughout the city.

<> Here's How To Get Investors To Save The Planet - World leaders should tax carbon emissions if they want institutional investors to commit their assets toward clean energy projects, according to a top environmental adviser to U.S. money managers.

<> Scientists can measure drinking water age using atomic bomb fallout - A university research team has discovered a way to measure the age of treated drinking water by testing for residual radioactive fallout from atomic bomb testing.

<> During the Break it's a good time to check out WIMS 24/7 News Blogs:

Federal Register Highlights 

The following is an alert of Environmental Federal Register announcements that may be of interest.  (Click here to access today's complete Federal Register index with links to complete announcements).

<> Nothing We're Tracking Today (click for the complete Energy & EPA announcements)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday Break

Subscribers Note: WIMS will be on Christmas – New Year break for the next two weeks. We will resume publication on Monday, January 4, 2016.


Have a safe & happy holiday season.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

White Stallion Energy Center, LLC v. U.S. EPA

<> White Stallion Energy Center, LLC v. U.S. EPA - 12/15/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, Case No. 12-1100, consolidated with many others. ORDERED that the proceeding be remanded to EPA without vacatur of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards final rule.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Appeals court leaves EPA mercury pollution rule in effect

<> Appeals court leaves EPA mercury pollution rule in effect - An appeals court has agreed to leave intact the federal MACT rule targeting mercury pollution while government officials decide how to account for its costs -- The ruling today (Dec 15) is a win for the Obama administration, which is working to quickly fix legal problems with the rule and reissue it by April 15.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Sixth Circuit Hears Oral Arguments on Water Rule

<> Sixth Circuit Hears Oral Arguments on Water Rule – 12/8/15.Predicting that judicial authority over a rule seeking to refine the reach of the Clean Water Act will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit heard oral arguments Dec. 8 on whether it is the appropriate venue to hear challenges to the rule.

United States v. Dico, Inc.

<> United States  v.  Dico, Inc. - 12/10/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, Case No: 14-2762. The case involved Dico, Inc. owning several buildings in Des Moines, Iowa, that were under an EPA order regulating their use because of hazardous substance contamination -- Polychlorinated Biphenyls were later found. 
     In a partially split decision the Panel said, "We reverse the district court's summary judgment order with respect to "arranger" liability under CERCLA and punitive damages but affirm the summary judgment order as to the EPA order violation and civil penalties."
     The dissenting justice said, "I disagree that the district court erred in granting summary judgment on the question of arranger liability, and therefore with this court's decision to reverse the district court's award of punitive damages on that basis."

Pesticide Action Network v. U.S. EPA

<> Pesticide Action Network v. U.S. EPA - 12/10/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 14-72794. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is directed to take final action by December 30, 2016 on its proposed revocation rule and its final response to Pesticide Action Network North America and Natural Resources Defense Council's 2007 petition; with an interim status report filed with the Court no later than June 30, 2016 -- all relating to pesticide chlorpyrifos, which petitioners claim is harmful to human health.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Energy and Environment Legal Institute, et al., Petitioners v. Joshua Epel, et al.

<> Energy and Environment Legal Institute, et al., Petitioners v. Joshua Epel, et al. - 12/7/15. In the U.S. Supreme Court, Docket No. 15-471. Appealed from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Petition for a writ of certiorari denied. Important case challenging the constitutionality of Colorado's renewable energy law mandating 20% renewable and increasing over time. 
     The Tenth Circuit noted in its decision: "Because electricity can go anywhere on the grid and come from anywhere on the grid, and because Colorado is a net importer of electricity, Colorado's renewable energy mandate effectively means some out-of-state coal producers, like an EELI member, will lose business with out-of-state utilities who feed their power onto the grid. And this harm to out-of-state coal producers, EELI says, amounts to a violation of one of the three branches of dormant commerce clause jurisprudence."
     The district court disagreed with EELI's assessment and the Appeals Court affirmed.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Cascadia Wildlands v. Thrailkill

<> Cascadia Wildlands v. Thrailkill - 12/3/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 14-35819. The panel affirmed the district court's order denying plaintiff environmental groups' motion for a preliminary injunction that sought to enjoin the Douglas Fire Complex RecoveryProject in the southern Oregon Klamath Mountains, and challenging the biological opinion issued by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Siemens Energy, Inc. v. U.S.

<> Siemens Energy, Inc.  v. U.S. - 11/25/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, Case No. 2014-1725. Siemens Energy, Inc., an importer of utility scale wind towers, appeals the decision of the Court of International Trade, which upheld the International Trade Commission's (ITC or Commission) final affirmative injury determination in the antidumping and countervailing duty investigations of utility scale wind towers from the People's Republic of China and in the antidumping duty investigation of utility scale wind towers from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (together, the subject merchandise). The Appeals Court affirmed the decision of the Court of International Trade.

Cahaba Riverkeeper, et al v. U.S. EPA

<> Cahaba Riverkeeper, et al v. U.S. EPA - 11/30/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, Case No. 14-13508. The Appeals Court dismissed an appeal filed by Cahaba Riverkeeper, et al against the U.S. EPA for allowing the state to continue administering NPDES program -- saying it lacks jurisdiction because there has been no final determination.

Monday, November 30, 2015


<> NRDC v. EPA - 11/24/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case Nos. 14-73353 & 14-73359. EPA's motion for voluntary vacatur and remand. EPA seeks a voluntary remand in order to reconsider the Enlist Duo registration in light of the new information saying it seeks vacatur of the registration because it cannot be sure, without a full analysis of the new information, that the current registration does not cause unreasonable effects to the environment, which is a requirement of the registration standard under FIFRA.

Monday, November 9, 2015

ALLCO v. Klee

<> ALLCO v. Klee - 11/6/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, Case No. 15-20. Affirming the district court's ruling on alternative grounds which dismissed the plaintiff's complaint. 

     The Appeals Court ruled: "We hold that: (1) the plaintiff cannot bring claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988 to vindicate any rights conferred by the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act ("PURPA") because PURPA's private right of action forecloses such a remedy; (2) the plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies, a prerequisite to bringing an equitable action seeking to vindicate any rights conferred by PURPA; and (3) the plaintiff lacks standing to bring a preemption action seeking solely to void the contracts awarded to the intervenors."

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Treasure State Resource v. EPA

<> Treasure State Resource v. EPA - 11/3/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, Case No. 13-1263, consolidated with 13-1264, 14-1093, 14-1164. Each of the two petitioners now before us, Treasure State Resource Industry Association and United States Steel Corporation, challenges one of these 29 designations (not meeting its new SO2 standards): the Association attacks the one for part of Yellowstone County, Montana, and U.S. Steel challenges the one for part of Wayne County, Michigan. Each sought reconsideration by EPA, unsuccessfully.
     The Appeals Court rules, "We deny the petitions for review. Except insofar as both are attacks on EPA's August 2013 designations with respect to the 2010 SO2 NAAQS, the two claims have virtually nothing in common. . ."

Kathy Little v. Louisville Gas & Electric Co.

<> Kathy Little v. Louisville Gas & Electric Co. - 11/2/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, Case No. 14-6499. This case involves the operation of the Cane Run power plant in southwestern Louisville, owned and operated by Louisville Gas and Electric Company. Plaintiffs allege that the ash, dust, and coal combustion by-products are not only annoying, but also, they are composed of dangerous elements, including arsenic, silica, lead, and chromium. The Appeals Court ruled, "The district court's order denying defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiffs' state common law claims is affirmed. We lack jurisdiction to consider the other, unrelated orders challenged by the plaintiffs in their brief on this interlocutory appeal."

Merrick, et al. v. Diageo Americas Supply

<> Merrick, et al. v. Diageo Americas Supply - 11/2/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, Case No. 14-6198. This interlocutory appeal concerns whether the federal Clean Air Act preempts common law claims brought against an emitter based on the law of the state in which the emitter operates. The Appeals Court ruled, "The Clean Air Act's text makes clear that the Act does not preempt such claims. This conclusion is further supported by the Act's structure and history, together with relevant Supreme Court precedents."

California Dump Truck Owners Association V. Mary Nichols

<> California Dump Truck Owners Association V. Mary Nichols - In the U.S. Supreme Court, Docket No. 15-123, petition to appeal the decision of the Ninth Circuit denied.

Samuel Zook, et al., v. U.S. EPA

<> Samuel Zook, et al., v. U.S. EPA - 11/2/15. In the U.S. Supreme Court, Docket No. 15-350, petition to appeal the decision of the D.C. Circuit denied. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C Circuit dismissed a lawsuit (Case No. 14-5187) to force EPA to regulate emissions from animal feeding operations (AFOs). 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Bode & Grenier, LLP v. Carroll Knight

<> Bode & Grenier, LLP v. Carroll Knight - 10/23/15. In the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, Case No. 14-7104. A law firm based in the District of Columbia, Bode & Grenier, LLP, provided legal services to three Michigan-based companies owned and managed by Carroll Knight ("appellants") who offer petroleum fueling products and services. More than ten years into the relationship, appellants stopped paying the bill. The predictable result? Litigation. The law firm prevailed in the district court, winning a judgment for $70,000 in overdue legal fees—plus $269,585.19 in legal fees for having to litigate over $70,000 in legal fees. We affirm the district court.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

CPV Maryland, LLC v. PPL EnergyPlus, LLC

<> CPV Maryland, LLC v. PPL EnergyPlus, LLC - 10/19/15. In the U.S. Supreme Court, Docket No. 14-623, Appealed from the decision of the Fourth Circuit. The petition for a writ of certiorari in No. 14-614 is granted. The cases are consolidated and a total of one hour is allotted for oral argument.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Judicial panel decides against centralizing WOTUS cases in D.C.

<> Judicial panel decides against centralizing WOTUS cases in D.C. - In the latest development in the WOTUS wars. a panel of federal judges has declined to move all the outstanding cases to the District of Columbia District Court, as requested by the Environmental Protection Agency -- that leaves nine cases active in seven districts. (the order for a list of those cases.)


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Petitioner v. Electric Power Supply

<> Supreme Court to Hear Arguments Today for Access to Clean, Low-Cost Energy - The case, FERC v. EPSA, centers on demand response – a tool that helps lower power costs for people and businesses while strengthening reliability and protecting the environment and public health.