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.