Litigation

Judge Sotomayor’s Environmental Record

Now that President Obama has nominated her for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s record as a federal court judge will be under the microscope. Political pundits, legal scholars and advocacy groups from across the political spectrum will all be scrutinizing Sotomayor’s extensive record as a federal …

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The Environmental Argument Against Sotomayor–Sort of

As Dan points out, environmental issues do not figure to be large in the Sotomayor nomination, but there is one case where those interested in the environment (on either side) have a pretty large bone to pick with Judge Sotomayor:  Connecticut v. American Electric Power, a major climate change case. In this litigation, several attorneys general …

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No pre-contamination chicken litter injunction

In a split decision, the Tenth Circuit has upheld a district court decision denying a preliminary injunction sought by the state of Oklahoma against Tyson Foods and other large-scale Arkansas-based poultry producers in an unusual Resource Conservation and Recovery Act case. RCRA allows citizen suits against anyone involved in the “handling, storage, treatment, transportation, or …

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Obama’s Bold New Auto Standards

In what is a huge victory for California and a strong national commitment to more fuel efficient cars, the New York Times is reporting that the Obama administration will grant California its waiver to issue tough greenhouse gas emissions standards while at the same time combining those standards with a new national Corporate Automotive Fuel …

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Environmental Hypocrisy

Recently, CBS’s 60 Minutes ran a story on the current environmental damages litigation 30,000 Ecuadorians are bringing in that country’s courts against Chevron.  The case arises out the toxic oil wastes a Chevron subsidiary left behind in the Ecuadorian rain forest following decades of oil production deep in the headwaters of the Amazon. The plaintiffs, …

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ESA in the Everglades

There’s something for everyone to like (and to dislike) in the Eleventh Circuit’s decision in Miccosukee Tribe v. United States. The case involved the Army Corps of Engineers’ management of south Florida’s extensive plumbing system. Compliance with the Endangered Species Act in operating the S-12 gates in the Central and South Florida project poses a …

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The Supreme Court’s recent Superfund decision may have a significant impact on future cleanups

As Dan has noted, on Monday the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in a widely-watched case interpreting CERCLA, the Superfund law.  (Dan posted some brief thoughts about the opinion, BURLINGTON NORTHERN & SANTA FE RAILWAY.  CO V. UNITED STATES.)  Dan says that the part of the opinion dealing with apportionment of liability “does not purport to establish any new principles but does …

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A Supreme Court Speed-Bump for Coeur Alaska

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s issuance of its major CERCLA opinion yesterday in Burlington Northern, the Court has now decided four of the five major environmental cases on its docket this Term. But a little-noticed order from the Court–also issued yesterday–suggests that the Court is struggling mightily with the fifth and final case, Coeur Alaska, …

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NEPA: middle-aged, but still vigorous

The National Environmental Policy Act, which became law on January 1, 1970, is the oldest of the major federal environmental laws. It has been a model for environmental assessment laws in numerous states and other nations, but it still comes in for a lot of criticism at home. Some criticisms are surely justified. As Dan …

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Has the Court Made it Harder to Prove Environmental Crimes?

Today’s Supreme Court decision relating to identity theft, Flores-Figueroa v. United States, may indirectly make it more difficult to prosecute environmental crimes.  The decision suggests that the prosecutor might have to prove additional facts about the defendant’s state of mind in an environmental case, such as awareness that a given chemical is on a prohibited …

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