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Environmental Law

[10/31] US v. Donovan
In an appeal from a judgment of the district court granting summary judgment to the plaintiff in an enforcement action under the Clean Water Act, judgment is affirmed where property is "wetlands" subject to the CWA if it meets either of the tests laid out in the Supreme Court's ruling in Rapanos v. US, 547 U.S. 715 (2006).

[10/27] Southern Cal. Gas Co. v. South Coast Air Quality Mgt. Dist.
In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court denying plaintiff's mandate and prohibition petition arising from the adoption of a regulation by the defendant to monitor changes in the quality of natural gas and air pollutant levels, judgment is affirmed where the defendant did not exceed its jurisdiction in promulgating subject regulation.

[10/19] Cunney v. Bd. of Trs. of Vill. of Grand View
In an appeal from a judgment of the district court dismissing plaintiff's challenge to a zoning ordinance which, in order to preserve the remaining views of a portion of the Hudson River, prohibits the building of structures that rise more than a certain height, judgment is: 1) reversed where the ordinance is unconstitutionally vague as applied to plaintiff's property because it provides inadequate notice of the elevation point and because it authorizes arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement; but 2) otherwise affirmed.

[10/18] Redondo Waste Systems, Inc. v. Lopez-Freytes
In an appeal from a judgment of the district court dismissing plaintiffs' Section 1983 and related claims concerning defendant's rejection of several of plaintiffs' proposed plans for dealing with accumulated waste, judgment is affirmed where complaint states no claim against any identifiable defendant.

[10/12] Russell Country Sportsmen v. US Forest Service
In an appeal from a judgment of the district court invalidating defendant-Forest Service's Travel Management Plan for parts of the Lewis and Clark National Forest, judgment is reversed because: 1) the Montana Wilderness Study Act does not bar the defendant from exercising its discretion to enhance the wilderness character of a study area; and 2) the NEPA does not require the defendant to prepare a supplemental draft environmental impact statement (EIS) where the final decision makes only minor changes and is qualitatively within the spectrum of the alternatives discussed in the draft EIS.

[10/03] Raritan Baykeeper v. NL Industries, Inc.
In an appeal from a judgment of the district court dismissing, on the grounds of abstention, plaintiff's complaint under the Resource Conservation and Recovery and Clean Water Acts, judgment is reversed where neither primary jurisdiction nor the Burford doctrine supports abstention.

[10/03] DeCicco v. California Coastal Commission
In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court dismissing appellant's writ challenge to the defendant's appellate jurisdiction over their coastal development project, judgment is affirmed where although a county's approval of a "principal permitted use" development within a coastal zone is not appealable to the Coastal Commission, the Commission has appellate jurisdiction when the development project also requires approval of a subdivision.

[09/28] Boston Edison Co. v. US
In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court concerning an action breach of a nuclear waste disposal contract, judgment is affirmed with respect to the recovery of indirect overhead costs associated with mitigation activities by the non-breaching party and the right of such party to recover the costs of financing those activities, but reversed with respect to the court's judgment on whether the sale of a nuclear plant and the transfer of a decommissioning fund affects the rights of the buyer and seller to recover future damages for the government's partial breach of contract.

[09/27] Hillside Mem. Park and Mortuary v. Golden State Water Co.
In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court denying appellant's motion to amend a judgment imposing a "physical solution" on a groundwater basin, judgment is reversed where although the court had jurisdiction to consider the motion, it erred in denying the motion without an evidentiary because under California’s constitutional approach to water law, if the parties could not agree on a resolution of the issue presented in the motion to amend the judgment, the trial court had a duty to admit evidence, and if necessary, suggest a physical solution for use of dewatered acreage.

[09/26] American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. The City of Los Angeles
In an appeal from a judgment of the district court finding that defendant's concession scheme adopted as part of the Clean Truck Program was not preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, 49 U.S.C. section 14501 et seq., judgment is reversed with respect to the court's determination that the employee-driver provision of the concession agreement falls within the market participant doctrine and is thus not preempted, but affirmed in all other respects.

[09/20] Minard Run Oil Company v. US Forest Service
In an appeal from a judgment of the district court granting a preliminary injunction overturning a moratorium on new drilling for oil or gas in the Allegheny National Forest, judgment is affirmed where the court correctly asserted subject matter jurisdiction as the moratorium constituted a final agency action and because the relevant factors weigh in favor of a preliminary injunction.

[09/16] Natural Resouces Defense Council v. US Environmental Protection Agency
In a petition for review of an EPA order overruling petitioner's objections to the Agency's risk assessments for the pesticide dichlorvos and denying the petitioner's requests for a public evidentiary hearing, petition is granted in part and denied in part where the EPA conducted subject risk assessments without using a tenfold children's safety factor that Congress provided should presumptively apply, and it failed to explain why it did not apply this margin of safety.

[09/13] Madera Oversight Coalition, Inc. v. County of Madera
In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court granting a petition for a writ of mandamus on the ground that the discussion in an environmental impact report (EIR) concerning a proposed project's water supply was inadequate and, as a result, violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), judgment is affirmed in part and reversed in part where: 1) the trial court did not err in applying Public Resources Code section 21167.6 (e) and determining which documents to include and exclude from the administrative record; 2) the mitigation measure that proposes to verify that certain archaeological sites are historical resources for purposes of CEQA constitutes an unlawful deferral of environmental analysis; 3) the EIR's traffic analysis lacks clarity regarding the baseline used to determine the project‘s potential impacts; 4) the discussion of cumulative impacts was legally inadequate because it failed to disclose and explain the basis for assuming a 30 percent build-out in the project area by 2025; 5) the trial court correctly determined that the analysis of the project's proposed water supply was inadequate for purposes of CEQA; and 6) the trial court did not err in apportioning costs.

[09/09] Ross v. California Coastal Commn.
In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court granting in part plaintiffs' mandate petition challenging defendant-commission's certification of a coastal development project, judgment is reversed insofar as it: 1)( granted the mandate petition and remanded with instructions to deny petition in its entirety where the commission reasonably resolved conflicting city development standards concerning buffers in environmentally sensitive habitat areas; and 2) complied with Public Resources Code section 21080.5(d)(2)(B), (d)(2)(D), (d)(2)(F) and (d)(3), and the California Environmental Quality Act section 15252 (a).

[09/08] Adams v. US
In an appeal from a judgment of the district court in favor of plaintiffs in an action under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. section 2402, judgment is reversed where claims are barred by the statute of limitations and devoid of subject matter jurisdiction.

[08/31] City Sanitation, LLC v. Allied Waste Services of Massachusetts, LLC
In an appeal from a judgment of the Bankruptcy court approving a proposed settlement, judgment is affirmed where: 1) the disputed claims are commercial tort claims; 2) the bankruptcy trustee had exclusive standing to pursue and settle such claims; 3) the appellant, by failing to comply with Bankruptcy Rule 8006, waived its theory of abandonment; and 4) the court's approval of the proposed settlement was within its discretion.

[08/26] Schenck v. County of Sonoma
In an appeal from a judgment in an action challenging the approval of a project for development of a beverage distribution facility on grounds that defendant-county failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Pub. Resources Code, section 21000 et seq., judgment of the trial court is affirmed where a single error in the notice procedure was not prejudicial, and the substantial evidence does not support plaintiff's position that the proposed project will have a significant effect on the environment.

[08/25] Barnes v. US Dept. of Transportation
In a petition for review of an order of the FAA concerning the construction of a new runway at Hillsboro Airport, petition is granted with a remand where the FAA's decision not to prepare an environmental impact statement was unreasonable even though the Agency afforded petitioners adequate public hearing within the meaning of 49 U.S.C. section 47106l.

[08/25] Gates v. Rohm and Haas Co.
In an interlocutory appeal from the denial of class certification concerning a tort action for toxic dump, judgment of the district court is affirmed where it did not abuse its discretion in refusing to certify a medical monitoring class under either Rule 23(b)(2) or 23(b)(3).

[08/25] Coalition for a Sustainable Future in Yucaipa v. City of Yucaipa
In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court denying appellant-coalition's petition for a writ of mandate which sought to vacate a project approval on the grounds that the project conflicted with affordable housing requirements and that the approval failed to properly consider and deal with greenhouse gas emissions, urban decay effects, and traffic impacts, judgment of the trial court is reversed as moot.

[08/24] Tafti v. County of Tulare
In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court denying appellant's petition for a writ of mandate in which he challenged the validity of $1,148,200 in civil penalties imposed against him by Respondents for violations of laws relating to underground gasoline storage tanks, judgment is reversed where appellant did not receive fair and adequate notice of administrative hearing.