SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 8 stayed proceedings in a lawsuit brought by youths claiming that the government failed to implement policies to protect against climate change, finding that the government’s third petition for a writ of mandamus “raises issues that warrant an answer” (In re: United States of America, No. 18-73014, 9th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The federal government on Nov. 5 filed in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals its third petition seeking a writ of mandamus in a suit brought by a number of youths accusing the government of failing to inform the public that it knew about the association between the burning of fossil fuels and climate change but failed to implement any policies to prevent the environment (In re: United States, No. 18-73014, 9th Cir.).
EUGENE, Ore.— The federal government on Nov. 5 asked a federal judge in Oregon to reconsider her ruling refusing to certify for interlocutory appeal a decision denying its motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a number of youths over climate change, citing a Nov. 2 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that denied its motion to stay the suit (Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana, et al. v. United States, et al., No. 15-cv-01517, D. Ore.).
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey appeals court panel on Oct. 17 affirmed a $66,200 civil penalty imposed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) against a shopping center owner accused of violating the New Jersey Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA) and Site Remediation Reform Act (SSRA), finding that the agency could impose penalties under the statutes despite not proving that the spill of occurred after 1977 (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Site Remediation Compliance and Enforcement v. Raritan Shopping Center, No. A-1150-16T1, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2018 N.J. Unpub. LEXIS 2291).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Supreme Court on Oct. 24 denied an insured’s petition seeking review of a trial court’s ruling in favor of insurers involved in an environmental contamination dispute arising out of the insured’s construction of a treatment plant to prevent the discharge of acid water from a mine (Bellaire Corp. v. American Empire Surplus Lines Insurance Co., et al., No. 2018-1159, Ohio Sup., 2018 Ohio LEXIS 2513).
PORTLAND, Maine — A German shipping company pleaded guilty on Nov. 2 in Louisiana federal court to charges of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and obstruction of justice for illegally discharging bilge oil from one of its ships over a nine-month period and agreed to pay a $3.2 million civil penalty (United States v. MST Mineralien Schiffahrt Spedition Und Transport GMBH, No. 17cr117, D. Maine).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A 7-2 U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 2 lifted Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s Oct. 19 stay of a lawsuit brought by 21 youths accusing the government of withholding information about the relationship between burning fossil fuels and climate change, finding that any relief sought by the government can be obtained through the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (In re: United States, No. 18A410, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. LEXIS 6514).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — An expert’s opinions on the human harms caused by an Illinois power plant’s violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) should be vetted at a trial slated to determine the remedies to be imposed on the plant, a federal judge decided Nov. 2 in denying a bid to exclude the expert’s testimony (Natural Resources Defense Council, et al. v. Illinois Power Resources Generating, LLC, No. 13-cv-1181, C.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187612).
WORCESTER, Mass. — A federal judge in Massachusetts on Oct. 31 clarified an earlier ruling in which he granted in part a motion for summary judgment filed by defendants accused of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA), explaining that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is diligently prosecuting claims that a development is violating a comparable state law (Blackstone Headwaters Coalition Inc. v. Gallo Builders Inc., et al., No. 16-40053, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186121).
CHICAGO — The owner of the largest natural gas processing facility in the United States on Oct. 29 agreed to pay a $2.7 million civil penalty and spend $4.5 million on improvements to its pollution controls to resolve allegations brought by the federal government in Illinois federal court that it violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) (United States v. Aux Sable Liquid Products LP, No. 18cv7198, N.D. Ill.).
CINCINNATI — Two environmental groups in an Oct. 22 petition ask the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for an en banc rehearing of a case in which they claim that the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) by discharging coal ash waste from its wastewater treatment system that reached navigable waterways through groundwater (Tennessee Clean Water Network, et al. v. Tennessee Valley Authority, No. 17-6155, 6th Cir.).
PITTSBURGH — A federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania on Oct. 26 denied Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad Inc.’s (BPRR) motion seeking dismissal of a Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit brought by two environmental groups, finding that it is a properly joined party because it has right of way access to land that may need to be remediated (PennEnvironment, et al. v. PPG Industries Inc., et al., No. 12-342, W.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 183752).
NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 18 affirmed the dismissal of lawsuits brought by 104 plaintiffs seeking damages stemming from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that followed the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20, 2010, finding that they failed to show why they could not submit signed copies of the complaints in compliance with pretrial order 60 (PTO 60) (In re Deepwater Horizon, No. 17-30122, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 29408).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A group of young plaintiffs claiming that the government withheld its knowledge about the relationship between the burning of fossil fuels and climate change told the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 22 that it should not stay the case pending a decision on the government’s petition for a writ of mandamus because the government would not suffer any irreparable harm that cannot be corrected after trial (In re: United States of America, No. 18A410, U.S. Sup.).
INDIANAPOLIS — The majority of the Indiana Court of Appeals on Oct. 18 affirmed a summary judgment ruling in favor of an insurer, agreeing with the trial court’s determination that the insured’s untimely notice of environmental claims filed against it was prejudicial to the insurer (Franke Plating Works v. Cincinnati Insurance Co., No. 49A02-1710-PL-2462, Ind. App., 2018 Ind. App. LEXIS 378).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on Oct. 19 stayed a lawsuit brought by 21 youths accusing the government of knowing about the relationship between climate change and the burning of fossil fuels so the plaintiffs could respond to the government’s petition for a writ of mandamus that would require a federal judge in Oregon to dismiss the suit (In re: United States, et al., No. 18A410, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. LEXIS 6257).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar say in amicus curiae briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 11 that the high court should review a ruling by the Massachusetts Judicial Supreme Court that is allowing the state’s attorney general to investigate Exxon Mobil Corp.’s knowledge about the relationship between the burning of fossil fuels and climate change because there are insufficient contacts between the energy company and the state (Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Maura Healey, No. 18-311, U.S. Sup.).
LAFAYETTE, Ind. — An Indiana federal magistrate judge on Oct. 5 denied an insured’s motion for summary judgment on the duty to defend and indemnify in an environmental liability coverage suit after determining that an issue of fact exists as to whether the insured’s notice of the underlying environmental liability claims was timely pursuant to the policies at issue (Landis+Gyr, et al. v. Zurich American Insurance Co., No. 16-82, N.D. Ind., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173197).
SEATTLE — A federal judge in Washington on Oct. 11 gave BNSF Railway Co. six months to secure a functioning prototype for a cover for open-top coal cars that would prevent the discharge of coal and petcoke dust after finding that the company’s inability to meet deadlines contained in a May 2017 consent decree was not justified (Sierra Club, et al. v. BNSF Railway Co., No. C13-0967-JCC, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175455).
SEATTLE — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 2 ordered the state of Washington and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation to respond to Teck Cominco Metals Ltd.’s Sept. 28 motion for a panel rehearing and request for en banc hearing of a Sept. 14 decision that affirmed a federal court’s finding that the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation are entitled to recover more than $8.25 million in response costs from a polluter of the Columbia River for enforcement actions taken under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (Joseph A. Pakootas, et al. v. Teck Cominco Metals, Ltd., No. 16-35742, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27942).