July 2, 2006
Environmental Case Law Summaries
U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals
EnergyNorth Natural Gas, Inc. v. Century Indem. Co. (06/28/06 - No. 05-2149)
Judgment as a matter of law for plaintiffs in a suit over excess liability coverage for plaintiff's potential liability for environmental contamination is affirmed where the district court did not err in refusing to allow the case to go to the jury, in excluding some evidence, and in ordering defendant to reimburse plaintiff for certain costs and fees.
U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals
Save Our Cumberland Mountains v. Kempthorne (06/29/06 - No. 05-5663)
In an action brought by environmental groups challenging an agency's environmental assessment and decision-making in connection with a coal mining permit, summary judgment for the agency is affirmed over claims that: 1) an environmental assessment was deficient in failing to consider sufficient alternatives to a proposal; 2) the agency acted arbitrarily and capriciously in issuing a finding of no significant impact; and 3) the agency should have made the environmental assessment available for public comment 30 days before its final decision.
U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals
The Ecology Ctr., Inc. v. US Forest Serv. (06/29/06 - No. 05-4101)
Dismissal of a complaint, challenging a project which would allow logging in a certain area and claiming that the project's Record of Decision did not comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Forest Management Act, and the APA, is reversed in part as to the National Forest Management Act claim where defendant's "exclusive application of the 1982 Rules and the failure to consider or mention the 'best available science' standard amounted to conduct that is arbitrary and capricious."
Supreme Court of California
Big Creek Lumber Co. v. County of Santa Cruz (06/29/06 - No. S123659)
County zoning ordinances relating to the permissible locations for timber operations are not preempted by state forestry statutes.
California Appellate Districts
Turlock Irrigation Dist. v. Zanker (06/26/06 - No. F047094)
Judgment partially against a town in litigation concerning the scope of its right to receive treated water for domestic use and other needs of the town is affirmed where the trial court correctly found that the districts must continue to provide water to the town, but the reasonable cost of treating the water to make it suitable for domestic use may be passed through to the consumer.
Save Our Neighborhood v. Lishman (06/28/06 - No. C049525)
In a dispute involving a city's approval of a project for the construction of a hotel, gas station, and convenience store complex, a judgment denying plaintiffs' petition for writ of mandate is reversed where a city's reliance on an addendum to a mitigated negative declaration for the project violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Schneider v. California Coastal Comm'n (06/28/06 - No. B186149)
The Legislature has not recognized an ocean boater's "right to a view" of the coastline as a factor in regulating development.
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