August 11, 2006
Environmental Law Case Summaries
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
Noe v. Henderson (08/07/06 - No. 05-3244)
The federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), 16 U.S.C. sections 703-712, and federal regulations promulgated thereunder, do not preempt Arkansas regulations governing activities involving captive-reared mallard ducks.
Atl. Research Corp. v. US (08/11/06 - No. 05-3152)
A private party which voluntarily undertakes a cleanup for which it may be held liable, thus barring it from contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) section 113, may pursue an action for direct recovery or contribution under section 107, against another liable party.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Sarei v. Rio Tinto, PLC (08/07/06 - No. 02-56256, 02-56390)
Dismissal of an Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) action brought by plaintiffs, residents of Papua New Guinea, against defendant-mining corporation claiming numerous violations of international law is reversed in part where the district court erred in dismissing all of the plaintiffs’ claims as presenting nonjusticiable political questions, and in dismissing the plaintiffs’ racial discrimination claim under the act of state doctrine.
N. California River Watch v. City of Healdsburg (08/10/06 - No. 04-15442)
A judgment in favor of an environmental group in litigation under the Clean Water Act (CWA) challenging a city's discharge of sewage from its waste treatment plant into a body of water is affirmed where the body of water at issue was subject to the CWA since it and its wetlands possessed a "significant nexus" to navigable waters, and neither a waste treatment system nor an excavation operation exception applied to the discharges.
Earth Island Inst. v. Ruthenbeck (08/10/06 - No. 05-16975)
In an appeal arising from a judgment enjoining Forest Service regulations governing review of decisions implementing forest plans, the district court's invalidation of 36 C.F.R. section 215.12(f) and a nationwide injunction against its enforcement is affirmed, but the judgment and injunction is remanded to be vacated with respect to the remaining regulations for lack of a controversy ripe for review.
U.S. District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals
State of Nevada v. Dep't of Energy (08/08/06 - No. 04-1309)
Nevada's petition for review of a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for a repository for nuclear waste and a portion of the Record of Decision (ROD) the Department of Energy issued governing the transportation of nuclear waste from the production sources to the repository location is denied where some of the state's claims were unripe for review and the remaining claims were without merit.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
John R. Sand & Gravel Co. v. US (08/09/06 - No. 05-5033)
A decision finding that the U.S. was not liable to plaintiff under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution for the alleged taking of its leasehold interest in certain land is vacated where plaintiff's takings claim accrued not later than February of 1994, it did not file its complaint until over six years later, and thus, the claim was barred by the statute of limitations and the Court of Federal Claims lacked jurisdiction to consider it.
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