EPA Declines to Impose CERCLA Financial Assurance Regulations on Hardrock Mining

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a final action declining to impose financial assurance regulations on the hardrock mining industry under Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). This proposal was directed at managing the financial cost of hardrock mining, particularly the cost of cleanup in situations where the …

Supreme Court Declines Review of Ninth Circuit Agua Caliente Decision – Reserved Tribal Water Rights Include Groundwater

On November 27, 2017, the Supreme Court denied review of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians v. Coachella Valley Water Dist., 849 F.3d 1262 (9th Cir. 2017). In that case, an Indian tribe brought an action against a California water district and desert water agency seeking a declaration that it …

EPA Directive Provides Additional Opportunities for Stakeholder Participation in Consent Decree Negotiations

On October 16, 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt released a directive that instructs the agency to follow new procedures related to the settlement of lawsuits against the agency. Specifically, the directive requires EPA to: Publish online any notices of intent to sue that it receives from potential litigants. Publish complaints and petitions in which it …

Challenge to Electrical Generation Property Valuation Must Be Filed Timely

State agencies are often given broad powers to adjudicate disputes, with the courts having the responsibility to review agency decisions. The timeline to review agency decisions may seem obvious, but the facts sometimes may create confusion, and in turn thwart the timely initiation of the action, which is essential for judicial review to be sought. …

Pueblo Hits Turn Signal for Black Hills Off-Ramp

By a resounding seven to zero vote, the City Council in Pueblo, Colorado recently passed a resolution to explore if and how the city could extricate itself from its franchise agreement with Black Hills Energy (BHE), clearing the way for the city to pursue creation of a municipal utility. The South Dakota-based BHE signed the …

DAPL Developer Sues Environmental Groups

In a remarkable development around the contentious Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), the developer of the project, Energy Transfer Equity and Energy Transfer Partners, sued the environmental groups that opposed DAPL. Energy Transfer sued  Greenpeace International, Greenpeace Inc., Greenpeace Fund, Inc., BankTrack, and Earth First! alleging that the: group of co-conspirators (the “Enterprise”) manufactured and disseminated …

United States May Be Liable as an “Owner”, but not as an “Arranger”, at Former Mining Sites on Federal Property

In a decision that opens the door for Superfund claims against the United States on Forest Service and BLM lands, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the United States federal government may be liable for clean-up costs at former mining sites located on federal land.  In Chevron Mining, Inc. v. United States, …

The Eclipse Will Test Utilities’ Solar Grid Integration

On Monday, August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the continental United States from Oregon to South Carolina. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves between the Earth and the sun, thereby obscuring the sun from Earth’s view and creating a shadow on Earth’s surface below. While a partial solar eclipse …