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Litigation

Coal Mining Plan Backs General Permits Despite Pending Appellate Suit

The Bush administration's recently released plan for mountaintop mining activities in Appalachian states allows continued use of so-called general Clean Water Act (CWA) permits for mining activities favored by industry -- even though a federal appellate court is considering a lower court ruling that found use of the permits unlawful and barred the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from issuing new permits in a key part of West Virginia.

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House GOP Lawmakers Eye Options For Limiting Lawsuits Under NEPA

House Republican lawmakers are debating ways to limit lawsuits under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including enactment of new financial barriers to alleged frivolous claims by environmentalists and creation of a new federal mechanism to expedite industry permits without resorting to court battles.

The lawmakers discussed the options at a Nov. 10 House hearing before a bipartisan House task force, which is scheduled to issue recommendations later this month on ways to improve the law.

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SUPREME COURT WEIGHS STANDING ISSUE IN CHALLENGE TO EPA REGULATION

The Supreme Court will soon decide whether to hear a case on the responsibility of petitioners to establish standing -- or the legal right to sue -- when they challenge EPA and other agency actions in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is the court that hears challenges to many agency regulations.

While the case could result in weaker requirements for plaintiffs to establish standing, an EPA source says the government does not expect the high court to take the case.

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HIGH COURT EYES CASE ON PREEMPTION OF CALIFORNIA EFFICIENCY RULE

The Supreme Court is poised to decide whether to review an industry effort to overturn a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upholding a California rule forcing appliance makers to provide the state with energy-use data about products subject to federal efficiency requirements. The court is scheduled to consider the industry petition Nov. 10 and announce its decision Nov. 14.

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JUDGE BLASTS STATE OVER PESTICIDE EMISSION-REDUCTION PLAN

A U.S. district court judge blasted Cal/EPA officials this week over an "incomprehensible" state implementation plan (SIP) at the center of a key lawsuit between activists and the pesticides department over the department's role in reducing pesticide emissions. If environmentalists prevail, the department could be required to implement regulations to further reduce ozone-forming compounds from pesticide emissions in many areas of the state.

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Supreme Court Weighs Standing Issue In Challenge To EPA Regulation

The Supreme Court will soon decide whether to hear a case on the responsibility of petitioners to establish standing -- or the legal right to sue -- when they challenge EPA and other agency actions in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is the court that hears challenges to many agency regulations.

While the case could result in weaker requirements for plaintiffs to establish standing, an EPA source says the government does not expect the high court to take the case.

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Congress Moves To Allow Eminent Domain 'Takings' For Brownfields

House and Senate lawmakers are moving to exempt brownfields sites from pending legislation that would limit state and local governments' ability to take private property by eminent domain. Congress is pushing the legislation following the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding the governmental entities' eminent domain authority for economic development projects.

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COURT PICK ALITO'S RECORD SHOWS MIXED RULINGS ON ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS

Judge Samuel Alito, in his 15 years sitting on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, has ruled against both activists and industry in various environment-related cases, but legal experts and a key Republican senator say his judicial philosophy on hot-button constitutional issues and interpretation of federal environmental laws remain unclear.

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GOP 'AGENDA' ON ENVIRONMENT SUITS CITED TO FIGHT 9TH CIRCUIT BILLS

Republican-led legislative efforts to split the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit -- which hears many environmental cases and often sides with activists -- are facing opposition from public interest groups, who allege the real agenda behind the effort is to reduce their chances of winning the environmental lawsuits they often file in that circuit.

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COURT PICK ALITO'S RECORD SHOWS MIXED RULINGS ON ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS

Judge Samuel Alito, in his 15 years sitting on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, has ruled against both activists and industry in various environment-related cases, but legal experts and a key Republican senator say his judicial philosophy on hot-button constitutional issues and interpretations of federal environmental laws remain unclear.

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