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Litigation

Circuit Review Of Duke Energy Case Seen As Key To Other Pending NSR Suits

A pending federal appellate court case could provide a key test for EPA's ongoing enforcement suits against utilities for allegedly violating its original new source review (NSR) rules, with many observers saying the ruling could trigger eventual Supreme Court review. The case, United States v. Duke Energy Corp., could determine how industrial facilities calculate an increase in emissions that triggers NSR requirements, industry lawyers and other legal experts say.

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Environmentalists Urge High Court To Deny Review Of Major Citizen Suit Case

Environmentalists are urging the Supreme Court to deny review of a landmark federal appeals court ruling that protects the ability of citizens to sue industry for alleged environmental violations even when a state enforcement action is underway, according to a recently filed brief.

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States Urge Reversal Of Court Order Limiting Resource Damages In Superfund Cases

The attorneys general of 14 states are urging a federal appeals court to overturn a court ruling from last year that industry and the federal government have cited to argue that states have limited authority to pursue compensation for the destruction of natural resources in Superfund cases. In a Jan. 18 filing with the U.S.

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Trial Lawyers Threaten Suit Attacking Novel Asbestos Cleanup Method

Public interest attorneys are threatening to file a lawsuit challenging a controversial method for cleaning up asbestos-contaminated buildings, claiming that the technique violates EPA standards. But the attorneys and some environmentalists acknowledge that EPA in response to the lawsuit could revise its asbestos cleanup requirements to allow for continued use of the method.

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EPA WITHDRAWAL OF DATABASE PROMPTS DATA QUALITY CHARGES BY INDUSTRY

EPA has removed a database from its website in response to an information quality challenge by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, prompting charges by industry and other agency critics that the move proves long-standing claims about faulty regulatory policies that are based on inconsistent data.

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INDUSTRY COULD FACE TOUGH PRECEDENT IN APPEAL OF DATA QUALITY CASE

An industry appeal of a court decision rejecting its ability to seek judicial review of a government study under the Information Quality Act (IQA) faces a significant hurdle because of a prior ruling in the same appellate circuit denying review of an agency action, some legal experts say.

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SAB REJECTS INDUSTRY PITCH TO REVERSE STANCE ON PENALTY CALCULATIONS

An EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) panel appears to be rejecting a bid by major manufacturers to withdraw its earlier support for a controversial method of evaluating penalties for environmental violations that could dramatically increase fines.

A manufacturers' group says EPA's future use of the method may not withstand judicial scrutiny because no environmental laws endorse the approach.

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EPA SEEKS TO INTEGRATE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IN ENFORCEMENT

EPA has established an internal panel to recommend how the agency should begin integrating environmental justice (EJ) concerns into the agency's enforcement efforts, EPA sources say. The move follows criticism that the agency has failed to adequately crack down on industrial pollution affecting minority communities.

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HIGH COURT RULING RAISES SENTENCING DOUBTS IN ENVIRONMENT CRIMES SUITS

Recent Supreme Court rulings overturning mandatory federal sentencing guidelines are raising significant uncertainty over how, or whether, the Justice Department (DOJ) will seek strict sentences for criminal violations of environmental laws, DOJ and defense attorneys say.

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ACTIVISTS PLAN TO APPEAL RULING BARRING CITIZEN SUITS ON MINING PATENTS

Environmentalists will appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit a landmark lower court ruling that bars third parties from challenging Interior Department (DOI) mineral patents under a controversial federal mining law, attorneys following the case say.

The case is significant because it is the first time a federal district court has ruled that citizens groups cannot challenge the patents under either the 1872 Mining Law or the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

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