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Litigation

ENVIRONMENTALISTS VOW LITIGATION TO CHALLENGE AIRPORT EXPANSIONS

Environmental activists say they will sue the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) if it presses ahead with more than 60 proposed changes to regulations on how it implements the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Critics say the proposals are designed to undercut public and interagency review of airport expansion plans that would dramatically harm air quality.

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EMA VOWS LAWSUIT OVER CALIFORNIA DIESEL TRUCK ENGINE-FIX REGULATION

Heavy-duty engine makers are vowing to sue the California air board over its rule requiring manufacturers to fix thousands of truck engine computers to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by the end of next year. The industry argues the rule violates state and federal legal settlements for the engine fixes, and if allowed to proceed could crush the industry financially if other states choose to adopt it.

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ACTIVISTS WIN TRANSFER OF COOLING WATER INTAKES CASE TO 2ND CIRCUIT

Environmentalists recently won approval to transfer their litigation challenging EPA's Phase II cooling water intakes rule to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit -- in what activists say is a notable victory because that circuit ruled in their favor when they challenged the Phase I rule several years ago.

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INDUSTRY CITES EPA BRIEF IN PUSH FOR COURT DENIAL OF OIL SPILL RULE

The petroleum industry is citing EPA's own arguments in federal court to prove its case that a recent oil spill prevention rule should be revised because the agency did not fully consider a key Supreme Court ruling before adopting a broad definition of waters subject to new requirements.

The industry also says EPA's argument shows that the agency is uncertain whether the Clean Water Act (CWA) covers waters regulated by the oil spill rule and that the rule violates the Constitution's Commerce Clause by exceeding the federal government's authority.

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WASTEWATER GROUPS WEIGH APPEAL AFTER LOSS IN EPA TOXICITY RULE CASE

Wastewater treatment industry attorneys will likely ask a federal appellate court to rehear a case evaluating the viability of EPA's method for measuring toxicity in wastewater effluent after a key industry defeat in the litigation earlier this month.

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STATE COURT RULES AGAINST COST CONSIDERATION IN STORMWATER PERMITS

Developers may appeal a landmark California appellate decision that could be the first in the nation to excuse a state from considering cost when setting permit limits for stormwater runoff, attorneys familiar with the case say.

Attorneys representing developers say the decision could force industry to install costly technology to meet strict California water quality standards governing stormwater runoff -- instead of relying on best management practices (BMPs) used in the past that may or may not have ensured compliance with the standards.

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ENERGY, DEFENSE ALLEGEDLY BALKING AT FEDERAL NRD SETTLEMENT PLAN

A government effort to encourage natural resource damage (NRD) settlements at federal facilities and privately owned Superfund sites is facing opposition from the Energy Department (DOE) and the Department of Defense (DOD) -- federal agencies that face massive NRD liability -- even as the program has received support from the White House through a recent executive order, according to government sources.

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ENVIRONMENTALISTS EYE SUIT OVER MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM EIS

Environmentalists are objecting to the Defense Department's programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) for its missile defense system, saying it inadequately considers the environmental risks posed by the project -- notably the potential release of the rocket fuel component perchlorate -- and are threatening to sue if the PEIS is not significantly altered to address their concerns.

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CITIZENS GROUP MULLS NEW LEGAL CHALLENGE TO SUNSHINE CANYON LANDFILL

The embattled Los Angeles-area Sunshine Canyon landfill may face another legal challenge by a group of citizens that live near the dump, this time over a supplemental environmental review document. If filed, the suit will challenge plans by the landfill's operator, Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI), to consolidate city and county requirements into one permit.

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ENVIRONMENTALISTS, INDUSTRY REMAIN SPLIT OVER KEY ASPECTS OF EJ PLAN

With comments due shortly on Cal/EPA's Environmental Justice (EJ) Action Plan, environmentalists and industry officials remain split over how the agency should define and address the controversial concepts of cumulative impacts and precautionary approaches.

Cal/EPA will use the comments, which are due Jan. 3, and data from its not-yet initiated pilot projects to craft a working definition of the two controversial concepts.

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