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Litigation

WETLANDS SENTENCE REFLECTS COURTS' ABILITY TO DEPART FROM STRICT GUIDE

A recent federal district court ruling scaling back a Michigan developer's sentence for illegally filling wetlands underscores the significance of the Supreme Court's recent decision overturning strict mandatory federal sentencing guidelines, legal observers say.

The sources say the ruling in Rapanos v. U.S. may be one of the first cases where a court has relied on the high court's rulings to decrease a defendant's sentence in an environmental crimes case.

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NEVADA DEVELOPERS APPEALING UNIQUE WETLANDS TAKINGS CASE

A Nevada development team is urging a federal appeals court to reverse a decision in an unusual wetlands takings case, arguing the lower court was wrong when it ruled that wetlands mitigation requirements did not constitute a taking.

Specifically, the developers argue that the district court failed to apply or wrongly applied established legal precedent when it ruled a requirement to create more than 200 acres of new wetlands did not effect a physical, categorical or regulatory taking.

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Wetlands Sentence Reflects Courts' Ability To Depart From Strict Guide

A recent federal district court ruling scaling back a Michigan developer's sentence for illegally filling wetlands underscores the significance of the Supreme Court's recent decision overturning strict mandatory federal sentencing guidelines, legal observers say.

The sources say the ruling in Rapanos v. U.S. may be one of the first cases where a court has relied on the high court's rulings to decrease a defendant's sentence in an environmental crimes case.

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UNIQUE FACTORS LIKELY CONTRIBUTED TO ILLINOIS POWER NSR SETTLEMENT

A newly announced Clean Air Act settlement between EPA, Illinois Power Company and its successor underscores the unique financial and legal pressures facing the company that may not apply in pending new source review (NSR) cases against other power plants, industry and other sources say.

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SUPREME COURT RULING ON CONTRACT LAW MAY BOOST DOD CLEANUP COSTS

A recent Supreme Court ruling that all but bars the Department of Defense (DOD) and other federal defendants from citing insufficient funds as a reason to limit contract payments could significantly increase federal reimbursements for cleanup costs incurred by aerospace, defense and other contractors, industry sources say.

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ACTIVISTS MOUNT WATER ACT SUIT OVER LAND APPLICATION OF PESTICIDES

Environmentalists have mounted a landmark challenge against a blueberry farmer for aerially applying pesticides in what could be the first Clean Water Act (CWA) challenge to applications of pesticides over lands that eventually drift into waters, attorneys say.

The suit follows EPA issuance of a rule exempting pesticide applicators from obtaining CWA discharge permits when pesticides are applied directly to waters to control pests present there, or when pesticides are applied to control pests present over waters and some of the pesticides end up in waterbodies.

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WITHDRAWAL OF SUIT SUGGESTS PAINT INDUSTRY RETREAT ON OTC OZONE PLAN

Paint company Sherwin-Williams is dropping its lawsuit against a Pennsylvania state ozone plan to limit volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, indicating the paint industry may be forced to retreat from similar fights in a slew of other Eastern states, observers say.

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EPA TO DEFINE SIGNIFICANT NONCOMPLIANCE FOR WET WEATHER DISCHARGES

EPA enforcement officials are developing guidance to help states identify and define "significant noncompliance" (SNC) with regulations that govern wet weather events -- including rules governing sewer overflows and runoff from industrial feedlots.

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DOJ Forms Group To Offer Legislative Response To Aviall Ruling

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The Justice Department (DOJ) has formed a new workgroup that may suggest legislative changes to the Superfund law or increased enforcement funding to address concerns raised by EPA, industry and others that the Supreme Court's landmark Aviall decision may limit voluntary cleanups.

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NAFTA Panel May Investigate Adequacy Of EPA Mercury Rules

A North American trade panel is moving one step closer to launching an in-depth investigation into whether EPA is taking sufficient steps to cut mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, a move that could help environmentalists argue that upcoming agency rules violate federal water and air laws.

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