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Litigation

ACTIVISTS' BID FOR NAFTA INQUIRY MAY BACK FUTURE SUIT ON MERCURY PLAN

Environmentalists' bid for a NAFTA panel to investigate whether EPA is adequately enforcing the Clean Water Act by limiting emissions from coal-fired power plants could provide the groups with information to be used in future litigation against EPA's controversial mercury emissions control plans, an environmental attorney tracking the issue says.

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DOI FACES STRONG OPPOSITION TO APPEALS PROCESS FOR HYDROPOWER DAMS

The Interior Department (DOI) is facing broad opposition to its proposed administrative appeals process that allows only dam operators to appeal conditions DOI may attach to hydropower dam licenses, with environmentalists and tribal sources warning the process unlawfully precludes groups from participating and protecting water quality.

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ACTIVISTS MULL SUIT TO FORCE EPA CONTROL OF 'DOWNSTREAM' WATER USES

Environmentalists may sue EPA for failing to promulgate water quality standards for nutrients and other pollutants in the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, arguing that the agency may be violating the Clean Water Act's (CWA) obligation to protect downstream waterbodies from pollution generated in upstream states, environmentalists tracking the issue say.

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EPA PLANS STORMWATER ENFORCEMENT LIMITS IN PACT WITH BUILDERS

EPA will soon propose changes to its controversial general permit for stormwater discharges at construction sites that industry and state sources say may limit the ability of the agency and private parties to sue builders for violations that occurred prior to receiving a permit.

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APPEALS BOARD URGES EXPANDED EPA ACCESS TO DATA FOR SETTING FINES

A recent decision by EPA's Environmental Appeals Board on wetlands penalties may expand the agency's ability to gather information about a defendant's finances when the party claims an inability to pay a fine, according to an attorney familiar with the case.

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APPELLATE RULING MAY LIMIT GROUPS' ACCESS TO COURTS, LEGAL EXPERTS SAY

A recent appellate ruling dismissing an environmental group's attempt to stop a Forest Service timber sale on the grounds that a different environmental group had already sought to litigate the issue sets a disturbing precedent that could block industry and environmental groups' access to courts, legal experts and some environmentalists warn.

These sources say the ruling may set a precedent by expanding a legal doctrine -- known as privity -- that is used to determine when parties in litigation share similar interests that may bar them from pursuing separate litigation.

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ACTIVISTS DECRY U.S. BILLS TO SPLIT NINTH CIRCUIT AS ANTI-ENVIRONMENT

Pending federal bills to split the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals are akin to "anti-environmental gerrymandering of the courts," environmentalists who oppose the measure charge. But sponsors of the bills deny any political or ideological motivation behind the push to split the court, which they argue has become too big to efficiently administer justice.

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APPEALS BOARD URGES EXPANDED EPA DATA ACCESS TO SET PENALTIES

A recent decision by U.S. EPA's Environmental Appeals Board on wetlands penalties may expand the agency's ability to gather information about a defendant's finances when the party claims an inability to pay a fine, according to an attorney familiar with the case.

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GROUP EYES LAWSUIT AGAINST LONG BEACH PORT OVER PIER EXPANSION

The Coalition for Clean Air is eyeing a lawsuit against the Port of Long Beach over an environmental impact report (EIR) for a proposed pier expansion project. The group argues the EIR contains "bogus" estimates that grossly underestimate the pollution impacts of the project, which it claims will make the terminal the largest on the West Coast if not the nation.

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APPELLATE COURT PUTS SAN DIEGO DUMP-BLOCKING MEASURE BACK ON BALLOT

An appellate court judge has ordered an initiative to block a controversial landfill from being developed in northern San Diego be placed back on the county's November ballot, only weeks after a superior court judge decided the measure should be removed.

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