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Litigation

APPELLATE RULING MAY LIMIT GROUPS' COURT ACCESS, 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 environmental and industry 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 -- used to determine when parties in litigation share similar interests that may bar them from pursuing separate litigation.

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FACING ACTIVISTS' LAWSUIT, EPA TO ISSUE NEW RULES ON MOBILE SOURCE TOXICS

EPA plans next year to propose new controls on air toxic emissions from motor vehicles, one of the largest sources of hazardous air pollutants in the country. The move comes amidst a lengthy court battle with environmentalists who argued the agency had missed a self-imposed deadline to develop final rules this year.

Petroleum industry officials say they have not yet taken a position on such a rule, but raise concerns that it could be more difficult to control vehicle emissions following an expected phase-out of the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE).

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Environmentalists Cite EPA Legal Brief To Push Expanded Wetland Rules

Environmentalists are citing arguments in a recent EPA legal filing, which supports a broad definition of waters protected under the Clean Water Act, as evidence that the Bush administration should withdraw a controversial guidance that activists say narrowly interprets the scope of regulatory protections for wetlands.

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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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GREAT LAKES STATES WIN VOICE IN SUIT OVER PERMITS FOR BALLAST WATER

A federal district court is allowing attorneys general from a host of Great Lakes states to support a landmark environmentalists' lawsuit seeking to force EPA to regulate ships' ballast water discharges under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

An environmentalist involved in Northwest Environmental Advocates, et al. v. EPA says states' support for their position in the case in 'friends of the court' briefs is significant, in part, because it highlights the importance of the issue for the court.

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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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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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GROUP SEEKS TO MOVE APPELLATE SUIT OVER WATER INTAKE RULE TO NEW CIRCUIT

Environmentalists are filing a motion to move a lawsuit challenging EPA's cooling water regulations for large power plants from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to the 2nd Circuit -- which ruled against the agency in a similar suit last year.

Environmentalists filed the suit against EPA over provisions in its recently released rule governing cooling water intakes at existing large power plants that allow facilities to restore aquatic habitat rather than install expensive technological upgrades.

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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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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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