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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of the Forest Service's motion to dissolve an injunction enjoining the Lonesome Wood 2 Project. The Project was designed to reduce the threat of wildfire in a populated area of the Gallatin National Forest in Montana. The panel declined to overrule the Forest Service's determination that a thesis outlining important predictors for overall lynx reproductive success did not require the Forest Service to reevaluate its approval of the project. The panel rejected the argument that the Forest Service failed to comply with the obligation to ensure species viability and that the Forest Service failed to comply with its Gallatin Forest Plan obligation to monitor population trends for two management indicator species. Finally, the panel held that the Forest Service took a "hard look" at the project and did not act arbitrarily or capriciously. View "Native Ecosystems Council v. Marten" on Justia Law

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These consolidated petitions challenged the EPA's final rule entitled "Implementation of the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone: State Implementation Plan Review Requirements." The DC Circuit granted Environmental Petitioners' petition and vacated as to waiver of the statutory attainment deadlines associated with the 1997 NAAQS; removal of New Source Review and conformity controls from orphan nonattainment areas; grant of permission to states to move anti-backsliding requirements for orphan nonattainment areas to their list of contingency measures based on initial 2008 designations; waiver of the requirement that states adopt outstanding applicable requirements for the revoked 1997 NAAQS; waiver of the 42 U.S.C. 7505a(a) maintenance plan requirement for orphan nonattainment areas; creation of the "redesignation substitute"; creation of an alternative baseline year option; elimination of transportation conformity in orphan maintenance areas; and waiver of the requirement for a second 10-year maintenance plan for orphan maintenance areas. The court denied Environmental Petitioners' petition in all other respects. View "South Coast Air Quality Management District v. EPA" on Justia Law

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The boundary separating public trust land from privately-owned riparian land along the shores of Lake Michigan is the common-law ordinary high water mark (OHWM). Absent an authorized legislative conveyance, the State retains exclusive title up to that boundary. In this case, the trial court determined that the State holds title to the Lake Michigan shores in trust for the public and concluded that the private property interests at issue here overlap with those of the State. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) Indiana, at statehood, acquired exclusive title to the bed of Lake Michigan up to the natural OHWM; (2) Indiana retains exclusive title up to the natural OHWM of Lake Michigan; and (3) at a minimum, walking along the Lake Michigan shore is a protected activity inherent in the exercise of traditional public trust rights. View "Gunderson v. State" on Justia Law

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The boundary separating public trust land from privately-owned riparian land along the shores of Lake Michigan is the common-law ordinary high water mark (OHWM). Absent an authorized legislative conveyance, the State retains exclusive title up to that boundary. In this case, the trial court determined that the State holds title to the Lake Michigan shores in trust for the public and concluded that the private property interests at issue here overlap with those of the State. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) Indiana, at statehood, acquired exclusive title to the bed of Lake Michigan up to the natural OHWM; (2) Indiana retains exclusive title up to the natural OHWM of Lake Michigan; and (3) at a minimum, walking along the Lake Michigan shore is a protected activity inherent in the exercise of traditional public trust rights. View "Gunderson v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Montana Water Court adjudicating Teton Cooperative Canal Company’s (Teton Canal) water rights on remand from an earlier decision of the Supreme Court. The court held that the Water Court did not commit clear error by (1) apportioning volume limits for Teton Canal’s 1890 water right claims and the junior 1936 Eureka Reservoir claims; (2) removing the Eureka Reservoir as storage under the 1890 notice while allowing the Glendora Reservoir’s storage capacity to be added to the volume limit under the 1890 notice; (3) permitting Teton Canal to store its 1890 direct flow water in the Eureka Reservoir during irrigation season; and (4) allowing Teton Canal a year-round period of diversion for the 1890 notice. View "Teton Coop Canal Co. v. Lower Teton Joint Reservoir Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Montana Water Court adjudicating Teton Cooperative Canal Company’s (Teton Canal) water rights on remand from an earlier decision of the Supreme Court. The court held that the Water Court did not commit clear error by (1) apportioning volume limits for Teton Canal’s 1890 water right claims and the junior 1936 Eureka Reservoir claims; (2) removing the Eureka Reservoir as storage under the 1890 notice while allowing the Glendora Reservoir’s storage capacity to be added to the volume limit under the 1890 notice; (3) permitting Teton Canal to store its 1890 direct flow water in the Eureka Reservoir during irrigation season; and (4) allowing Teton Canal a year-round period of diversion for the 1890 notice. View "Teton Coop Canal Co. v. Lower Teton Joint Reservoir Co." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's summary judgment rulings regarding the County's violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. 1311(a) when it discharged pollutants from its wells into the Pacific Ocean. The panel held that the County was liable under the CWA because the County discharged pollutants from a point source, the pollutants were fairly traceable from the point source to a navigable water such that the discharge was the functional equivalent of a discharge into the navigable water, and the pollutant levels reaching navigable water were more than de minimis. Finally, the CWA provided fair notice of what was prohibited. View "Hawai'i Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui" on Justia Law

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In 2014, the Board adopted proposed modifications to the Truck and Bus Regulation, extending certain deadlines for small fleet operators to comply with the regulations. Respondents filed a writ petition against the Board and others, alleging that the 2014 modifications were improper under both the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and California's Administrative Procedures Act (APA). The Court of Appeal held that the trial court correctly determined that the Board's actions violated CEQA, but that the violations were narrower than found by the trial court. The court also found that the Board's conduct violated the APA, voiding the modified regulations. View "John R. Lawson Rock & Oil, Inc. v. State Air Resources Bd." on Justia Law

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In a challenge to an update of the City's general plan, which included an update to areas designated "Neighborhood Commercial," plaintiff claimed that the City violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by failing to analyze the potential for the land use policy to cause a phenomenon called urban decay. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's judgment denying plaintiff's petition for a writ of mandate, holding that plaintiff failed to present substantial evidence from which a fair argument could be made that there was a reasonable possibility physical urban decay would result from the general plan; the general plan was not intentionally inconsistent; and the City did not violate the planning and zoning law by failing to provide 10 days notice of the October 14 meeting. View "Visalia Retail, LP v. City of Visalia" on Justia Law

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The Ventura River watershed is home to Southern California steelhead trout, a species listed as endangered since 1997. San Buenaventura has been diverting water from the Ventura River since 1870. Channelkeeper sued, alleging that the city’s current diversions are “unreasonable” because of the effect they have on the fish during summer months when water levels are low. The city holds water rights that would otherwise allow it to divert this water, but under the California Constitution there “is no property right in an unreasonable use” of water. The city cross-complained against other entities that draw water from the Ventura River watershed, alleging that their water use is unreasonable. The court of appeal held that the trial court abused its discretion in striking the city’s cross-complaint because the water that the cross-complaint seeks to prevent cross-defendants from using is effectively the same water that Channelkeeper asserts the city must leave in the river for the fish. View "Santa Barbara Channelkeeper v. City of San Buenaventura" on Justia Law