Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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In the 1990s, the EPA and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources investigated the Lower Fox River's contamination by polychlorinated biphenyls and developed a cleanup plan under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. The final plan proposed cleanup in stages, by dredging and capping at an estimated cost of $700 million. Under CERCLA, the parties (PRPs) responsible for the contamination are required to pay for remediation. Paper manufacturers NCR and Appvion have funded the cleanup. Other companies, including Glatfelter, also were named as PRPs and agreed to perform remedial work. In 2007, the EPA ordered the PRPs to begin remedial work in the final units. NCR and Appvion undertook remedial efforts, then sued other PRPs, including Glatfelter. In 2014, the Seventh Circuit remanded that cost recovery action, which remains pending. Glatfelter sought discovery relating to Appvion’s costs from Appvion and Windward (an English entity, conducting Appvion’s defense). Glatfelter issued a subpoena to Windward at its attorney’s address. Windward’s counsel claimed that Windward was not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. federal courts. Glatfelter then instituted an ancillary proceeding. The district court denied the motion to compel. The Seventh Circuit dismissed appeals for lack of jurisdiction; a discovery order in an ancillary proceeding is not subject to interlocutory appeal when entered by the same district court that is presiding over the main action. View "P.H. Glatfelter Co. v. Windward Prospects Ltd." on Justia Law

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O’Malley is serving 10 years in prison for violating the Clean Air Act by improperly removing and disposing of insulation containing regulated asbestos, 42 U.S.C. 7413(c)(1). After the Seventh Circuit upheld his convictions on direct appeal, O’Malley filed what he called a motion under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 33(b)(1) for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence. That rule authorizes a district court to grant a timely request for a new trial “if the interest of justice so requires.” The district court concluded that O’Malley’s submission contained constitutional theories that, the court reasoned, are incompatible with Rule 33 and cognizable only under 28 U.S.C. 2255 and that the remainder of O’Malley’s motion could not entitle him to relief under Rule 33, because the new evidence, purportedly discrediting a prosecution witness, was not material. The Seventh Circuit vacated, concluding that the entirety of O’Malley’s submission was within the scope of Rule 33(b)(1) even if his theories overlap with section 2255 and that the district court should have respected his choice between these available means of relief. View "United States v. O'Malley" on Justia Law

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Study of the I-69 extension between Evansville and Indianapolis began in 1944. The 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Act designated a new route from Indianapolis to Memphis,, via Evansville as a “high priority corridor” for development. As the project progressed, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) divided the project into two “tiers” for environmental analysis. After the plans were finalized, construction work on the six sections of Tier 2 began; 90 percent of the work on the extension is complete. The FHWA and Indiana Department of Transportation issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Tier 2, Section 4, in 2010. A Final Environmental Impact Statement and a Record of Decision issued in 2011. The agencies selected the final route and construction plan for Section 4 after reviewing 48 options and produced a record reflecting consideration of impact on historic sites, geological formations, and air-quality, among other factors. Pursuant to its obligations under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service engaged in consultation and issued a Biological Opinion regarding the possible impact of tree-clearing on the endangered Indiana bat. Opponents filed suit. After a lengthy period of inactivity by Plaintiffs, including several missed case management deadlines, the district court granted summary judgment upholding the approvals. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. View "Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads v. Foxx" on Justia Law

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FutureGen sought to use carbon capture and storage to develop the world’s first near‐zero emissions coal power plant in Morgan County, Illinois. Geologic sequestration, part of the process of carbon capture and storage, involves injection of carbon dioxide into deep subsurface rock formations for storage, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere and mitigate climate change. Injection activities are prohibited until authorized by permit under 40 C.F.R. 144.31. In 2013 FutureGen sought permits to construct four Class VI underground injection control wells and inject approximately 22 million metric tons of carbon dioxideover a 20‐year period. The EPA issued draft permits in 2014. Landowners submitted written comments challenging the permits during the public comment period. The Environmental Appeals Board denied an appeal. The EPA issued final permits in 2015. The U.S. Department of Energy then suspended funding for the FutureGen project authorized by the permits. After exhausting avenues to reinstate funding, FutureGen determined that it would not proceed with the project. After the EPA and FutureGen submitted confirmed that the permits have expired, the Seventh Circuit dismissed an appeal as moot. View "DJL Farm LLC v. Envt'l Protection Agency" on Justia Law