Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

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The Corps and Bayou Bridge appealed the district court's grant of a preliminary injunction preventing Bayou Bridge from constructing a pipeline in part through the Atchafalaya Basin of southern Louisiana. The Fifth Circuit vacated the preliminary injunction, holding that the district court misperceived the applicable regulations, and the Corps' analysis, properly understood, vindicated its decision that an environmental assessment sufficed under these circumstances. In this case, the environmental assessments concerning the permit did not exhibit the Supreme Court's criteria for an arbitrary and capricious decision. Furthermore, the district court abused its discretion by misapplying applicable legal principles and by inadvertently but critically overlooking the Louisiana Wetland Rapid Assessment Method. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Atchafalaya Basinkeeper v. U.S. Army Corps" on Justia Law

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Front Street filed a citizen suit under the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. 7604, to enjoin Mississippi Silicon from constructing a silicon plant. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the claim against Mississippi Silicon where section 7604(a)(3) did not authorize suits against facilities that have either obtained a permit or were in the process of doing so, and thus it did not apply here. The court held, however, that the district court should not have dismissed the claims against MDEQ based on the time-of-filing rule. In this case, Front Street has cited no decision in which the Supreme Court or a Circuit Court has held that the time-of-filing rule applies to facts like those in the present case. The court rejected Mississippi Silicon's argument that Front Street lacked standing to appeal their claim against MDEQ. Finally, the court denied Mississippi Silicon's motion for attorneys' fees. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "16 Front Street, LLC v. Mississippi Silicon, LLC" on Justia Law

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Front Street filed a citizen suit under the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. 7604, to enjoin Mississippi Silicon from constructing a silicon plant. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the claim against Mississippi Silicon where section 7604(a)(3) did not authorize suits against facilities that have either obtained a permit or were in the process of doing so, and thus it did not apply here. The court held, however, that the district court should not have dismissed the claims against MDEQ based on the time-of-filing rule. In this case, Front Street has cited no decision in which the Supreme Court or a Circuit Court has held that the time-of-filing rule applies to facts like those in the present case. The court rejected Mississippi Silicon's argument that Front Street lacked standing to appeal their claim against MDEQ. Finally, the court denied Mississippi Silicon's motion for attorneys' fees. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "16 Front Street, LLC v. Mississippi Silicon, LLC" on Justia Law

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ExxonMobil’s 859-mile long Pegasus Pipeline transports crude oil from Patoka, Illinois to Nederland, Texas. In March 2013, it ruptured, spilling several thousand barrels of oil near Mayflower, Arkansas. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, within the U.S. Department of Transportation, conducted an investigation and concluded that ExxonMobil violated several pipeline safety regulations under the Pipeline Safety Act, 49 U.S.C. 60101. Specifically, the agency found that the integrity management program (IMP) plan had not properly accounted for the risk of longitudinal seam failure and that this was a contributing factor in the Mayflower release. The agency assessed a $2.6 million civil penalty and ordered ExxonMobil to take certain actions to ensure compliance with those regulations. The Fifth Circuit vacated certain items in the order. Finding that it owed no deference to the agency’s interpretation of the regulation, the court concluded that ExxonMobil reasonably applied 49 CFR 195.452(e)(1)’s instruction to “consider” all relevant risk factors in making its pipeline susceptibility determination. The court remanded with an instruction to reevaluate the basis for the penalty associated with another violation. View "ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. v. United States Department of Transportation" on Justia Law