Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss an action brought by the Sierra Club under the Clean Water Act, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Sierra Club alleged that Construx was engaged in "industrial activity" within the meaning of the Act without a permit. The court held that Construx's business activity, which involved recycling debris and waste and subsequently wholesaling aggregate materials it has crushed from that debris and waste, was "industrial activity" within the meaning of the Act. Therefore, Sierra Club's allegations were sufficient to demonstrate, at the pleading stage, that Construx was engaged in "industrial activity," notwithstanding that part of its business could also be classified as activity not subject to the Act. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Sierra Club v. Con-Strux, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit denied a petition for review of EPA's final rule promulgated under section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act, establishing requirements for cooling water intake structures at existing facilities, as well as a biological opinion jointly issued by the Services at the close of formal Endangered Species Act consultation on the rule. The court held that the final rule and the biological opinion were based on reasonable interpretations of the applicable statutes and sufficiently supported the factual record. The court also held that EPA gave adequate notice of its rulemaking. The court considered petitioners' remaining arguments and held that they were without merit. View "Cooling Water Intake Structure Coal. v. EPA" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of a motion for partial summary judgment dismissing plaintiff's claims of nuisance, trespass, and negligence arising from water contamination as barred by the statute of limitations. The court held that the statute of limitations began to run when the water district learned of the potential need to remediate, or at least when a reasonable water provider would have taken action to protect the water. In this case, the court agreed with the district court that the record established as a matter of law that the water district had suffered injury and was aware of that injury before November 2010. Therefore, the water district's claims for damages arising from contamination of Plant 4 was barred by the statute of limitations. Furthermore, the water district's claims regarding radium were also time-barred where there was a seven year gap between the discovery of the injury and the discovery of the source of the injury. View "Bethpage Water District v. Northrop Grumman Corp." on Justia Law

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Constitution petitioned for review of the Department's decision denying its application for certification pursuant to Section 401 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, more commonly known as the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. 1341. Constitution sought certification that its proposed interstate natural gas pipeline would comply with New York State water quality standards. NYSDEC denied the application on the ground that Constitution had not provided sufficient information. The Second Circuit held that, to the extent Constitution challenged the timeliness of the NYSDEC decision, the petition was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. On the merits, the court held that NYSDEC's actions were within its statutory authority and that its decision was not arbitrary or capricious. The court deferred to NYSDEC's expertise as to the significance of the information requested from Constitution, given the record evidence supporting the relevance of that information to NYSDEC's certification determination. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "Constitution Pipeline Co. v. New York Sate Department of Environmental Conservation" on Justia Law

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The Water District appealed from the district court's judgment in a consolidated multidistrict litigation granting summary judgment to BP and Shell on the ground that the Water District's suit was barred by res judicata arising from 2002 and 2005 settlements. Claims against BP and Shell for MTBE contamination had been brought by the Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) in 1999 and were settled in 2002 and 2005 respectively. The Second Circuit vacated and remanded the Water District's claims against BP and Shell, holding that the Water District and OCDA were not in privity. View "In re Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBA) Products Liability Litigation" on Justia Law