Environmental Law & Property Rights
- Air Quality
- Energy & Natural Resources
- Enforcement & Compliance
- Hazardous Waste & Toxic Tort
- Land Use
- Water Quality
- Wetlands & Endangered Species
|Second Annual Executive Branch Review Conference|
|Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District and Its Implications for Takings Law|
The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District is one of the most significant and decisive victories for property owners in decades. In broad terms, the Court’s opinion recognizes that the Takings Clause of the U.S. Constitution places strict limits on the all-too-common municipal practice of exacting money from land-use applicants to fund unrelated public projects. The decision holds that the government cannot use the land-use permit process to compel landowners to give up land, money, or any other property as the “price” of obtaining development approval, unless the government can show that its demand is necessary to mitigate some harmful impact caused by the proposed land use....[Read Now!]
|Court to Rule on Greenhouse Gases - Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA - Podcast|
On Monday, February 24, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the highly anticipated greenhouse gas case, Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency. The issue at hand is whether the EPA permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gases. In adopting the regulations now before the Court, the EPA construed specialized provisions of the Clean Air Act designed primarily to regulate a limited number of air pollutants for which the EPA has established “National Ambient Air Quality Standards” to apply to any airborne compound regulated under any provision of the Clean Air Act, including carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. To avoid the costs and administrative burdens that would otherwise result from this interpretation, the EPA purported to alter specific numerical permitting thresholds that Congress had written into the Clean Air Act. Additionally, the EPA claimed the power to make further alterations to these thresholds on an ongoing basis. Our expert offered a summary and his impressions of the oral arguments.
|Rails to Trails - Who Owns the Property Interest?: Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States - Podcast|
Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States involves the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875 ("1875 Act"), under which thousands of miles of rights-of-way exist across the United States. In Great Northern Ry. Co. v. United States, 315 U.S. 262 (1942), the Supreme Court held that 1875 Act rights-of-way are easements and not limited fees with an implied reversionary interest. Based upon the 1875 Act and the Court's decisions, the Federal and Seventh Circuits have concluded that the United States did not retain an implied reversionary interest in 1875 Act rights-of-way after the underlying lands were patented into private ownership. In this case, the Tenth Circuit reached the opposite conclusion and acknowledged that its decision would continue a circuit split. Did the United States retain an implied reversionary interest in 1875 Act rights-of way after the underlying lands were patented into private ownership? Our experts attended oral arguments and offered their impressions to a live Teleforum audience.
|EPA in the US Supreme Court: EPA v. EME Homer City Generation - Podcast|
On Tuesday, December 10, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in EPA v. EME Homer City Generation. The Court will be deciding a number of questions: (1) Whether the court of appeals lacked jurisdiction to consider challenges to the Clean Air Act on which it granted relief; (2) whether states are excused from adopting state implementation plans prohibiting emissions that “contribute significantly” to air pollution problems in other states until after the EPA has adopted a rule quantifying each state’s inter-state pollution obligations; and (3) whether the EPA permissibly interpreted the statutory term “contribute significantly” so as to define each upwind state’s “significant” interstate air pollution contributions in light of the cost-effective emission reductions it can make to improve air quality in polluted downwind areas, or whether the Act instead unambiguously requires the EPA to consider only each upwind state’s physically proportionate responsibility for each downwind air quality problem. Mark DeLaquil attended oral arguments and offered his impressions to a live Courthouse Steps Teleforum audience.