52021 ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REPORTER 51 ELR 10441
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT . . .
In the Courts
"In the Courts" contains full summaries of court cases reported in ELR Update during the month of March 2021. They are
listed under the following categories: Air, Climate Change, Energy, Governance, Land Use, Natural Resources, Water,
and Wildlife. The summaries are then arranged a lphabetically by case name within each category. To access ELR's entire
collection of court cases and summaries, visit https://ww w.elr.info/judicial.
New Jersey v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 08-1065,
51 ELR 20037 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 5, 2021). e D.C. Circuit
denied, 2-1, New Jersey’s challenge to a rule promulgated by
EPA on remand concerning the CA A’s ne w source review
(NSR) program. e state arg ued that EPA inadequately con-
sidered concerns stemming from the predict ive and subjective
nature of projected emissions calcu lations and adopted an ar-
bitrary percentage tr igger. e court found that the record
demonstrated EPA adequately considered the enforcement
problems and oered a rational basis for adopting the 50%
trigger. It therefore denied the state’s petition for review.
Honolulu, City & Count y of v. Sunoco LP, Nos. 1:20-cv-
00163-DKW-RT and 1:20 -cv-00470-DKW KJM, 51 ELR
20043 (9th Cir. Mar. 13, 2021). e Ninth Circu it denied oil
companies’ motions to stay a district court order remanding
to state court two lawsu its alleging the companies concealed
the dangers of fossil f uels to the climate. e companies a r-
gued that if the suits were rema nded, they would be required
to litigate the merits of Honolulu’s and Maui’s claims in state
court simultaneously wit h these appellate proceedings, which
would lead to increased litigation burdens a nd possible ine-
ciencies if the court later nds t he suits were properly removed
to federal court. e cour t found that such considerations did
not rise to the level of irreparable harm, a nd further, that the
companies had failed to make a sucient showing on the
merits. It therefore denied the companies’ motions to stay.
Public Service Electric and Gas Co. v. Federal Energ y Regu-
latory Commission, No. 19-1091, 51 ELR 20035 (D.C. Cir.
Mar. 2, 2021). e D.C. Circuit denied pet itions to review
three FERC orders concerning cost-sharing for certain up-
grades to the Mid-Atlantic elec tricity transmission grid. Pe-
titioners argued the Commission departed from precedent
without adequate explanation, made ndings that were not
supported by substantial evidence, and failed to respond
meaningfully to objections raised during the proceedings.
e court concluded that FERC reasonably decided to adopt
a dierent cost-allocation method for the t ype of project at
issue and adequately explained its departure from the cost
allocations it had approved in 2016. It therefore denied the
petitions for review.
Center for Biological Diver sity v. Bureau of Land Management,
No. 17-1208 (BAH), 51 ELR 20039 (D.D.C. Mar. 9, 2021).
A district court denied motions for summary judgment in a
lawsuit seeking FOIA d isclosure of records regardi ng an or-
der issued by the Secretar y of the Interior concerning the fed-
eral coal progra m. An environmental group argued that DOI
failed to conduct an adequate sea rch for responsive records,
failed to promptly disclose records responsive to the group’s
request, and failed to provide reasonably segregable portions
of any responsive records exempt from disclosure. e cour t
found that genuine issues ex isted as to the adequacy of DOI’s
search for responsive records that precluded summary judg-
ment for either party. It therefore remanded to DOI to either
supplement its declarations or undertake additiona l searches
for responsive records.
Texas Ass’n of Manufacturers v. United States Consumer Prod-
uct Safety Commission, No. 17-60836, 51 ELR 20033 (5th
Cir. Mar. 1, 2021). e Fifth Circuit upheld a rule issued by
the Consumer Product Safety C ommission prohibiting the
manufacture a nd sale of children’s toys and childcare art icles
that contained concentrations of more than 0.1% of a ny one
of ve phthalates, but remanded the ru le to the Commission
to address two procedura l errors in its promu lgation. Chemi-
cal industry trade groups argued the Commission failed to
give an adequate opportunity for comment, failed to apply
the proper procedural standa rds, redened the substa ntive
standards, a nd arbitrarily and capriciously applied the scien-
tic data. e Commi ssion moved to dismiss or transfer for
lack of jurisdiction. e court held that it had jurisdiction
to review the rule because it was dened by Congress a s a
consumer product safety st andard, and that the Commission
Copyright © 2021 Environmental Law Institute®, Washington, DC. Reprinted with permission from ELR®, http://www.eli.org, 1-800-433-5120.