In case you missed it...

Date01 February 2022
In the Courts
"In the Courts" contains full summaries of court cases reported in ELR Update during the month of December 2021. They
are listed under the following categories: Clima te Change, Governance, Land Use, Natural Resources, Water, and Wild-
life. The summaries are then arranged alphabe tically by case name within each category. To access ELR's entire collection
of court cases and summaries, visit
Truck Trailer Manufacturers Ass’n v. Environmental Protec-
tion Agency, No. 16-1430, 51 ELR 20196 (D.C. Cir. Nov. 12,
2021). e D.C. Circuit granted a trade group’s petition to
review a 2016 rule issued by EPA and the National Highway
Trac Safety Administration that set greenhouse gas emis-
sions and fuel eciency standards for medium- and heavy-
duty engines and vehicles. e g roup challenged the agencies’
authority to regulate heavy-duty trailers under the ru le. e
court found that tra ilers were not motor vehicles under the
CAA be cause they had no motor and were not self-propelled.
It further found that tra ilers were not subject to the fuel ef-
ciency improvement program under the Energy Indepen-
dence and Security Act because they did not use f uel and
thus did not have fuel economy. e court therefore granted
the petition and vacated al l portions of the rule that applied
to trailers.
AquAlliance v. United States B ureau of Reclamation, No. 21-
632 (JEB), 51 ELR 20203 (D.D.C. Dec. 8, 2021). A district
court granted sum mary judgment for the Bureau of Reclama-
tion in a FOIA lawsuit brought by a company seeking sum-
maries of certain water transfers. e company requested a
summary of tr ansfers taking place in 2 020 under the Bureau’s
and San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority’s Long-
Term Water Transfer program, listing what the sum mary
should contain. e Bureau determined no such summary
existed in its records, but said it would compile and ma ke
available certa in information regarding water transfers later
in the year. e company led suit, ass erting that t he Bureau
should have conducted a more in-depth search of its records
for the information. e court found that while documents
might exist that contain some of the sought information, the
company did not describe what they could be a nd conceded
that they were not summaries. Moreover, to the extent that
the company would like the Bureau to “create” a summa ry
using this information, it is well established that agencies are
under no obligation to do so. e court granted the Bureau’s
motion for summary judgment.
Natural Resources Defense Council v. United States Environ-
mental Protection Agency, No. 20- 422, 51 ELR 20201 (2d
Cir. Nov. 29, 2021). e Second Circuit reversed in part and
vacated in part a district court ruling that ordered EPA to
disclose records pursua nt to a FOIA request related to a for-
mer Agency ocial’s role in pesticide policymaking. A n en-
vironmental group submitted FOIA requests for t he records,
and EPA invoked the deliberative process privilege to prevent
disclosure of most of them. e group led suit, and t he dis-
trict court ordered the Agenc y to produce 28 of the records
it withheld. e appellate court found that 11 of the records
were protected by the deliberative process privilege because
they reected deliberations over how to communicate w ith
people outside the Agency about existi ng policies and thus
involved “the formulation or exercise of policy-oriented judg-
ment,” but that it could not ascertain the remaining records’
deliberative character from the record. It reversed the district
court’s decision denying EPA summary judgment with re-
spect to the 11 records, vacated its order requiring the Agenc y
to disclose the other records, and rema nded to the Agency for
further proceedings.
Alaska v. United States Department of Agriculture, No. 17-
5260, 51 ELR 20197 (D.C. Cir. Nov. 16, 2021). e D.C.
Circuit dismissed a s moot Alaska’s challenge to the Forest
Service’s 2001 Roadless Rule. e cha llenge centered on the
Roadless Rule’s impact on the Tongass National Forest, which
USDA exempted from the rule in 2020, but the state argued
it should be allowed to proceed because t he exemption might
be repealed and becau se of the rule’s ongoing application to
the Chugach National Forest. e court found it inappropri-
ate to speculate about future actions by policymakers to de-
termine whether the rule would be reapplied to t he Tongass,
and that the state failed to show what harm it faced due to
the rule’s application to the Chugach. It dismissed A laska’s
challenge as moot.
Copyright © 2022 Environmental Law Institute®, Washington, DC. Reprinted with permission from ELR®,, 1-800-433-5120.

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