IN case you missed it...

Date01 August 2022
In the Courts
"In the Courts" contains full summaries of court cases reported in ELR Update during the month of June 2022. They are
listed under the following categories: Clim ate Change, Energy, Governance, Natural Resources, Toxic Substances, 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
Louisiana v. Biden, No. 21A658, 52 ELR 20065 (U.S. May
26, 2022). In an emergency order, the U.S. Supreme Court
denied several states’ application to vac ate the Fifth Circuit’s
stay of a district court r uling that had enjoined federa l agen-
cies from implementing interim estimates on the social cost
of greenhouse gas emissions.
Rhode Island v. Shell Oil Products, Co., L.L.C., No. 19-1818 ,
52 ELR 20059 (1st Cir. May 23, 2022). e First Circuit
again a rmed a district cour t order that remanded to state
court Rhode Isla nd’s climate change lawsu it against oil com-
panies. e district court concluded that none of the compa-
nies’ grounds for removal—federa l ocer, federal question,
Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, admiralty, and bank-
ruptcy—were warranted, and remanded back to state court.
e appellate court had armed the district court’s determi-
nation that there was no jurisdic tion under the federal ocer
removal statute, and dismissed the rest of the companies’ ap-
peal for lack of jurisdict ion. e U.S. Supreme Court vacated
the appellate court’s judgment, and remanded in light of its
ruling in BP P.L.C. v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore,
which held that a federal appea ls court is permitted to review
a federal judge’s entire remand order. e appellate court
then considered all of the companies’ bases for removal, but
rejected all of them and armed the district court’s remand
Belmont Municipal Light Department v. Federal Energy Regu-
latory Commission, No. 19-1224, 52 ELR 20069 (D.C. Cir.
June 17, 2022). e D.C. Circuit granted in part and denied
in part petitions to review FERC’s order approving the Inde-
pendent System Operator for New England’s tari revisions
that compensated power plants for mainta ining up to three
days’ worth of fuel on-site to generate electricity during win-
ter months. Utility and environmental g roups argued FERC’s
approval imposed unjust and unreasonable, discriminatory,
and preferential rates, in violation of the Federa l Power Act.
e court found that the revisions eectively addressed a
pressing fuel securit y risk, did not unnecessa rily duplicate
other programs addressin g fuel security in New England, a nd
that the total cost s were reasonable; but that FERC’s approval
of their inclusion of all eligible market pa rticipants—nuclear,
coal, biomass, and hydroelectric—despite record evidence
that they would not change t heir behavior in response to be-
ing compensated was arbitrary and capricious. It granted in
part and denied in pa rt the petitions and remanded to FERC
for further proceedings.
Salisbury, North Carolina , City of v. Federal Energ y Regula-
tory Commission, No. 20-1238, 52 ELR 20068 (D.C. Cir.
June 10, 2022). e D.C. Circuit upheld FERC’s approval
of a dam operator’s ood protection plan for a nearby water
pump station in North Carolina . A city petitioned for review
of FERC’s approval of the plan, a state-imposed condition of
its water quality cert ication under the CWA, which involved
raising the pump station’s equipment rather than building a
new station. e court concluded that FERC adopted the best
interpretation of the condition, that it reasonably concluded
that the plan would enable the station to continue operating
during oods, and th at substantial evidence supported its ap-
proval. It denied the petitions for review.
Commonwealth v. Ex xon Mobil Corp., No. SJC-13211, 52
ELR 20061 (Mass. May 24, 2022). e Massachusetts Su-
preme Court armed a lower court’s denial of an oil and
gas company’s motion to dismiss a civil enforcement action
brought by the Massachusett s attorney general (AG) based
on the company’s communications with investors and con-
sumers concerning the impact of cl imate change. e com-
pany moved to dismiss under the state’s anti-SLAPP statute,
arguing the su it was motivated by its “petitioning” activity.
e AG argued that the anti-SL APP statute did not apply
to the AG but that even if it did, the suit was not brought
in response to petitioning activ ities, but rather for unfair or
deceptive practices. e lower court denied the company’s
motion, nding that at least some of the activ ity alleged was
not “petitioning” within the meani ng of the statute. e high
court armed, but on the a lternate ground that construi ng
Copyright © 2022 Environmental Law Institute®, Washington, DC. Reprinted with permission from ELR®,, 1-800-433-5120.

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