Several Important Environmental Decisions Before the Appellate Courts


The following important U.S. District Court decisions are being appealed to the Fifth and Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals:

  • Louisiana District Court says no go to suit against 88 oil and gas companies. On May 20, 2015, another important environmental appeal was filed with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case is Board of Commissioners of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Control Authority – East v. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, LLC, et al., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18461 (February 13, 2015). In February 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana dismissed a major lawsuit that the Board of Commissioners filed against 88 oil and gas companies operating in South Louisiana for many years. The lawsuit, filed in state court and removed to federal court, alleges that the oil and gas operations of the defendants, in particular the construction and operation of canals located in the jurisdiction of the plaintiff levee boards, caused significant coastal erosion which in turn caused the destruction of thousands of acres of coastal lands.
  • Texas District Court shows Clean Air Act citizen suit the door. In December 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued a ruling in Environment Texas Citizen Lobby, Inc., et al. v. ExxonMobil Corporation, et al., rejecting the Clean Air Act citizen suit claims filed against ExxonMobil with respect to its operation of the large Baytown, Texas petrochemical complex. This is one of the few cases to be tried before a court, and now, on May 15, 2015, an appeal has been filed with the Fifth Circuit by the plaintiffs. The Case No. is 15-20030, and, again, the brief is very long and comprehensive.
  • Not your dog? Last November, the U.S. District Court for Utah ruled that the federal government does not have the constitutional authority to regulate the “taking” of the Utah prairie dog–a species located only in Utah–on non-federal land. The species has, however, been listed as an endangered
  • species since 1973. The decision, People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, et al., has been appealed to the Tenth Circuit, and the Justice Department has now filed a very comprehensive brief in this matter; the Case No. is 14-4165.