Indian Fishermen Hail US Supreme Court Decision to Hear World Bank Suit
Farmers and fishermen in western India have welcomed a U.S. Supreme Court decision to hear their lawsuit against a World Bank agency, which financed a power plant they blame for damaging the environment and their livelihoods.The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an appeal by the villagers of a lower court ruling that the International Finance Corp (IFC) was immune from such lawsuits under federal law.The court must now consider for the first time whether international organisations are immune from such suits under federal law…
US Energy Dept OKs Cove Point LNG Export
The U.S. Energy Department said Thursday it has given the final approval for Dominion Resources to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its Cove Point, Maryland plant. The Cove Point plant is investing $3.8 billion in new infrastructure to ship up to 0.77 billion cubic feet of LNG starting late in 2017 to countries with which the United States does not have free trade agreements. The DOE said it conducted "an extensive careful review" of Dominion's applications and considered the economic…
Enormous Sunken Treasure Claim Conceded, Thirty Years On
Government of Colombia lawyers concede salvage company Sea Search Armada to be rightful owner of 50% of treasure proceeds. Lawyers representing the Government of Colombia (GOC) admitted recently in a U.S. court that Sea Search Armada (SSA), engaged in a long-running suit with Colombia, was the rightful owner of 50 percent of the proceeds of perhaps the most valuable sunken treasure in history. This is the first time representatives of the government have conceded this point in over 30 years of legal wrangling. The admission came in oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Washington, D.C. over the validity of SSA's suit.
Treasure Hunters File Another Suit Against Columbia
Sea Search Armada's (SSA) lawsuit against the Government of Colombia in U.S. District Court, Washington D.C. claims it interfered with SSA's legitimate treasure salvage operations. The galleon San Jose carried coins and precious metals mined and smelted in Peru, and valued by experts to between $4 billion and $17 billion. The ship was sunk outside Cartagena, Colombia in 1708. In 1980, a marine salvage operation was mounted by a group now owned by SSA with the permission and participation of the Colombian government (GOC). After discovering the San Jose wreck site and notifying the GOC, the Colombians reneged on their agreement to share proceeds of any recovered treasure. In 1984, the Colombian Parliament enacted a law eliminating SSA’s claims to its property.
Revised OCS Oil & Gas Leasing Program
The Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) published a Federal Register notice requesting comments on the Preliminary Revised 2007-2012 Five-Year Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for lease sales covering the 2007-2012 timeframe. The comment period will be open through May 3, 2010. The Preliminary Revised Program was required by order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Dept. of Interior, D.C. Per the Court’s direction, the MMS re-analyzed all 26 OCS planning areas to better determine the relative environmental sensitivity of offshore oil and gas development.
US Top Court Upholds Cross-State Air Pollution Rule
The U.S. Supreme Court handed President Barack Obama a victory on Tuesday by upholding a federal environmental regulation requiring some states to limit pollution that contributes to unhealthy air in neighboring states. By a 6-2 vote, the court said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acted reasonably in requiring 28 states to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which can lead to soot and smog. Writing for the majority, Justice…
EPA not Required to Exceed MARPOL Standards
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not required by the Clean Air Act (CAA) to immediately set emission standards for marine diesel engines higher than the standards provided for in MARPOL Annex VI. In the instant case, an environmental advocacy group sued the EPA after that agency promulgated a regulation that adopted the MARPOL standard for large marine diesel engines. Plaintiffs argued that the CAA is a technology-forcing statute, requiring the EPA to adopt standards higher than those already in existence. The court, noting that the EPA had adopted a two-step approach calling for potentially higher standards in 2007, ruled that the agency’s decision was not arbitrary. Bluewater Network v.
Port Captains, Port Engineers Not Managerial Employees
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that port captains and port engineers are not managerial employees for purpose of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In the instant case, a labor union filed a representation petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seeking an election to become the exclusive bargaining agent for the port captains and port engineers employed by the employer. The employer opposed the petition and, when the NLRB ordered an election and the union won, the employer refused to bargain. The employer sought judicial review of the NLRB order. After reviewing the duties of the port captains and port engineers…
Appeal By Pilot Association Disallowed
In another chapter (or paragraph) of the long-running disagreement between the association of U.S. pilots operating on the Great Lakes and the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the pilots’ association may not appeal a lower court decision to remand a rate dispute to the agency. Lake Pilots Association, Inc. v. U.S. Coast Guard, No. 03-5152 (D.C. Cir., March 9, 2004). (HK Law)
FMC Upheld on Claim of Unreasonably Refusing to Deal or Negotiate
In an unpublished decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied a petition for review sought by a stevedoring company of a decision of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). In a matter before the agency, the FMC had ruled that a marine terminal operator had not unreasonably refused to deal or negotiate with the stevedoring company. In its decision, the court ruled that the FMC decision was supported by substantial evidence and was consistent with past precedent. Source: HK Law
FMC – Petition for Stay Denied in PRPA Case
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) released the order of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) denying the petition of Puerto Rico Ports Authority (PRPA) for a stay pending its appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The issue involves the claim by PRPA that it is an arm of the Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and, thus, entitled to sovereign immunity. The Commission ruled against PRPA on that issue. The PRPA has appealed to the federal appellate court and sought a stay of the FMC enforcement action pending a decision from the court. The ALJ has now denied the petition for a stay, but has authorized PRPA to immediately appeal that denial to the Commission. Source: HK Law
Salazar Statement on Leasing Court Ruling
U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued the following statement regarding the U.S. “I am pleased with the Court’s decision. Consistent with the Department’s request, the Court clarified that its prior ruling only applies to the Chukchi, Beaufort and Bering Seas. On April 17, 2009 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the entire 2007-2012 Outer Continental Shelf oil and natural gas leasing program, ruling that Bush Administration officials did not conduct sufficient scientific and environmental analysis before scheduling oil and gas lease sales on the Outer Continental Shelf off Alaska. The ruling came two years after lease sales had begun under the 2007-2012 OCS oil and natural gas leasing program.