Modrall Sperling Law Firm

Executive Order on the Clean Water Rule

The Presidential Executive Order on Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the “Waters of the Unites States” (WOTUS) Rule issued on February 28, 20171 articulated the Trump administration’s policy on navigable waters, and attempted to roll back…

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Executive Order Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects

On his second day in office, President Trump issued several executive orders and memoranda intended to overhaul the environmental review and approval process for pipeline and other infrastructure projects. Among them was EO 13755, intended to expedite environmental reviews and approvals for…

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Tule Wind Farm Passes NEPA Test, Again

On March 6, 2017, the United States District Court for the Southern District of California rejected a challenge to a wind project in southeastern San Diego County, with known potential impacts to golden eagles.1 The project consisted of two phases, Phase I which…

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The U.S. Supreme Court Confirms You Can Challenge the Corps’ Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Determination Without First Going Through a Permit or Enforcement Process

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously held that a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (“Corps”) “approved jurisdictional determination” (“approved JD”) under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) is a final agency action judicially reviewable under the Administrative Procedure Act[1. 5…


The FAST Act Seeks to Expedite Multi-Agency NEPA Compliance for Large Infrastructure Projects

A new law offers the prospect of faster Federal approvals and limitations on judicial challenges for certain large infrastructure projects that must comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”).  In December 2015, Congress enacted and President Obama signed into law the…

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Can You Challenge the Corps’ Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Determinations Without First Going Through the Permit Process?

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to review an appeal from a decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that found that the Corps of Engineers’ Approved Jurisdictional Determinations (“JD”) are final agency actions and are immediately appealable under the…

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The Clean Water Rule: Troubled Waters Ahead for the EPA and Corps

Two federal courts have preliminarily halted the enforceability of the “Clean Water Rule”[1. 80 Fed. Reg. 37,054 (June 29, 2015), available here.]  promulgated jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) to define anew “waters…

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Federal District Court Upholds Uranium Mining Within a Traditional Cultural Property Without Further NEPA Review and With Abbreviated NHPA Consultation

On April 7, 2015, in Grand Canyon Trust v. Williams,[1. No. CV-13-08045-PCT-DGC, 2015 WL 1538084 (D. Ariz. Apr. 7, 2015).] the United States District Court for the District of Arizona granted summary judgment to the U.S. Forest Service (“USFS”) on claims brought by…

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Final Clean Water Act Rulemaking: What is a Water of the United States?

Final Rule Issued:  On May 26, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) issued their final rule defining the scope of “waters of the United States” regulated under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”).[1. The pre-publication version…


Colorado District Court Requires Coal Mine EIS to Estimate the “Social Cost of Carbon”

In an order issued on Friday, June 27, 2014, the Honorable R. Brooke Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado overturned “three interconnected” decisions by the U.S. Forest Service (“USFS”) and the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”)…

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