Modrall Sperling Law Firm

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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Wind River Reservation Held Diminished: EPA’s Contrary Determination Set Aside Despite EPA Reliance on Solicitor Opinion

On February 22, 2017, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision finding that the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, established by, as relevant here, an 1896 treaty, was diminished by a 1905 Act of Congress in which the Eastern Shoshone…

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EPA Publishes Final Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule

On November 28, 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) published the final RCRA Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule (“HWGI Rule”). See 81 FR 85732, November 28, 2016. The HWGI Rule is one of the most significant and comprehensive hazardous waste rulemakings that…

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BLM’s Venting and Flaring Proposal

On February 8, 2016, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) published its proposed rule concerning Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation in the Federal Register (the “Proposed Rule” or “proposal”).  See 81 Fed. Reg. 25, at 6616-6686, available at http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en.html.  While the…

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New Rules and Draft Policy on Critical Habitat Designations

On February 5, 2016, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (“NOAA”) finalized two rules and a draft policy that renovate how the agencies implement critical habitat designation requirements under the…

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New Mexico Mining Commission Narrowly Expands Minimal Impact Permitting Opportunities for Certain Mining Operations

On April 20, 2016, the New Mexico Mining Commission (“NMMC”) conducted a hearing to consider a rule change to the New Mexico Mining Act Reclamation Program (“MARP”) regulations.  The New Mexico Mining Association (“NMMA”) proposed the rule change to expand eligibility for…

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CERCLA Claims against United States and Laguna Pueblo Entities Dismissed

Introduction In a series of early 2016 decisions issued in Atlantic Richfield Co. v. U.S., et. al., Case No. 1:15-cv-00056, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico dismissed claims for cost recovery and contribution asserted by Atlantic Richfield Co. (“ARCO”)…

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Deal or no Deal? – Partial Dismissal of CERCLA Claims Against United States and Tribal Entities

Three companion decisions in Atlantic Richfield Co. v. U.S. et. al., Case No. 1:15-cv-00056, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, provide insight on the CERCLA statute of limitations, potential pitfalls in pleading CERCLA claims, and the defense of…

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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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Scientific Opinions: Differences Between Federal and New Mexico Law

In a recent opinion, Acosta v. Shell Western Exploration & Production, Inc., No. S-1-SC-33884, slip op. (N.M. Sup. Ct. March 3, 2016), the New Mexico Supreme Court reversed a decision by a state district court to exclude expert opinion testimony in a toxic…

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