Articles Posted in Environmental Law

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In 2010, The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) issued a prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) construction permit to Sunflower Electric Power Corporation that authorized Sunflower to build a coal-fired electric generating unit at a site where Sunflower already operates a coal-fired station. In Sierra Club I, the Supreme Court held that KDHE had failed to comply with the federal Clean Air Act and remanded the permit to KDHE. On remand, KDHE issued an addendum to the 2010 permit. Sierra Club sought judicial review of that action, arguing, inter alia, that KDHE was required to conduct an entirely new permitting process rather than simply crafting an addendum to the 2010 permit. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) KDHE did not err in adding an addendum to the 2010 permit; and (2) Sierra Club failed to establish any other basis for invalidating Sunflower’s PSD permit. View "Sierra Club v. Mosier" on Justia Law

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The Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment decided to issue an air emission source construction to permit Sunflower Power Corporation for the construction of a coal-fired power plant at the site of Sunflower's existing plant. Sierra Club contended that the permit failed to comply with the requirements of the Clean Air Act, implementing federal regulations, the Kansas Air Quality Act (KAQA), and applicable Kansas Administrative Regulations. The Supreme Court reversed the KDHE's action of issuing the permit, holding that the KDHE erroneously interpreted and applied the CAA and the KAQA when it failed to apply the regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding emission limits for nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide during the permitting process, as the CAA, KAWA and implementing regulations required the KDHE to apply the EPA regulations during the permitting process. View "Sierra Club v. Moser" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was 4.5 miles of a railroad right-of-way that was railbanked and is now operated as a recreational trail. The appeal focused on the relationship between the Kansas Recreational Trails Act (KRTA) and the National Trails System Act (Trails Act), specifically: (1) whether the Trails Act preempts KRTA, (2) whether KRTA violates equal protection rights, and (3) whether the district court has jurisdiction to set the amount of bond required under KRTA. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court, holding that (1) a bond requirement and setting of a bond do not create a conflict with the Trails Act; (2) because KRTA does not provide a benefit to local competitors or burden local, nonpublic competitors, KRTA is not preempted because it violates the dormant Commerce Clause; (3) KRTA does not violate equal protection rights by establishing statutory requirements for interim recreational trails in railroad rights-of-way that differ from other categories of recreational trails that result from the terms of the Trails Act; and (4) the district court did have jurisdiction to set the amount of the bond and to require the appellant, Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy, to pay the bond. View "Board of Miami County Comm'rs v. Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy" on Justia Law