Professor Freeman and Professor Lazarus discussed on the significant environmental cases of last year’s Supreme Court term in a panel moderated by Environmental Law Institute (ELI) President, John C. Cruden. Profressor Freeman began by discussing City of Arlington v. FCC, a non-environmetnal case with significant import for environmental law, where a sharply divided Court held that courts must apply Chevron deference to an agency’s interpretation of its own jurisdiction over a matter. Next, Professor Freeman explained the import of American Trucking Associations v. City of Los Angeles, which held that federal law preempted environmentally-friendly concession agreements between trucking companies and the Port of Los Angeles. Professor Lazarus then discussed Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center and County of Los Angeles v. Natural Resources Defense Council, both of which concerned the application of the Clean Water Act to stormwater discharges. He also addressed the implications of Kootnz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, a case where the Supreme Court expanded its taking scrutiny of state wetlands regulation.
Professor Lazarus and Freeman also both hypothesized about the court’s upcoming term, which has the potential to be even more significant than last year’s term. Professor Freeman explained the pending certiorari petitions in Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, including nine petitions that challenge EPA’s promulgation of rules regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act in the aftermath of the Court’s 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA. The Court has already granted review in EPA v. EME Homer City, and Professor Lazarus discussed potential outcomes, as EPA seeks reversal of the D.C. Circuit’s invalidation of the agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, regulating interstate air pollution. Lastly, the panel discussed Hornbeck Offshore Services v. Sally Jewell, which challenges the moratorium on driling in the Gulf of Mexico following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
All in all, it was a fabulous and informative event for all the HLS students in attendance, and all those listening via webcast. Video is available here.