In terms of environmental opinions, the month of August was a particularly productive one for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, with no less than four precedential opinions with enough meat in them to keep lawyers busy for months hashing out their implications. In the meantime, this article provides a brief survey of some of the key holdings of these opinions.
• Pre-emption: In April 2012, residents living near a coal-fired electric generation plant initiated a class action in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, alleging that plant operations created dust and powder that continuously landed on plaintiffs’ properties. The plaintiffs sought damages and injunctive relief under four state common-law theories. The owner of the plant, located in Texas, removed the case to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on diversity grounds, and then moved for dismissal, arguing that the plaintiffs’ state law claims were pre-empted by the Clean Air Act. The district court agreed and dismissed the case.
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