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Mike Gillett
Seattle, Washington
Recent Activity
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A proposed major oil terminal in southwest Washington has cleared one hurdle in obtaining state approval. A Washington State siting board has determined that the proposed project is consistent with local land use plans and ordinances. The determination moves the proposal along, but does not necessarily mean that it will... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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On July 29, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held that requiring meat producers to affix country-of-origin labeling (COOL) to their product does not violate the producers' First Amendment rights. Earlier this year, a three-judge panel of the court had reached the same conclusion; however, the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
At approximately 2:00 a.m. PDT on July 24, less than 24 hours after the U.S. Department of Transportation announced proposed new regulations to improve the safety of crude oil being transported by rail, an oil unit train operated by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) derailed in Seattle. The train reportedly... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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On July 23, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), announced proposed new regulations to improve the safety of oil unit trains. The announcement came slightly more than one year after the fatal oil train derailment and fire in Lac-Mégantic,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
Washington Governor Jay Inslee has proposed, here, that Washington State water quality standards be based on the assumption that people consume 175 grams of fish per day – the equivalent of nearly one serving of fish per day. Fish consumption is one of several factors considered in setting water quality... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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Three environmental groups have filed a federal lawsuit against the owner and operator of a crude oil terminal in Clatskanie, Oregon. The lawsuit, Northwest Environmental Defense Center, et al. v. Cascade Kelly Holdings LLC (Dkt. No. 14-cv-01059) alleges that the terminal is operating in violation of the Clean Air Act... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court denied petitions for certiorari filed by liquid fuel producers seeking review of the State of California’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). The LCFS, adopted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), requires fuel blenders and distributors in California to reduce the carbon intensity of... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) has asked a federal court in Seattle to grant summary judgment on its claim that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was arbitrary and capricious in approving lists of "impaired" waters submitted by the States of Washington and Oregon because those lists did not... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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On June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA (Dkt. No. 12-114 Jun. 23, 2014), available here, upholding key portions, but not all, of the Environmental Protection Agency's controversial extension of greenhouse gas regulations to stationary sources. EPA's general counsel, Avi Garbow,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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On June 12, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and three other trade associations sued officials of the State of Vermont to overturn Act 120, legislation adopted earlier this year that requires the labeling of foods containing genetically engineered (GE) crops, also known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Wikipedia's background article... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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"[P]laintiffs are entitled to a judicial declaration of whether, as they allege, the atmosphere 'is a trust resource' that 'the State of Oregon, as a trustee, has a fiduciary obligation to protect * * * from the impacts of climate change,' and whether the other natural resources identified in plaintiffs'... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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In 1986, Congress added a provision to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as the Superfund law, that preempted certain statutes of limitation under State law for personal injury or property damage claims for hazardous substances. Under the preemption, no State may commence the running... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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On May 28, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) adopted a rule intended to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from Washington's five petroleum ref ineries. Ecology adopted the rule under RCW 70.94.154, which requires reasonably available control technology (RACT) for all existing stationary sources in the State. (This is... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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Last year, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over EPA's approval of "impaired water" lists submitted by the States of Washington and Oregon under section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act (CWA). In Center for Biological Diversity v. EPA (W.D. Wash. Dkt. No.... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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A constitutional doctrine known as the dormant Commerce Clause is increasingly being used as a basis for legal challenges to State-based laws and regulations aimed at climate change. This post provides the reader with a general description of the dormant Commerce Clause, using petitions for certiorari currently pending before the... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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Citing numerous accidents over the past year involving trains carrying crude oil from the Bakken shale formation, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx on Wednesday issued an emergency order (Dkt. No. DOT-OST-2014-0067) requiring railroad carriers to notify states in which they transport large quantities of crude-by-rail. The Order states:... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued an executive order on Tuesday announcing a 7-point program he calls, "Washington Carbon Pollution Reduction and Clean Energy Action." Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce The Governor created a 21-member taskforce to provide recommendations on the design and implementation of a carbon cap-and-trade program for Washington State.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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Today (April 29), the Supreme Court upheld interstate air pollution rules that were adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2011. In EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. (Dkt. Nos. 12-1182 and 12-1183 Apr. 29, 2014), the Court, by a 6-2 majority, reversed the Court of Appeals... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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Coal-by-wire is a short-hand term referring to the use of electricity in one state that was generated at a coal-fired plant in another state, then imported over transmission lines. Some people who support state-level action to combat climate change advocate measures that would reduce or eliminate the use of coal-by-wire.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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UPDATE (10/29/2014): On September 18, 2014, the court granted summary judgment to EPA, holding that the Administrator had not failed to perform any mandatory duty, and, therefore, the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. Environmental groups are left exclaiming, "You shoulda seen the one that got away!" You can read the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
Point Wells is the location of a former petroleum bulk storage facility on Puget Sound, in unincorporated Snohomish County, Washington. In 2006, the landowner, BSRE, asked Snohomish County to amend its comprehensive plan and development (zoning) regulations to allow the property to be developed for residential and commercial uses. The... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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[This article is an adaptation of an article posted on this blog on March 26, 2014. The earlier post dealt with a petition for certiorari filed with the Supreme Court by the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU), seeking review of the constitutionality of California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). A... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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Damages awarded on a timber trespass claim can be substantial, especially if the trees are on residential property. Timber trespass occurs when a person removes or i njures a tree that is located on another person's land. In Washington, two statutes are often invoked by landowners making a timber trespass... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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The John Wayne Pioneer Trail follows the approximately 300-mile corridor of the former Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (also known as the Milwaukee Road) from Cedar Falls, Washington (east of Seattle) to the Washington-Idaho border. The company first acquired the land for the railroad in the early 20th... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer
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A federal judge in Seattle today denied a motion filed by BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) to dismiss a Clean Water Act (CWA) citizen suit for lack of jurisdiction. The lawsuit, brought by a number of environmental groups, claims that coal-bearing rail cars discharge coal, coal dust, and related pollutants into... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2014 at Washington Property Lawyer