Articles Posted in Environmental Law

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Plaintiff and Defendant claimed mineral rights to the same 280 acres of U.S. Forest Service land in Lawrence County, South Dakota. Plaintiff filed a complaint to quiet title. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff, concluding that Defendant failed to follow federal and state law regarding the proper location of placer mining claims but that Plaintiff followed all applicable laws and was therefore entitled to the mining claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court did not err in deciding that Defendant’s fourteen placer mineral claims on property at issue were invalid; and (2) Defendant’s invalid placer mineral claims did not preclude Plaintiff’s subsequent claims. View "Pete Lien & Sons, Inc. v. Zellmer" on Justia Law

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Hyperion Refining, LLC applied for an air quality permit to begin construction of a proposed petroleum refinery and power plant. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued the permit, and the Board of Minerals and Environment (Board) approved DENR's issuance of the permit. Three citizens appealed the issuance of the permit to the circuit court. Hyperion also appealed a permit condition that limited the amount of carbon monoxide that could be emitted from the proposed facility. The circuit court affirmed the Board's decision in all respects. The citizens and Hyperion appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Board did not abuse its discretion in issuing the air quality permit; and (2) the Board did not clearly err in determining the carbon monoxide limit. View "In re Application of Hyperion Refining, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) approved plans and specifications for the Brant Lake Sanitary District's wastewater treatment facility in 2012. The Brant Lake facility plans proposed to join and expand the Chester Sanitary District's existing wastewater disposal system. The plans included the construction of an additional treatment lagoon to tie into Chester's existing two-cell lagoon system. The plans also included the construction of additional piping to transport wastewater to the treatment lagoons. Plaintiffs' home and business were near the proposed lagoon. Plaintiffs filed an application for a writ of mandamus requiring DENR to comply with applicable state statutes, administrative rules, and DENR internal guidelines in approving the plans and specifications for the Brant Lake facility. The trial court denied the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs did not meet their burden to show that DENR disregarded a clear duty to act under the applicable statutes, administrative rules, or manuals, and accordingly, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Plaintiffs' application for writ of mandamus. View "Krsnak v. Dep't of Env't & Natural Res." on Justia Law