Legal

Federal Judge Sides with New Mexico Ranchers in Water Case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A U.S. court has sided with a New Mexico ranching family in a decades-long battle over access to water on national forest land, providing more certainty that state law allows for the protection of water rights dating back more than a century. The case of the Goss family h..

Williams Partners Takes Legal Action over Pipeline Construction Stoppage

Williams Partners L.P. today filed a Motion for Clarification of an administrative stay issued yesterday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissions’ authorization of the company’s Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline project. The p..

Court Orders Pause in Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Construction

COLUMBIA, Pa. (AP) — A federal appeals court has temporarily halted construction of a natural gas pipeline in Pennsylvania. LNP reports the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., stopped work on the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. Environmental groups are asking for a comprehensive environmental re..

Key Court Hearing for State Official in Flint Water Scandal

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s chief medical executive is facing the start of an important court hearing tied to a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak during the Flint water crisis. Prosecutors will try to persuade a judge to send Dr. Eden Wells to trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter, obstructi..

Texas Residents Sue over Water Release During Harvey

VIDOR, Texas — More than 120 Southeast Texas residents have signed on to a federal lawsuit alleging that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers illegally took their property when it released water from a reservoir and a dam during Hurricane Harvey flooding their homes. The residents of Orange County, abo..

Dakota Access Developer Sued over Farmland Damage

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota farming family has sued the Dakota Access pipeline company, alleging it reneged on promises to restore farmland damaged during the oil pipeline’s construction. Slack Family Properties accuses Dakota Access LLC of fraud, deceit, breach of contract and taking p..

Michigan Health Chief Back in Court over Flint Water Crisis

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s urban affairs adviser contradicted the governor again Wednesday about when Snyder first learned about a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the Flint area. Harvey Hollins told a judge last month that he told Snyder about the outbreak late in 201..

Utility Settles Lawsuit with Former Manager out of Court

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts municipal power company has settled a lawsuit brought by a former manager who claimed he was owed more than $600,000 in wages and benefits. The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that Wayne Doerpholz, former manager of the South Hadley Electric Light Co., dec..

Lawsuit Filed over North Carolina Water Contamination

The national law firm of Baron & Budd has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Brunswick County in the United States Eastern District of North Carolina against Chemours and DuPont for their role in contaminating the Cape Fear River. The firm is pursuing legal action on the county’s behalf to recover costs r..

Lawsuit Filed Over Tainted North Carolina Water

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A law firm fighting lawsuits for Flint, Michigan, residents over lead-tainted drinking water is filing the latest class-action case blaming a North Carolina chemical plant for releasing little-understood compounds into the water supply for hundreds of thousands of people. Th..

Arizona Supreme Court Rejects Bid to Reverse Electric Hike

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Supreme Court rejected a bid by a utility regulator to reverse a monthly electric rate hike for customers of the Arizona Public Service Co. The Arizona Republic reports that the court on Monday declined to accept jurisdiction for the matter, and it did not provide reasoni..

Pipeline Protest Charges Dismissed Against Journalist

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Obstruction and disorderly conduct charges have been dismissed against a photo journalist covering the Dakota Access Pipeline protest last year. Sara Lafleur-Vetter was working for The Guardian, a London-based news outlet, when she was arrested Oct. 22 with 140 other peo..

New Mexico Land Official Sued over Water Policy

LOVINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Two southeastern New Mexico companies are suing Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn over a policy that governs how much water oil and gas producers can pump from a regional aquifer for their operations. Loco Hills Water Solutions, LLC and Steve Carter, Inc. argue that Dunn has over..

Delaware Town Loses Building Permit Fee Case to Sewer and Water Company

DOVER, Del. (AP) – A judge has ruled that a central Delaware town cannot collect $27,000 from a local water and sewer authority as a building permit fee for a million-gallon water storage tank. The judge ruled Monday that the purported building fee demanded by the town of Camden is actually a tax, ..

Judge Tells Flint to Pick Water Source

DETROIT (AP) — A judge on Tuesday ordered Flint, Michigan, to choose a long-term source of drinking water by next week, saying the City Council so far is showing a “breathtaking” lack of leadership. Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration sued Flint to force the council to approve a 30-year deal with the..

Water Utility Sues Company over Possible Contamination

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A utility that provides water in southeastern North Carolina has sued a company it accuses of polluting the Cape Fear River, where the utility gets its water. The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority filed a complaint in U.S. District Court on Monday afternoon accusing Chemour..

Minnesota Judge Allows Necessity Defense in Pipeline Case

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota judge has taken the unusual step of allowing four protesters to use a “necessity defense,” enabling them to present evidence that the threat of climate change from Canadian tar sands crude is so imminent that they were justified in trying to shut down two Enbridge Ener..

North Dakota Landowners’ Lawsuit Against Pipeline Dismissed

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by nearly two dozen North Dakota landowners who alleged the developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline and a consultant used deceit and fraud to acquire private land easements for the project. But a court case in Iowa involving th..

Justices to Hear Argument in States' Disputes over Water

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says it will hear a decades-long dispute between Florida and Georgia over water rights. The justices on Tuesday issued a brief order in a lawsuit that Florida filed at the high court challenging water use by its neighbor. The court set not set a date f..

Jury Convicts Activist Who Targeted North Dakota Pipeline

CAVALIER, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota jury has convicted an environmental activist who targeted an oil pipeline a year ago. The Pembina (PEM’-buh-nuh) County jury found Michael Foster of Seattle guilty Friday of conspiracy to commit criminal mischief, criminal mischief and trespass. Foster was acqui..

Rancher Gets Prison for Armed Encounter with Utility Workers

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – A 56-year-old northern New Mexico rancher faces a year and a half in prison after being sentenced for a carjacking conviction stemming from an armed confrontation with utility company workers on his property. Richard Howieson of Costilla in Taos County was sentenced Thursda..

West Virginia Top Court Blocks Order for Replacement Water

CHARLESTON (AP) — West Virginia’s highest court has blocked a judge’s order requiring a mining company provide replacement drinking water to residents who said its wastewater impoundment contaminated their wells. Supreme Court Chief Justice Allen Loughry writes that the judge lacked the authority t..

Pennsylvania Families Settle with Driller over Contaminated Water

DIMOCK, Pa. (AP) — Two families have settled their lawsuit alleging that one of Pennsylvania’s biggest gas drillers contaminated their well water, six months after a federal judge threw out a multimillion-dollar jury verdict in the case. A court filing dated Sept. 21 says the lawsuit pursued by pla..

Ex-Water Corporation Boss Gets 8 Years for $1 Million Fraud

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The former head of a not-for-profit corporation formed to oversee the water services for the city was sentenced on Friday to more than eight years in prison for accepting nearly $1 million in kickbacks. Linda Watkins Brashear pleaded guilty in 2015 to fraud for participating in ..

Official Charged in Flint Water Crisis Related Death Faces Hearing

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan official blamed in the death of a Flint-area man who had Legionnaires’ disease faces a key hearing to determine whether he will stand trial for involuntary manslaughter. Nick Lyon is head of the Department of Health and Human Services. He’s accused of failing to alert..

Delaware Town Loses Building Permit Fee Case to Sewer and Water Authority

DOVER, Del. (AP) – A judge has ruled that a central Delaware town cannot collect $27,000 from a local water and sewer authority as a building permit fee for a million-gallon water storage tank. The judge ruled Monday that the purported building fee demanded by the town of Camden is actually a tax, ..

StarKist to Pay $6.3M in American Samoa Wastewater Case

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (AP) — The world’s largest supplier of canned tuna has agreed to pay a $6.3 million penalty for wastewater violations in American Samoa, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday. StarKist Co., based in Pittsburgh and owned by South Korea’s Dongwon Industries, will ..

Idaho Town in Hot Water Over Sewer, Water Fees

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The city of Pocatello could be forced to pay back millions of dollars in excess fees following a recent Idaho Supreme Court ruling. According to the unanimous opinion, justices ruled that Pocatello’s sewer and water fees were not set at reasonable rates to help cover the costs o..

Trial Scheduled Against Ex-Ohio Water Plant Operator

SEBRING, Ohio (AP) – A trial is still planned for a fired water plant operator charged with misdemeanors for what authorities say was his failure to notify residents of a northeast Ohio village about lead in their drinking water. The Vindicator reports that an attorney for 61-year-old James Bates, ..

Early Termination of Hart-Scott-Rodino Act Waiting Period Awarded for Oncor, Sharyland Deal

InfraREIT, Inc. today announced the United States Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have granted early termination of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act waiting period for the proposed exchange transaction between InfraREIT’s regulated subsidiary, Sharyland Distribution & Transmissio..