The State of Washington has violated Tribes' off-reservation fishing rights by building and maintaining culverts under State roads that harm fish habitat and reduce the production of fish. Because (1) currently there is not enough harvestable salmon available to ensure the Tribes a moderate living, (2) the State’s culverts block roughly a thousand miles of streams suitable for salmon habitat, and (3) replacing or modifying those culverts (structures built to allow streams to flow under roads) to allow fish passage would produce several hundred thousand additional mature salmon each year, the State was ordered to identify all state-owned barrier culverts and ensure those culverts allow fish passage (by differentiated deadlines depending on several ecological and economic considerations).
A U.S. court vacated a decision granting a right-of-way for a proposed natural gas pipeline that would have crossed a portion of a U.S. national park. The National Park Service failed to provide any explanation justifying its determination that pipeline construction and use would be consistent with the conservation and preservation purposes of the national park.
The Supreme Court determined several Colombian authorities responsible for the deforestation in the Amazon and ordered those authorities to develop plans and implement measures to stop the emissions of GHGs and other harmful impacts caused by deforestation in order to protect fundamental rights of Colombians, especially those of children and future generations.
The High Court of Kenya remanded the environmental license issued for a port project for reconsideration and directed the project proponent to pay Kshs. 1.7 billion in compensation to affected fishing communities who will be impacted by the project. During the reconsideration process, decisionmakers must evaluate the external costs of the port project on the environment and local communities.
In the context of reviewing a planning decision allowing expansion of Dublin’s airport, the High Court of Ireland declared that Ireland’s constitution protects the personal right to an environment that is consistent with the human dignity and well-being of citizens at large.
A court summarily dismissed a defamation action brought against a community member who posted concerns on Facebook about potential contamination from a nearby gravel pit. The community member’s statements were valid expressions related to a matter of public interest.
A utility company violated the Clean Water Act when it disposed of coal ash into unlined ponds, which leaked contaminants via groundwater to an adjacent river. The court directed the utility company to excavate the coal ash and move it to a dry lined disposal location.
The Court of Appeal for Ontario set aside an order directing Ecuadorian plaintiffs to provide substantial security for costs on appeal, recognizing “the unique factual circumstances of this case compel the conclusion that the interests of justice require that no order for security for costs be made.”
An environmental organization has constitutional right to intervene in public utility proceeding concerning a power purchase agreement. The right to a clean and healthful environment guaranteed by the Hawaiian constitution is a property right that is protected by due process and the utility commission must consider impacts to that right in determining whether to approve a power purchase agreement.