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Justia Daily Opinion Summaries

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
March 21, 2017

Table of Contents

The Hopi Tribe v. USEPA

Environmental Law, Native American Law

Yazzie v. USEPA

Environmental Law, Native American Law

New on Verdict

Legal Analysis and Commentary

An Ethical Analysis of the American Health Care Act

CHARLES E. BINKLEY, DAVID S. KEMP

verdict post

Charles Binkley, MD, FACS, chairman of the Ethics Committee at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Francisco, and attorney David Kemp conduct an ethical analysis of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act, using the principles of impartiality and justice.

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U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Opinions

The Hopi Tribe v. USEPA

Docket: 14-73055

Opinion Date: March 20, 2017

Judge: Mary Murphy Schroeder

Areas of Law: Environmental Law, Native American Law

The Tribe petitioned for review of the EPA's federal implementation plan (FIP) under the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. 7401, for the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona. The FIP was promulgated under the EPA's Tribal Authority Rule that governs CAA requirements on tribal lands. The Tribe claimed that it was not adequately consulted about its interests before the plan was promulgated and objected to a proposed closure of the Station in 2044. The court concluded that no authority allowed it to treat this as a duty to consult, stemming from the general trust relationship with the Indian tribes. In this case, the record showed that the EPA did, in fact, consult with the Hopi Tribe throughout the rulemaking process. Furthermore, while the EPA did not participate in the Technical Working Group (TWG) negotiations, the DOI did. The court also concluded that the record belies the Tribe's contention that the EPA failed to analyze each of the five best available retrofit technology (BART) factors. Because the TWG proposal was an alternative to BART, the court concluded that there was no error in the EPA not analyzing the BART factors under the TWG alternative. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review.

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Yazzie v. USEPA

Dockets: 14-73100, 14-73101, 14-73102

Opinion Date: March 20, 2017

Judge: John Byron Owens

Areas of Law: Environmental Law, Native American Law

Petitioners sought review of the EPA's federal implementation plan (FIP) under the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. 7401, for the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona. The FIP was promulgated under the EPA's Tribal Authority Rule (TAR) that governs CAA requirements on tribal lands. The court concluded that the federal government's partial ownership of the Station does not eliminate any deference to the EPA's interpretation of the CAA and its implementing regulations; the EPA reasonably interpreted the TAR and the Regional Haze Regulations to conclude that the emission reductions deadline in 40 C.F.R. 51.308(e)(2)(iii) does not apply to FIPs for regional haze that are promulgated in place of tribal implementation plans (TIPs); the court deferred to the EPA's determination that the FIP alternative was "better than BART" for nitrous oxide emissions; and the EPA's decision not to determine best available retrofit technology (BART) for particulate matter was a reasonable exercise of the EPA's discretion under the TAR. Accordingly, the court denied the petitions for review.

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