Justia Tennessee Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Environmental Law
Starlink Logistics, Inc. v. ACC, LLC
After its closure, a landfill continued to discharge contaminants into a creek that ran into a lake on adjoining property. After several failed remedial measures, ACC, LLC (ACC), the landfill owner, and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation agreed to a plan to abate the discharge. The plan required ACC to divert water from entering the landfill and, within a four-year period, to remove and relocate the landfill waste. StarLink Logistics, Inc., the landowner of the property on which the lake was located, objected to the plan. The Tennessee Solid Waste Disposal Control Board approved ACC’s plan of action. The trial court affirmed. The Court of Appeals rejected the Board’s decision and remanded the case to the Board to explore more options. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Court of Appeals misapplied the arbitrary and capricious standard and instead substituted its judgment for that of the Board. Remanded. View "Starlink Logistics, Inc. v. ACC, LLC" on Justia Law
Pickard v. Tenn. Water Quality Control Bd.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) issued a permit allowing a limestone quarry to discharge water into Horse Creek. A wildlife sanctuary (sanctuary) filed a petition with the Tennessee Water Quality Control Board (Board) seeking to appeal the permit's issuance and requesting a declaratory order regarding the proper interpretation of the Antidegradation Rule (Rule). After the Board scheduled a contested case hearing, an ALJ dismissed the request for a declaratory order, concluding that Tenn. Code Ann. 69-3-105(i) provided the exclusive to obtain administrative review of TDEC's decision. Rather than pursuing the pending permit appeal, the sanctuary filed a petition in the chancery court seeking a declaratory judgment. The trial court issued a declaratory judgment regarding the proper interpretation and application of the Rule to the discharge permit. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) section 69-3-105(i) disallows parties challenging the issuance of a discharge permit from seeking a declaratory order from the Board regarding the issuance of the permit and requires parties to first exhaust their administrative remedies before seeking judicial review of the issuance of a discharge permit; and (2) the sanctuary failed to exhaust its administrative remedies, and therefore, the trial court should have declined to adjudicate the sanctuary's petition for a declaratory judgment. View "Pickard v. Tenn. Water Quality Control Bd." on Justia Law