Which cases and regulations will environmental attorneys watch this year?

Jeff Hunter believes several recent court rulings will affect Oregon.

Jeff Hunter believes several recent court rulings will affect Oregon.

A week ago, I attended a gripping, if technical for the non-legalese speaking among us, round-up of recent environment-related court decisions and regulatory actions.

The program, presented by the Northwest Environmental Business Council and the Air & Waste Management Association, featured analyses from Perkins Coie LLP's Jeff Hunter, who detailed the courts' activity, and the Port of Portland's David Ashton, who pored over legislative doings from the last year.

I decided to check back with Hunter and Ashton to see if they could flesh out a couple of their points for print. They gamely agreed (Ashton's still working on his, look for an updated version later today).

I asked Hunter about the Summit Petroleum Corp. V. EPA case, about which he said a Sixth Circuit Court ruling "makes it more difficult for EPA to conclude that a network of oil and/or gas operations, or any other industrial constellation of emission sources, can be treated as a single source under the CAA in the absence of physical proximity between the relevant emission units."

Does this, I asked, simply mean that by not being able to treat the emissions as a single source, EPA must judge emissions differently? If so, what does that mean? Hunter responded:

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