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January 2016 Archives

'Coalition' Attempts Fail to Roadblock the EPA's Clean Power Plan

Attempts to block the EPA's Clean Power Plan through the use of a judicial stay have failed and state utilities have been greenlit to begin implementing the CPP. A coalition of various coal and fossil fuel interests failed to convince a panel of judges that they met the "stringent requirements for a pending court review."

This means that the Plan, which seeks to put severe limitations on carbon pollution by existing plants, will be in effect until June.

When the FDA appointed twelve members to the Tobacco Products Safety Advisory Committee to advise the commissioner on tobacco products, three members were fairly anti-smoking. They testified as expert witnesses in lawsuits against tobacco companies, for example, and worked with smoking-cessation companies.

After that committee issued an unfavorable report on menthol cigarettes, two tobacco companies sued, alleging that the three Committee members had unlawful conflicts of interest which would require the report to be invalidated. But those cigarette companies don't have standing to challenge to the Committee's makeup, the D.C. Circuit ruled last Friday, noting that the FDA had taken no action on the Committee's report.

Fish Conservation Lawsuit Fails at DC Circuit

In a suit brought before the DC Circuit, plaintiffs claimed that federal agencies acted unlawfully by neglecting to manage various stocks of ocean fish in the Atlantic. The circuit decided to affirm the decision of a lower district court, finding, essentially, that the plaintiffs were blaming the wrong people for their woes.

But even if the plaintiffs had chosen the proper target for their suit, the plaintiffs would still be out of luck, because the law essentially stipulates that a "final agency action" has very particular requirements. Sometimes, you're just not destined to win in court.

So much for ordering a private jet from your smart phone. Flytenow, a start-up aiming to be the "Uber of the skies" has shut down following an adverse ruling from the D.C. Circuit. The app allowed you to hop aboard a private pilot's planned route, provided you pay for your share of expenses.

There was one catch though. Flytenow didn't require its pilots to have a commercial pilot licenses. The Federal Aviation Administration and the D.C. Circuit disagreed, sending the company's dreams down in flames.