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8th Cir. Affirms EPA Thumbs up to Minnesota's Anti-Pollution Plan

The Eighth Circuit refused to review and set aside the EPA's decision to approve Minnesota's plan to reduce visible emissions from five of its power plants that adversely affect the natural beauty of some of its wilderness and the national parks in that region.

The petition to overturn the EPA's decision to allow Minnesota's application of the "Transport Rule" was denied.

8th Cir. Affirms EPA Authority to Regulate Water Pollutants

El Dorado Chemical Company (EDCC) makes chemicals. Flat Creek, Haynes Creek, and two unnamed tributaries (UTA and UTB) don't make anything, but they're waterways in Arkansas with little fishies in them. The EPA protects the fishies. As part of its operations, EDCC discharges minerals into the water.

This is OK -- a little bit. Arkansas enforces water standards through a program called the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). A company can't discharge things into the water without a permit from NPDES, which includes limitations on amount and type of discharge; the EPA must approve these permits.

Many recent claims of stolen art relate back to Nazi-looted art during World War II -- but not all cases. Many countries, the likes of Turkey and Egypt, with rich cultural heritages are often challenged with the reality of stolen antiquities, and the difficult legal maneuverings needed to repatriate artifacts.

The most recent case involves the Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, but was decided on a procedural technicality that has the Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim very upset.

The 4th Amendment: Still Alive and Kicking in the 8th

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals breathed a bit of life into our republic on April 19 as it decided in a divided opinion, of course that the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure is still with us despite the imminent threat of ... money?

In 2010, Carlos Martins was driving his pickup just west of Omaha, Nebraska when Deputy David Wintle pulled him over because his license plate was "obstructed" in violation of Nebraska Revised Statute § 60-399(2). And by "obstructed," Wintle means that he had to get within 100 feet of it to be able to read the very bottom, where it said "Utah." It's undisputed that the rest of the license plate was completely clear.

8th Cir. Clarifies 401(k) Float Income Ownership, Fiduciary Duties

The Eighth Circuit recently issued a decision in a 401(k) fiduciary lawsuit that is raising questions about "float income" -- interest earned from plan assets.

At issue is the handling of funds that flow into and out of 401(k) plans and the question of who profits from the float income generated while the money is held by a service provider -- in this case, Fidelity Investments -- before its investment or before it is it cashed by participants.

If you're in the retirement plan industry, you might want to take a look at the court's decision in Ronald C. Tussey v. ABB Inc.

Fremont Votes to Ban Hiring, Renting to Undocumented Immigrants

The town of Fremont, Nebraska voted to uphold an ordinance prohibiting employers and landlords from hiring or renting to undocumented immigrants.

The measure, approved in 2010, survived a constitutional challenge before the Eighth Circuit.

Despite staving off a slew of legal challenges and passing yet again by popular vote, the ban may not be free from legal scrutiny just yet.

5 Fish Poaching Indictments Dismissed, Creating Sea of Confusion

A federal judge in Minneapolis recently tossed the indictments of five American Indians arrested in a major fish poaching bust on Indian reservations in northern Minnesota. The judge ruled the men were protected under an 1837 treaty.

But another federal judge in the same district came to the exact opposite conclusion -- even though the case was borne from the same undercover investigation.

The Eighth Circuit may have to get on board, get its feet wet on the issue, and reel in a solution to this extraordinary split.

Government Gives Up Fight For Stripper's $1M, But Why?

The California stripper who had $1 million seized by a Nebraska state trooper during a traffic stop will get to keep her mega moola. On Tuesday, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the U.S. Attorney's Office in Omaha's motion to dismiss its own appeal of a federal judge's order to return the $1 million (plus interest!) to the exotic dancer, Tara Mishra.

Why did the government give up the fight? It's anyone's guess, as the government is keeping mum.

Let the conspiracy theories begin!

Fremont May Change Illegal Immigrant Housing Ban

The Fremont City Council will soon consider removing portions of the city's ban on renting housing to people who aren't in the U.S. legally.

Fremont voters approved the city ordinance in 2010 that prohibits hiring or renting to people who can't prove they are in the country legally. The hiring portion is in effect, but the housing provision has been delayed due to protracted litigation over the controversial section.

Despite staving off a slew of legal challenges, the city itself is now reconsidering the ordinance due to financial concerns.

Can't Ban Strip Club? Ban Business.

Florence, Minnesota really doesn't want your dirty, salacious strip club. When a businessman attempted to open The Juice Bar, a non-alcoholic adult entertainment venue, the town banned all commercial business through zoning regulations. Yes, all business.

According to the Eighth Circuit, banning the strip club and all other businesses from operating within city limits was entirely constitutional, especially since the town is only 0.27 square miles.