Sinclair Wyoming Refining Company v United States Environmental Protection Agency

Sinclair sought review of the denial of its petition for relief form certain renewable fuel standards for disproportionate economic impact. The panel, 2-1, granted the petition, vacated the order and remanded for further proceedings. The majority held Agency’s decision was note entitled to Chevron deference as Congress withheld rule making authority for the small refiners exemption at issue, the adjudication here was informal without opportunity for Sinclair to offer testimony, the decision was made by a mid-level official, the decision is not precedential and the process has only been used for at most 6 years. The majority held that Agency’s requirement that a petitioner show that compliance with the standards will render the refinery not viable is contrary tot eh statutory requirement of hardship as hardship means something makes life hard not threatens the very existence of the refinery and is contrary to the Department of Energy matrix which must be conserved and looks at reduced profitability and temporary negative effects in addition to risk of closure and further read disproportionate out of the statute as this requires a comparative analysis which viability alone fails to do. Lucero dissented arguing Agency in fact considered all the factors in the Department of Energy matrix, did a comparative analysis and reached a reasonable conclusion and further noted similar analysis have been upheld by two other circuits.

Chevron Mining Inc. v Untied States

Chevron appealed summary judgment to the United States in its CIRCLA claim of for equitable apportionment of remediation costs at a mine on public land. The panel affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part. It held that the United States is a potentially responsible for an equitable potion of the cleanup costs as an owner as it was title holder of the land mined and used for waste disposal, parts of CERCLA specifically mention federally owned land as opposed to federally controlled land and distinguished between state ownership, operation and significant contribution all demonstrating title ownership is sufficient to trigger CERLCA liability. It rejected an “indicia of ownership” standard as contrary to the text of CERCLA and noted Congress used an indicia standard in some parts of CERCLA and the lack of such a standard in imposing liability on owners demonstrates that Congress rejected such a standard and further held that under United States Supreme Court precedent Congress had plenary power under the Property Clause to control the mining here even if it was not used. It also noted that the United States sold some of the land for waste disposal use, actively encouraged mining and loaned money to start more intensive mining at one point. It held the district court correctly determined the united states was not an “arranger” of waste disposal here because the plain language of CECLA and circuit precedent require the arranger to own or possess the hazardous materials and the untied sate did neither as Chevron and its predecessors owned the waste form the mining process and possessed the waste throughout the period of polluting disposal.

United States v Hardin

Hardin appealed his contracting fraud convictions. The panel affirmed holding the jury could rationally conclude the fraud was directed at a large contract to purchase buses not the proposal to solicit bids and thus the $5000 or more element was met here.