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July 27, 2017

Preempted, Preempted Not

By Karen Aldridge Crawford

American College of Environmental Lawyers

Reprinted with permission from the American College of Environmental Lawyers 

In mid-May, the First Circuit addressed whether a municipality may prohibit the beneficial use and disposal of coal ash at landfills within their borders when the state agency has authorized such activities. In AES Puerto Rico, L.P. v. Trujillo-Panisse, No. 16-2052 (1st Cir. May 15, 2017), a coal fired power plant owner, AES-PR, challenged two municipal ordinances attempting such a prohibition as preempted by federal and Commonwealth law and were in violation of the United States and Puerto Rico constitutions. Utility Solid Waste Activities Group and American Coal Ash Association participated on brief as amici curiae brief. The district court granted summary judgment for the municipalities on AES’s federal claims and declined to exercise jurisdiction over the Commonwealth claims.