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Survey Article


In 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit addressed, for the second time, whether the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) acted arbitrarily when it issued Nationwide Permit 21 (NWP 21), which authorizes dredge and fill activities by surface mining operations and applies differing standards to grandfathered operations and new operations. The court held that the Corps did not, and it upheld the permit. Also, the Eleventh Circuit held that the National Park Service did not act improperly under the Wilderness Act when it reduced the number of acres it considered to be eligible for designation as wilderness in an Addition to the Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama ruled that the federal and state agency Trustees of a fund set up to provide for restoration of natural resources damaged by the Deepwater Horizon oil rig spill violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when they allocated funds for a proposed lodge and conference center development at Gulf State Park in Alabama. Finally, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama decided a novel question under Alabama law: the court ruled that raw sewage was not a pollutant within the meaning of an absolute pollution exclusion provision in an insurance policy.