Eubanks & Associates welcomes Matt Arnold as the firm's new Law Fellow!

This week, Matt Arnold started as a Law Fellow with Eubanks & Associates, LLC. We are very excited for him to join our team! More info about Matt:

Before joining the firm, Matt clerked for the Honorable Elizabeth C. Wingo at the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. Matt has also previously served as a law clerk for both Defenders of Wildlife and Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP.

Matt received his J.D., cum laude, from Vermont Law School in 2018. During law school, Matt served as the Managing Editor of the Vermont Law Review, which selected his Note, What’s Good for the Goose May not be Good for the Gander: A Bird’s Eye View of the Emerging Incidental Take Permit Program Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 42 Vt. L. Rev. 152 (2018), as the 2017 Vermont Law Review Note Competition Winner. In law school, Matt was also an active member of Vermont Law School’s Moot Court Advisory Board. During the school’s 2017 Debevoise Moot Court Competition, Matt was awarded “Best Respondents’ Brief.” In 2018, Matt was selected to represent Vermont Law School in the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition at Pace Law School.

Prior to attending law school, Matt earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of Charleston, where he focused on microbiology and saltwater algae. After graduating from college, Matt worked as a Naturalist in the salt marshes of South Carolina, where he studied the health of native avian populations and shared his admiration of wildlife with visitors to the Lowcountry. Ultimately, the encroachment of a resort development into pristine dune habitat compelled Matt to attend law school to defend the wild places he cherishes.

In his spare time, Matt is an avid birder with a particular admiration for sparrows and shorebirds. Matt is also a public lands geek who enjoys hiking (slowly, while gazing at the underbrush through his binoculars) with his wife, Sabrina, and their dog, Forrest.

Agencies Told To Conduct Robust Environmental Review Of Pipeline Impacts

Today, on behalf of a coalition of conservation organizations and affected municipalities, we submitted a 60-day notice of intent to sue letter under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) in connection with the proposed Permian Highway Pipeline in Texas. The letter urges the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to avoid abusing the Section 7 consultation process under the ESA by providing incidental take authorization for impacts to ESA-listed species that will occur on private lands that are not under Federal control or jurisdiction. At minimum, the letter urges that the agencies subject the pipeline’s myriad adverse environmental impacts to scrutiny under other federal laws such as the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and National Historic Preservation Act.

Court Requires Federal Government to Take a Hard Look at Seismic Risks to Nuclear Weapons Facility

Today, the U.S. District  Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee issued a ruling in favor of our clients, the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance and Nuclear Watch New Mexico, as well as the Natural Resources Defense Council, finding that the Department of Energy (“DOE”) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (“NNSA”) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) by failing to take a hard look at serious seismic risks to aging, dilapidated nuclear weapons facilities in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The NNSA had previously decided to continue enriching uranium for nuclear weapons in facilities originally built during the Manhattan Project and the Cold War, while rejecting calls for the agency to seriously consider new information showing increased risks of large earthquakes that could damage or even destroy these buildings, potentially causing a catastrophic release of nuclear and toxic contamination. Recognizing the fundamental importance of our clients’ claims, the court found it was “hard-pressed to imagine a more dramatic hypothetical than this, where it must contemplate what might occur if a major earthquake struck a nuclear weapons manufacturing facility located in a major population center.” Reasoning that the NNSA “blatantly disregarded” its own regulations in dismissing our clients’ serious concerns about seismic risks, the Court vacated the NNSA’s decisions and NEPA analyses and remanded the issue to the agency for a more thorough evaluation of these risks. 

Bill Eubanks Selected by Law360 as a Top Environmental Lawyer

This week, the national legal publication Law360 selected Bill Eubanks as one of the nation’s five best environmental attorneys under the age of 40, based on his stellar record of winning difficult cases and setting important precedents on many legal issues of first impression in federal courts throughout the country. According to Law360, this is the first time that this award has been bestowed on a public interest litigator. Bill recently sat down with Law360 to discuss his accomplishments and vision for the future of environmental law.

Court Denies Motion to Dismiss Case to Enforce FOIA’s Proactive Disclosure Mandate

Today, the district court for the Western District of New York denied a motion to dismiss a case that we brought on behalf of our clients, the Animal Welfare Institute and Farm Sanctuary. The case aims to compel the United States Department of Agriculture and its Food Safety and Inspection Service to obey the proactive disclosure requirements of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) by placing certain records related to farm animal welfare online, including records of non-compliance with the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act. Our clients and others use these records to monitor the agencies’ enforcement (or lack of enforcement) of these important statutes and to advocate for more effective enforcement, statutory and regulatory reform, and improved treatment of farm animals. As such, our clients and others have a long history of frequently requesting these records under FOIA. FOIA, in turn, requires agencies to place certain frequently records online without burdening the public with the need to file repeated FOIA requests for essentially the same information—a requirement that federal agencies often ignore. Today’s ruling is an important victory that brings our clients one step closer to enforcing FOIA’s proactive disclosure mandate.

Comments Filed with FERC on Harmful LNG Pipeline and Export Facility

On behalf of our client Natural Resources Defense Council, we prepared comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline and export terminal in Oregon. The Pacific Connector pipeline and the associated Jordan Cove LNG export terminal would traverse hundreds of miles of federal land, harm numerous federally protected species, including the iconic spotted owl, adversely impact local communities, and exacerbate climate change. Our comments raised a host of important issues that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other agencies must consider before issuing any approval for this harmful and ill-conceived project.

Grand opening of Eubanks & Associates, LLC on July 1

On July 1, 2019, Eubanks & Associates, LLC will officially open its law offices in Washington, DC and Fort Collins, Colorado. Eubanks & Associates, LLC is a distinguished public interest law firm focused on environmental, public health, animal, and open government issues. The firm specializes in impact litigation in federal appellate and trial courts. We are excited to carry on the tradition of Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP, where the new firm’s attorneys worked prior to its closure on June 30, 2019.