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States brief ~ NJ to file lawsuit against Delaware over planned BP plant

[JURIST] Leading Thursday's states brief, New Jersey Acting Governor Richard J. Codey has ordered [press release] the state's Attorney General to file suit against Delaware in the US Supreme Court over British Petroleum's [BP press release] plans to build a liquefied natural gas plant on New Jersey's side of the Delaware River. While the plant to be built on New Jersey's side of the river has strong state support, Delaware has refused to approve a 2,000 foot pier that would serve the facility. Under boundary determinations, Delaware controls the river up to the mean low-tide mark on the New Jersey shore, but New Jersey is asking the court to declare that a 1905 interstate compact gives it the right to control riparian access and structures on its side of the river, even if they extend across the border. Delaware Attorney General M. Jane Brady [official website] said the state was prepared to defend the boundary. AP has more.

In other state legal news ...

  • The Washington Supreme Court ruled [text] Thursday that parts of a state initiative which bans the US Department of Energy from sending waste to a Hanford nuclear site could, if found to be constitutional, still be enacted even if other parts of the initiative are found to be unconstitutional. The US government has filed a lawsuit [DOE press release] in federal court saying that the initiative violates federal law governing nuclear waste and interstate commerce. The initiative [text] bans the US Department of Energy from sending any more waste to a Hanford nuclear site until all of the waste already at the site is cleaned up. The state court did not decided if any of the initiative is unconstitutional as that will be decided by the federal court. AP has more.

  • The Washington Supreme Court also ruled [text] Thursday that the US Constitution bars noncriminal search warrants without legislation or a court rule expressly allowing them. The court has previously held that the state constitution barred administrative search warrants in noncriminal cases absent authorization for the warrant from legislation or court rules. The administrative warrant at issue in the case was issued to police officers working with city code-compliance agents on cleanup or closure of drug properties. AP has more.

  • The Hawaii Supreme Court has ruled [text] that a state or city agency can "reasonably" require attendees at public hearings to show photo identification or sign a log. In the opinion, the court found the state's Administrative Driver's License Revocation Office's procedure of having attendees show photo id and sign in was reasonable and "in no way, in and of itself, deprives the parties of a public hearing." In dissent, Justice Simeon Acoba Jr. wrote the ruling "will have a deleterious and potentially inhibiting effect on the right to attend similar hearings freely and openly and without needless restriction." Honolulu's Star-Bulletin has local coverage.

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