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SPOTLIGHT

1. ENFORCEMENT:

Settlement with driller shows EPA still has leverage in wetland cases

Legally, things were looking up for Gasco Energy Inc. in the summer of 2012. U.S. EPA was after the Denver-based gas driller for violating wetland laws, but the Supreme Court had just rejected the agency's arguments about how it enforced those same laws in Sackett v. EPA. But Gasco's case didn't get thrown out. Now, a year and a half later, the firm has settled the case, agreeing to plug its well, restore wetlands and pay a civil penalty. To some environmental advocates, the company's agreement shows that the effects of Sackett were exaggerated.

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