Environmental

  • March 5, 2015

    Fla. House Passes Water Resources Bill, Despite Criticism

    The Florida House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a major water resources bill Thursday, taking its first significant step of the 2015 session and checking off one of the speaker's top priorities, despite considerable criticism over its content.

  • March 5, 2015

    Wis. Chippewa Head Declares Mining Project Opposition

    A Wisconsin Chippewa leader championed resistance by state tribes against iron ore mining in the state on Thursday in an address to the state Legislature.

  • March 5, 2015

    Railroad Cos. Look To Trim Claims In Derailment Litigation

    Consolidated Rail Corp. and other railroad companies on Thursday pressed a federal judge to slash claims in numerous lawsuits over a 2012 derailment and chemical spill in Paulsboro, New Jersey, because they are allegedly preempted by federal law.

  • March 5, 2015

    Occidental Settles Peruvian Oil Pollution Case

    A group of indigenous plaintiffs from the Peruvian Amazon announced on Thursday that they have settled their claims that Occidental Petroleum Corp. allegedly contaminated their communities with lead and other toxic byproducts of oil drilling. 

  • March 5, 2015

    United Specialty Sues Over Ford Plant Demolition Coverage

    United Specialty Insurance Company sued Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc. in Massachusetts federal court on Wednesday, saying it has no duty to defend or indemnify the metal recycling company in arbitration spurred by environmental violations that occurred during the demolition of an old Ford Motor Co. plant.

  • March 5, 2015

    NY Court Says Exxon Must Pay Tax On Spill Enviro-Monitoring

    Exxon Mobil Corp. must pay a $500,000 New York sales tax assessment on environmental monitoring and testing at several past oil-spill locations, a state appeals court ruled Thursday, rejecting ExxonMobil's arguments that those activities weren't technically part of the cleanup efforts.

  • March 5, 2015

    Texas Court Revives Developer's Suit Over Houston Flood Law

    A Texas appeals court on Thursday reversed a trial court’s decision to throw out a lawsuit against the city of Houston accusing it of crafting a flood ordinance that prevented a developer from building on its own property, finding that the city only raised “no-evidence” points in its jurisdictional plea.

  • March 5, 2015

    Steptoe Nabs Three Toxic Tort Partners From Locke Lord

    Steptoe & Johnson LLP said Thursday that it had snagged three new partners from Locke Lord LLP for its toxic tort litigation practice in Chicago, several weeks after the firm lured four of their former colleagues who had been conflicted out of the recently-merged BigLaw behemoth.

  • March 5, 2015

    Calif. City Owes $17.5M After Voters Reject Drilling Plan

    Hermosa Beach, California, voters on Tuesday refused to give E&B Natural Resources Management Corp. a pass on the city's drilling ban to begin a controversial oil and gas project, putting the city on the hook for $17.5 million in damages to the company.

  • March 5, 2015

    Endangered Species Deal Harms Property Owners, Court Told

    The National Association of Home Builders has urged the D.C. Circuit to renew its challenge to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service settlement agreements amending the Endangered Species Act, saying the service’s failure to consider whether 251 affected species should remain on the candidate list harms property owners.

  • March 5, 2015

    Vivint Solar Says Investors Weren't Misled Before $330M IPO

    Counsel for The Blackstone Group LP-backed Vivint Solar Inc. cataloged the potential grounds to dismiss shareholder allegations that the renewable energy provider inflated the value of its $330 million initial public offering, telling a New York federal judge on Thursday the company disclosed all the relevant financial information.

  • March 5, 2015

    Biofuel Execs Can't Claim Regulatory Reliance In Tax Case

    An Indiana federal judge on Wednesday barred two former biofuels executives accused of running a $100 million tax credit scam from claiming that they relied on regulations as a defense, saying they didn’t give the government enough notice of their defense plans.

  • March 5, 2015

    Schwab Founder Slips Suit Over Alleged $25M RE Fraud

    A California judge on Thursday tossed claims that Charles Schwab Corp. founder Charles Schwab Jr. conspired with his son to force a former business partner out of an eco-friendly real estate investment venture worth more than $25 million, ruling the plaintiff didn’t connect Schwab to the alleged fraud.

  • March 5, 2015

    Self-Generation Cos. Turn Up Antitrust Heat On Utilities

    SolarCity Corp.'s recent suit accusing an Arizona utility of imposing surcharges on rooftop solar in order to maintain its monopoly over retail electricity sales highlights a brewing nationwide antitrust battle as distributed generation increasingly encroaches on an electric grid long dominated by traditional utilities.

  • March 5, 2015

    Ore. Low Carbon Fuel Standard Heads To Gov.

    The Oregon House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that would reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 10 percent over the next 10 years, sending it to Gov. Kate Brown, who has said she is supportive of the measure.

  • March 5, 2015

    NJ Reveals $225M Deal With Exxon Over Refinery Pollution

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's administration on Thursday publicly revealed details of a controversial $225 million settlement with ExxonMobil Corp. over environmental pollution from refinery operations in Bayonne and Linden and defended the deal that critics have said severely undervalues nearly $9 billion in alleged damages.

  • March 5, 2015

    French Solar Co. Solairetech Plans $193M Paris IPO

    Private equity-backed solar energy provider Solairedirect SA said Thursday it has filed initial documents with French authorities for an initial public offering expected to raise €175 million ($192.5 million) in the first half of this year.

  • March 4, 2015

    BP Earns Appeal Bid But Not Stay In ERISA Suit

    A Texas federal judge on Wednesday allowed BP PLC to pursue interlocutory appeal of an order allowing plaintiffs to amend their Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action over stock losses stemming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, although he refused to stay the case.

  • March 4, 2015

    EPA Defends Texas Flexible Air Permit Program At 5th Circ

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week defended its approval of a Texas flexible permit program under the Clean Air Act, telling the Fifth Circuit major sources of air pollution can’t use the program to avoid review of modifications to their facilities.

  • March 4, 2015

    Senate GOP Says Threatened-Bat Listing May Hurt Energy Cos.

    A proposed rule to protect a bat species decimated by a deadly fungal disease should focus on curing the disease and not unduly hampering energy and other industries, 23 Republican senators told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday.

Expert Analysis

  • Law Firm Tensions Mount In Africa — What Does It Mean?

    Steve Blundell

    Tensions are perhaps inevitable in a fast-growing market such as Africa where international law firms are gearing up for a greater level of market entry, and where the independent firms remain highly reliant on referrals from these same firms. But the questions facing both types of firms go to the heart of short-term expedient versus long-term strategy, says Steve Blundell of Redstone Consultants.

  • Rebutting The 'But This Is Asbestos' Line In Pa.

    Michael L. Haslup

    The Superior Court of Pennsylvania's recent decision in Krauss v. Trane U.S. Inc. is significant in that it reaffirms that traditional legal principles apply to asbestos cases, notwithstanding the application of a unique “frequency, regularity, proximity” standard to motions for summary judgment, say Michael Haslup and Kevin Penhallegon of Miles & Stockbridge PC.

  • Making The Economics Of NY Energy Storage Systems Work

    Michael A. Stosser

    The value proposition for energy storage is demonstrated through the integration of renewable resources, load balancing, efficiency and demand response, as well as the deferral of transmission and distribution infrastructure development — it is this value that will drive continued deployment, say Michael Stosser and Kyle Wamstad of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP.

  • Yates Ruling Is The Wrong Response To Overcriminalization

    Randall Eliason

    The worst way to respond to overcriminalization is for courts artificially to narrow criminal statutes through results-oriented decisions that ignore the plain language of the law and ultimately lead to irrational results. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the U.S. Supreme Court did last week in Yates v. United States, says Randall Eliason, a law professor and former federal prosecutor.

  • Scanning The Post-Burlington Northern CERCLA Landscape

    John J. DiChello Jr.

    While there is no bright-line rule for determining the existence or absence of intent for purposes of arranger liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, several factors identified by circuit courts should serve as useful guideposts for businesses seeking to reduce their exposure to arranger liability, says John DiChello Jr. of Blank Rome LLP.

  • Yates: A Welcome End To Prosecutorial 'Fishing' Expedition

    Diana Lloyd

    In this week's ruling in Yates v. U.S., the U.S. Supreme Court reinforced the principle that the language of a statute must be analyzed in an appropriate context and, more importantly, put a damper on prosecutors’ dangerous trend toward applying certain statutes to criminalize behavior beyond what one would reasonably understand to be prohibited, says Diana Lloyd of Choate Hall & Stewart LLP.

  • Additional-Insured Concerns Surface In Deepwater Horizon

    Micah E. Skidmore

    The Texas Supreme Court's recent ruling in the matter of Deepwater Horizon will inevitably prompt more questions regarding the importance of “certificates of insurance” as well as how explicit a reference within an insurance policy must be or what nexus that reference must have with a coverage limitation before additional-insured status is circumscribed, says Micah Skidmore of Haynes and Boone LLP.

  • Emerging Trends In Corporate Sustainability Reporting

    Sara K. Orr

    Recently, a potential new legal trend has emerged in which plaintiffs are filing product liability and securities class actions against companies by invoking claims related to environmental, social and governance or sustainability statements. This development demonstrates the risks associated with issuing ESG statements as some consumers and investors will not hesitate to litigate their accuracy or materiality, say Sara Orr and Bar... (continued)

  • Fracking Study Is Another Tool For Defense Counsel

    Craig M. Warner

    Even as some journalists used Parr v. Aruba Petroleum Inc. to push an anti-fracking narrative, a bigger story has developed beneath the radar — scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracturing has increasingly demonstrated that expertly built and operated fracking operations pose few novel environmental dangers, says Craig Warner of King & Spalding LLP.

  • Using Patents To Curtail Climate Change: A Proposal

    John Vandenberg

    Last fall, 74 countries and more than 1,000 businesses signed a declaration calling on all nations to price carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, yet the prospects of meaningful government action are dim. We see a possible solution in our patent system — impose a flexible license fee tied to greenhouse gas emissions, say attorneys with Klarquist Sparkman LLP, Green Patent Law, Robins Kaplan LLP, Burns & Levinson LLP and Susman Godfrey LLP.