Environmental

  • September 1, 2015

    Fla. High Court Told Voters Should Have Say On Solar Power

    The Florida Supreme Court in oral arguments Tuesday pressed the sponsor of a proposed constitutional amendment to open up solar energy sales to third-party providers whether its ballot question meets the strict requirements, but also questioned opponents if they could show why voters should not have a say.

  • September 1, 2015

    Reps. Press EPA For Mine Spill Info, Question DOI Role

    Three Republican representatives on Tuesday released letters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a private contractor, seeking documents related to the Gold King Mine spill in Colorado and its subsequent cleanup and questioning the agency’s decision to tap the U.S. Department of the Interior to investigate the disaster.

  • September 1, 2015

    Pa. Judge Rules PPG Liable For Waste Discharge Into River

    A Pennsylvania federal judge on Monday ruled that PPG Industries Inc. violated federal and state laws by discharging pollutants from its waste site into the Allegheny River and its tributary in Armstrong County without a permit since 1973.

  • September 1, 2015

    IRS Approves Individual Tax Credit For Shared Solar Project

    The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has ruled that an individual Vermont-based owner of solar panels in a community-shared array can take advantage of a 30 percent federal residential income tax credit, the Clean Energy States Alliance and Foley Hoag LLP said on Tuesday.

  • September 1, 2015

    Mont. High Court Revives Copper Pollution Suit Against ARCO

    In a ruling handed down Tuesday, Montana’s Supreme Court said that Atlantic Richfield Co. couldn’t escape complaints from property owners that arsenic from a shuttered copper smelting site continues to cause significant damage to their land and water, sending the suit back to a state district court to be tried by a jury.

  • September 1, 2015

    13 States Push For National Clean Water Rule Injunction

    A group of 13 states led by North Dakota on Tuesday told a federal judge that his injunction barring the implementation of a controversial new rule clarifying the scope of the Clean Water Act should apply nationwide, not just to them, while the federal government argued for a narrower imposition.

  • September 1, 2015

    Judge Says Past Work With Uranium Mine Won't Affect Case

    A New Mexico federal judge Tuesday said his previous work involving uranium mines as a U.S. attorney shouldn’t affect his judgment in a $7.2 million environmental cleanup suit seeking reimbursement from the federal government.

  • September 1, 2015

    Texas Regulator Says XTO Well Didn't Cause Quakes

    An administrative law judge on Monday found a Barnett Shale injection well owned by ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy Inc. likely did not contribute to causing a series of earthquakes that rocked the surrounding area, recommending XTO’s permits not be revoked.

  • September 1, 2015

    Monsanto Slams Appeal Of Maui GMO Law At 9th Circ.

    A nonprofit’s interlocutory appeal aimed at enacting a Maui County, Hawaii, law restricting genetically modified crops is moot because a preliminary injunction the group sought to upend has already expired, Monsanto Co., Maui and others told the Ninth Circuit on Monday.

  • September 1, 2015

    Netherlands Will Appeal Judge's GHG Reduction Order

    The Netherlands’ federal government said Tuesday it will appeal a court order directing it to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.

  • September 1, 2015

    Bhopal Plaintiffs Seek To Revive Union Carbide Pollution Suit

    Attorneys anxious to pin responsibility for chemical pollution in India on Union Carbide Corp. on Tuesday asked the Second Circuit to revive their putative property damage class action and allow new expert testimony they said would show an important link between the parent company and an Indian subsidiary.

  • September 1, 2015

    Proposed NJ DEP Flood Rules Changes Rile EPA

    The U.S. Department of Environmental Protection's concerns that proposed changes to rules governing New Jersey's flood hazard, stormwater and coastal management areas fall short of the state's water quality standards prompted environmentalists to voice their own worries Monday.

  • September 1, 2015

    Eyes On 2nd Circ. After 9th Skirts Water Transfer Rule

    The Ninth Circuit recently found that a Clean Water Act permit wasn’t required to transfer water from the Lower Klamath Lake to the Klamath River but avoided the thornier issue of the validity of the EPA’s water transfer rule, leaving experts to watch how the Second Circuit handles a case over the rule.

  • September 1, 2015

    EPA Sanctioned For 'Bad Faith' In CWA Suit

     A Texas federal judge slapped the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with sanctions this week, chiding the agency for acting in “bad faith” by stalling on orders to hand over documents that likely would have defeated a Clean Water Act suit brought against a property developer.

  • September 1, 2015

    Arctic Drilling Leases Violate NEPA, Enviros Say

    Environmentalists challenging energy companies' ability to look for oil and gas off Alaska's northern coast have asked an Alaska federal judge to find the U.S. government violated the National Environmental Policy Act by not considering new information when it reaffirmed leases in the Chukchi Sea.

  • September 1, 2015

    EPA Insists Carbon Plant Rule Challenges Are Premature

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency urged the D.C. Circuit to nix petitions aiming to block its Clean Power Plan, claiming that state and industry challengers are attempting to bypass proper judicial review of the controversial regulations slashing carbon emissions from existing power plants.

  • September 1, 2015

    Seneca Pa. Gas Lease Survives Landowner Appeal

    The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled in a published opinion Monday that Seneca Resources Corp. had not forfeited a gas lease on a portions of a 25,000-acre parcel that it was not actively drilling, finding there were no provisions for severability in the lease.

  • August 31, 2015

    Eastman Tentatively Resolves Bid To DQ King & Spalding

    Eastman Chemical Co. confirmed Monday that it has tentatively resolved its bid to disqualify King & Spalding LLP from representing Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc. in a Georgia state court contract suit against the chemical maker, settling claims that the firm already represents an Eastman subsidiary in an environmental matter.

  • August 31, 2015

    Syngenta Argues It Owed No Duty Of Care To Corn Plaintiffs

    Syngenta Corp. on Friday once again battled to toss multidistrict litigation alleging it tainted the U.S. corn supply with genetically modified seed, telling a Kansas federal court it should apply the "stranger economic loss rule" because the defendant had no relationship to the thousands of corn-producer plaintiffs.

  • August 31, 2015

    Neb. Residents Want Law Facilitating Keystone XL Overturned

    Nebraska residents living in the path of TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline project told a state judge on Monday that a state law unconstitutionally allows the foreign pipeline company to use eminent domain, the latest volley in a long-running dispute.

Expert Analysis

  • How Municipalities Shoulder Their Stormwater Burden

    Richard E. Glaze Jr.

    For large cities and counties dealing with stormwater pollution, the mother of all permitting requirements is for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems. A permit for an MS4 must be tailored to each municipality and issued as an individual permit, in contrast to most construction and industrial permits, says Balch & Bingham LLP's Richard Glaze Jr., former attorney for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

  • NY High Court, 2nd Circ. Are No Friends Of Fracking

    Yvonne E. Hennessey

    Not only have oil and gas operators utterly lost the ability to secure drilling permits to develop shale assets in New York due to a statewide ban, but now the New York Court of Appeals and Second Circuit have compounded this injury by affirming the termination of state oil and gas leases at the expiration of their primary term, says Yvonne Hennessey of Barclay Damon LLP.

  • Reading Rehnquist And Roberts Courts On Property Rights

    Paul J. Beard

    Under Chief Justice John Roberts, the U.S. Supreme Court has tended to be much friendlier to property rights than the Rehnquist court. At best, the Rehnquist court issued some confusing property rights decisions that have plagued the attempts of landowners to successfully litigate their takings claims — at worst, the Rehnquist court completely undermined their rights, says Paul Beard of Alston & Bird LLP.

  • EPA Aggregation Rule May Be As Important As Methane Regs

    Michael J. Nasi

    While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rule for methane emissions has received the bulk of media attention, another proposed rule on the aggregation of multiple surface sites into a single source for air-quality permitting purposes may have as much or more of a direct impact on oil and gas operations, say attorneys at Jackson Walker LLP.

  • Think 10th Circ. Endorses State RPS? Think Again

    Harvey L. Reiter

    While some advocates of renewable energy have characterized the Tenth Circuit's ruling in Energy & Environment Legal Institute v. Joshua Epel as an endorsement of states adopting renewable portfolio standards, that is not the case. The Commerce Clause may not bar states from favoring one energy technology over another, but it does bar states from favoring in-state over out-of-state competitors, says Harvey Reiter of Stinson Leonard Street LLP.

  • Unallotted Timber Lands Case Causes A Stir In Indian Country

    Stacy Schauvliege

    Native American governments may view Chickasaw Nation v. U.S. Department of the Interior as a blow that weakens the tribes' ability to gain greater federal accountability in trust management and as a loss of recompense for the alleged waste of unallotted lands. But current federal policies require the opposite conclusion, say Stacy Schauvliege and Mike McBride of Crowe & Dunlevy.

  • 3 Ethical Traps For 'Gladiator' Litigators

    Debra Squires-Lee

    Olivia Pope, the D.C. lawyer at the heart of the television drama "Scandal," calls herself and her team "gladiators in suits." By that, she means that she is willing to fight for her clients like a gladiator thrown into the arena. While it may be good for TV drama, thinking like a gladiator in reality can get litigators into trouble. Consider the top three ethical mistakes, say Sherin and Lodgen LLP partners Debra Squires-Lee and C... (continued)

  • Inside EPA's Plan For Reducing Methane Emissions

    Stacie B. Fletcher

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's recently proposed methane regulations for the oil and gas sector largely build on controls and work practice standards already employed pursuant to existing new source performance standards addressing volatile organic compounds, say Stacie Fletcher and David Schnitzer of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

  • A Rose By Any Other Name: EPA Demand Is A Suit In Texas

    Thomas B. Alleman

    The Texas Supreme Court may have had Juliet’s famous thought in mind when it decided McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corp. v. The Phoenix Insurance Co., holding that a demand letter from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency constitutes a “suit” that triggers a commercial general liability policy. But Thomas Alleman at Dykema Cox Smith wonders if McGinnes really changes anything.

  • Top 5 Ways To Help A Law Professional Land A Job

    Mark Newall

    It is a hard truth, but a law degree is a tough thing to have nowadays. Overloaded with thousands of dollars in debt and only a few job prospects that require a law license, many law graduates are looking for ways to manage their careers. We suggest some proven methods to amplify and accelerate your job search, says Mark Newall of Essex Partners Legal.