Environmental

  • September 2, 2014

    New Puerto Rico Law Rejected As Vitol Dodges Pollution Suit

    A New York federal judge refused Friday to revise orders dismissing Vitol SA, Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd. and other energy companies from Puerto Rico’s suit seeking compensation for alleged groundwater contamination, finding a Puerto Rican law passed in response to the rulings violates the separation of powers.

  • September 2, 2014

    Halliburton To Pay $1B To Settle Deepwater Horizon Claims

    Halliburton Co. on Tuesday agreed to pay nearly $1.1 billion to settle most private plaintiffs' claims against the company stemming from its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that sent millions of barrels of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico.

  • August 29, 2014

    Keystone XL's Fate May Hinge On Neb. Supreme Court Ruling

    The Nebraska Supreme Court has set a Sept. 5 hearing to consider the state’s challenge to a decision striking down a law that authorizes the governor to approve the route for the Keystone XL pipeline — a case the Obama administration has said will have a huge impact on whether the controversial project can move forward.

  • August 29, 2014

    Wind Co. Seeks Sanctions Over 'Frivolous' Antitrust Appeal

    Gamesa Wind US urged the Seventh Circuit on Thursday to hit a wind turbine maintenance company with sanctions for attempting to appeal a dismissal of antitrust counterclaims that it had argued were too weak for federal jurisdiction, claiming it was well-deserving of attorneys’ fees for the “frivolous” appeal.

  • August 29, 2014

    US, Myanmar Broker $480M PE-Backed Solar Project

    New York-based private equity firm ACO Investment Group will partner with Myanmar to develop an approximately $480 million solar energy project in the Southeast Asian nation, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced Thursday as part of the U.S.’ ongoing efforts to attract investment and trade with Myanmar.

  • August 29, 2014

    Energy Groups Challenge EPA Carbon Solid Waste Regulation

    Three energy groups on Thursday urged the D.C. Circuit to reject an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulation calling carbon dioxide emissions “solid waste” when transported in pipelines and stored in geological formation, arguing the rule contradicts Congress' intent. 

  • August 29, 2014

    Oil Cleanup Is Covered Despite Settlement, Texas Court Says

    A Texas appeals court ruled Friday that Plantation Pipe Line Co. didn’t forfeit excess coverage purchased from Highlands Insurance Co. by settling coverage claims stemming from a 1975 oil leak against its lower-level insurers for less than the full limits of those policies, reversing a lower court decision.

  • August 29, 2014

    Enviros Urge Calif. Court To Block $477M Sacramento Arena

    A $477 million sports arena planned for downtown Sacramento, California, was wrongfully pushed through an expedited approval process with the help of an unconstitutional law, environmental activists who seek to block the project argued in a brief filed Friday in California appeals court.

  • August 29, 2014

    WTO Dispute Roundup: Rare Earth, Energy Rows Cool Down

    In Law360's latest rundown of the World Trade Organization's Dispute Settlement Body proceedings, members adopt reports faulting China's rare earth elements export barriers, Canada takes steps to settle a dispute over its green energy subsidies, and Antigua seeks peace in a years-long online gambling fight.

  • August 29, 2014

    HelioSage Energy Sells Portfolio Of 12 NC Solar Projects

    Utility-scale solar project developer HelioSage Energy announced Friday that it has sold for an undisclosed amount a portfolio of 12 finished and nearly finished solar facilities in eastern North Carolina that are expected to generate 100 million kilowatt-hours annually.

  • August 29, 2014

    Pa. DEP Details Water Contamination From Gas Drilling

    The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection released data on Thursday showing that nearly 250 private water supplies across the state have been contaminated as a result of natural gas drilling since 2007.

  • August 29, 2014

    US Agrees To GHG Review In Colo., But Enviros Want More

    The federal government on Wednesday told a Colorado federal judge it will analyze the cost of greenhouse gas emissions related to an Arch Coal Inc. lease exploration plan, ignoring environmentalists’ demand that such analyses be incorporated more broadly.

  • August 29, 2014

    BLM Reopens Door To California Oil Leasing For Fracking

    The Bureau of Land Management is reopening the door for oil leasing in California with a new comprehensive strategy for the federal oil and gas program in the state based on an independent science review of fracking and related technologies, the agency announced Thursday.

  • August 29, 2014

    Minn. Regulators Greenlight Enbridge Pipeline Expansion

    The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Thursday approved the second phase of Enbridge Inc.'s planned expansion of the U.S. portion of its Alberta Clipper oil sands pipeline, part of a cross-border effort by the company to boost the pipeline's capacity.

  • August 28, 2014

    Whirlpool, Home Depot, Others Want Out Of Energy Star Suit

    Whirlpool Corp. and several appliance retailers including The Home Depot Inc. moved Wednesday to dismiss state law claims alleging deceptive marketing of Energy Star washing machines from a class action pending in New Jersey, arguing that those legal claims are preempted by federal regulation.

  • August 28, 2014

    House Science Chair Casts Suspicious Eye On EPA Maps

    House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, on Wednesday argued that a series of maps recently made public by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reveal that the agency is attempting to covertly put private property under its jurisdiction through a new bid to update the Clean Water Act.

  • August 28, 2014

    Shell Files Revised 2015 Arctic Oil Drilling Plan With Feds

    Royal Dutch Shell PLC has submitted revised plans to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to potentially resume drilling for oil in Arctic waters off Alaska in 2015, according to media reports on Thursday.

  • August 28, 2014

    9th Circ. Just Latest Court To Read Pollution Laws Narrowly

    The Ninth Circuit recently rejected environmental groups’ novel argument that diesel emissions at California rail yards should be regulated as solid waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the latest indication that courts are more strictly interpreting pollution laws, even where there are enforcement gaps.

  • August 28, 2014

    Opponents Take Cape Wind Power Deal Row To 1st Circ.

    A Cape Cod town and other local businesses urged the First Circuit on Monday to revive their suit alleging Massachusetts officials illegally pressured a utility company to buy power from the $2.6 billion Cape Wind offshore wind farm, saying their suit wasn’t barred by the Eleventh Amendment.

  • August 28, 2014

    Ranchers Challenge Endangered Species Listing Procedures

    Two ranch owners and a cadre of agricultural groups filed suit Wednesday against the U.S. Department of the Interior in Oklahoma federal court, claiming the federal government violated the Endangered Species Act by prematurely classifying a type of wild chicken as “threatened” as part of a settlement agreement.

Expert Analysis

  • Tax Clarification Should Clear The Way For Renewables

    Arnold E. Grant

    A recent notice from the Internal Revenue Service on production and investment tax credits provides welcome clarity that can only encourage tax equity investors who have been on the sidelines due to prior uncertainty over renewable energy projects, say attorneys at Reed Smith LLP.

  • Calif. Anti-Fracking Ordinances On Shaky Legal Ground

    Jeffrey D. Dintzer

    Compton’s hydraulic fracturing ban may implicate the Takings Clause of the U.S. and California Constitutions since fracking is meant to access energy resources that cannot otherwise be extracted from the underlying property — the ban could constitute a taking of private property without just compensation, say Jeffrey Dintzer and Nathaniel Johnson of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

  • 5 Reasons Large Companies Are Turning To Boutique Firms

    David M. Levine

    The departure of attorneys from large firms is a trend that has increased as a result of the Great Recession and its aftermath, and boutique firm partners who previously worked at large firms understand the potential large-firm pitfalls, say attorneys with Levine Kellogg Lehman Schneider & Grossman LLP.

  • Tracking Fracking: Where Is Ill. 1 Year Later?

    Lawrence W. Falbe

    While final hydraulic fracturing regulations in Illinois can reasonably expect approval by mid-October, the rules may be challenged on the basis that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources did not properly consider all public comments and revise them accordingly, say Lawrence Falbe and Sanford Stein of Quarles & Brady LLP.

  • EPA's Concern Over TCE Vapor Intrusion Is Misguided

    Richard C. Coffin

    A recently issued memo from a director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on short-term trichloroethylene exposure levels in Region 9 should be reconsidered — if there is a legitimate weight of scientific evidence supporting them, then they should be applied to all Superfund sites, say attorneys of Barg Coffin Lewis and Trapp LLP.

  • As Climate Changes So Does Focus On Methane Emissions

    Andrew R. Wheeler

    Given that the Obama administration has focused almost entirely on carbon dioxide up until now, stakeholders should be prepared for the president to move quickly and aggressively to reduce methane emissions from the natural gas sector in the coming months, say attorneys at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

  • Some Calm For NY Claims Handlers Over Late Disclaimers

    William E. Murray

    The impact of a threatened expansion of the late disclaimer standard prior to the New York Court of Appeals' ruling in KeySpan Gas East Corp. v. Munich Reinsurance American Inc. would have been heavy for the insurance industry in that it would have created a significant burden on claims handlers, say William Murray and Joseph Geoghegan of Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani LLP.

  • Calif. High Court Case Has Not Made CEQA Obsolete

    Timothy M. Taylor

    Initial observations after the California Supreme Court's ruling in Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court suggest that voter-sponsored initiative petitions under the Elections Code are not widely employed as an end-run around the California Environmental Quality Act, say attorneys at Stoel Rives LLP.

  • Tax Credit Timetable Should Lead The Way For Renewables

    John C. Crossley

    Developers in the renewable energy industry that are able to move quickly now have a clearer path forward for a number of projects that appeared quite risky prior to the recent release of additional guidance on production tax credits from the Internal Revenue Service, says John Crossley of Husch Blackwell LLP.

  • 9th Circ. Permit Ruling Could Affect Projects Nationwide

    Sandra Y. Snyder

    The Ninth Circuit's ruling in Sierra Club v. EPA may have broad implications for the timing of Clean Air Act preconstruction permitting, which may be compounded by a recent D.C. Circuit opinion that could ultimately require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to apply this precedent on a national scale, say Richard Alonso and Sandra Snyder of Bracewell & Giuliani LLP.