Environmental

  • May 25, 2016

    House Battles Over LGBT Protections In Energy, Water Bill

    The U.S. House added possibly conflicting language addressing executive orders prohibiting LGBT discrimination among federal contractors to a $37.4 billion energy and water project authorization bill Wednesday, after voting down a measure explicitly preserving the orders in the Veterans Affairs authorization bill last week.

  • May 25, 2016

    NY Board OKs $485M For Buffalo-Area Solar Plant

    The New York State Public Authorities Control Board on Wednesday approved $485.5 million in additional funding for a solar panel production plant in Buffalo.

  • May 25, 2016

    Trade Deals Threaten Philippines' Sovereignty, Report Says

    The Philippines could be subjected to an even tighter "legal straitjacket" affecting its sovereign ability to regulate the mining industry if a pair of proposed trade agreements likely to include investor-state dispute mechanisms move forward, according to a report released Tuesday by a Dutch research and advocacy institute.

  • May 25, 2016

    IRS Wrong To Deny $26.4M Tax Deduction, Builder Says

    A Scottsdale-based residential and commercial builder asked an Arizona federal court to restore a $26.4 million tax deduction thrown out by the Internal Revenue Service, saying that the figure is warranted by the company’s preservation of about 182 acres within a nearly 9,000-acre Phoenix-area development.

  • May 25, 2016

    House Passes Energy Policy Bill Over Democratic Objections

    House Republicans on Wednesday voted to approve a new version of its energy policy overhaul, over largely Democratic objections that the bill ignites “water wars” in California, resurrects the Keystone XL pipeline and prioritizes fossil fuels over renewable energy.

  • May 25, 2016

    3 More Tribes Join DOI Land Buyback Program

    The U.S. Department of the Interior said Wednesday that it has signed deals with three more Native American tribes as part of its $1.9 billion land buyback program under the landmark Cobell settlement over the alleged mismanagement of natural resources on tribal lands.

  • May 25, 2016

    Gannett Sued Over Video Of Lobster-Catching Dog

    A Florida jewelry company filed suits against Gannett Co. Inc. and Zazoom Inc. in New York federal court on Tuesday, alleging the media companies displayed without permission a video of a black Labrador retriever catching a lobster that was made by the jewelry company.

  • May 25, 2016

    3 States Ask 10th Circ. Not To Unblock BLM Fracking Rule

    Wyoming, Colorado and Utah on Wednesday asked the Tenth Circuit not to disturb a lower court’s stay of the Bureau of Land Management’s rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands, saying the agency has no authority to regulate the industry.

  • May 25, 2016

    Alberta Proposes Carbon Tax As Part Of Climate Push

    An environmental law introduced this week in Alberta would reinvest money from a new carbon tax in green technology and return some of that cash to residents.

  • May 25, 2016

    Caterpillar Gets First Nod For $60M Deal To End Defect Row

    Caterpillar Inc. on Wednesday won preliminary approval for a $60 million settlement in a class action alleging that it sold bus engines with a defective anti-pollution system, with a New Jersey judge finding the amount fair and reasonable. 

  • May 25, 2016

    EPA Agrees To Deadlines For Review Of State Haze Plans

    The EPA has agreed to set and meet deadlines for evaluating state plans to reduce haze in a handful of Western states, resolving a lawsuit in California federal court brought by three environmental groups who said the agency was tardy in reviewing them.

  • May 25, 2016

    Murkowski Pans BLM Management Plan For Public Lands

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, on Tuesday urged the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to scrap its proposed resource management plan for public lands, saying it shuts Alaska state and local entities out of the management process and violates federal environmental law.

  • May 25, 2016

    VW's Taiwan Arm Fined Over False Emissions Ads

    Audi Volkswagen Taiwan Co. was hit with a 5 million New Taiwan dollar ($154,000) fine Wednesday by a Taiwanese regulator over false advertising about the emissions levels of certain vehicles, according to a news report, the latest fallout from Volkswagen AG’s emissions cheating scandal.

  • May 25, 2016

    Illegal Dumping Thriving Under Poor Oversight, NJ Agents Say

    New Jersey's incomplete oversight of the recycling industry has helped spur a flourishing illegal dumping trade that is hurting the environment, causing public health issues and costing taxpayer money, the State Commission of Investigation said Tuesday. 

  • May 25, 2016

    9th Circ. Snubs Octane Standard In Solar TM Fight

    The Ninth Circuit upheld an injunction Tuesday that largely bars a Chinese solar energy company from using the name Sun Earth in the U.S., striking down a California solar thermal company's bid to tighten the screws on the foreign firm and win fees under the U.S. Supreme Court's Octane Fitness standard.

  • May 25, 2016

    Maryland, Federal Officials Defend Purple Line Approval

    The state of Maryland and federal officials on Tuesday slammed arguments that they failed to adequately study the environmental impact of the proposed Purple Line light rail project, defending their analysis as exhaustive and urging a D.C. federal court to end a lawsuit brought by opponents of the project.

  • May 25, 2016

    EPA New Plant Carbon Rule Foes Want To Hit Pause Button

    Opponents of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's rule capping carbon emissions from new power plants urged the D.C. Circuit Tuesday to suspend the briefing schedule in their case while some opponents appeal the agency's refusal to reconsider its rule.

  • May 24, 2016

    House Keeps 'Waters Of US Rule' Defunding In Energy Bill

    The U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday to keep provisions blocking implementation of the so-called Waters of the United States rule under the Clean Water Act in a $37.4 billion bill funding the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and several energy and water infrastructure projects.

  • May 24, 2016

    Sabal Trail Gets Easement Win For $3B Natural Gas Pipeline

    A Florida federal judge on Tuesday allowed Sabal Trail Transmission LLC to condemn easements in Lake County, Florida, so that it can construct a $3 billion, 516-mile natural gas pipeline running from Alabama to the Sunshine State.

  • May 24, 2016

    States Slam EPA's Bid To Keep MATS Fight Out Of High Court

    States wrestling with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule on Monday pressed the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether a court can remand a legally defective rule without vacating it.

Expert Analysis

  • Oil And Gas Opportunities And Political Obstacles Ahead

    Jack R. Luellen

    The dramatic growth in domestic oil and natural gas production has reignited calls for the U.S. to achieve “energy independence." But at the same time, the resurgence of industry activity has been met with increased governmental oversight and tensions. Tremendous opportunities have been created, but the road to each is lined with significant challenges for industry, regulators and communities, says Jack Luellen at Fox Rothschild LLP.

  • Calif. Asbestos Case Opens Door For Shaky Expert Opinions

    Thomas A. Manakides

    While the California Court of Appeal's holding in Davis v. Honeywell can and should be limited to the specific facts and expert testimony in that case, the decision serves as a warning that courts may not always vigorously enforce their responsibility to screen expert opinions, which could open the door for plaintiffs in asbestos cases to depend on testimony that may not be entirely reliable, say attorneys at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

  • Not So Fast, Ohio: FERC Weighs In On Wholesale Energy

    Joseph H. Fagan

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently affirmed its role in ensuring reasonable rates for wholesale sales of electric energy in Ohio. But state utilities seek to further their objectives without invoking FERC jurisdictional issues, and if other states aim to advance their public policy initiatives using similar methods, it could impose higher costs on captive retail customers, say Joseph Fagan and David Doot at Day Pitney LLP.

  • Panama Papers: Reminders About Law Firm Cybersecurity

    Sean Doherty

    Nowhere is the attractiveness of law firms as cybercrime targets more evident than the recent Mossack Fonseca hack, believed to be the most significant data theft event in history. Firms represent a treasure trove of information and historically have had dreadful cybersecurity practices. There has been some progress, but firms can also commit to better defending their information by taking a simple, three-step approach, says Sean D... (continued)

  • New Far-Reaching Air Regulations For US Oil And Gas Wells

    Scott Janoe

    The Obama administration recently announced two sweeping final rules to regulate air emissions from oil and gas exploration, production and transportation facilities and has begun a rulemaking process aimed at controlling methane emissions from existing oil and gas facilities, both of which will will place a significant burden on in-house staff, say attorneys at Baker Botts LLP.

  • OPINION: Sotomayor's Solution To Pro Bono Is Incomplete

    David A. Lash

    In calling for mandatory pro bono service, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is effectively using her bully pulpit to advance the cause of access to justice for the poor. Her courageous leadership is a clarion call to action that must be heeded. But bold as it may be, the pronouncement is incomplete, says David Lash, managing counsel for pro bono at O’Melveny & Myers LLP and a member of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel.

  • Creating Barclay Damon: Lessons From A Law Firm Merger

    John P. Langan

    Joining two firms with long histories meant not only combining cultures, philosophies and deeply rooted ways of doing business, but also combining two IT systems, two accounting systems, and two ways of handling many other administrative functions. It didn't help that the firms had different fiscal year ends, says John Langan, managing partner of Barclay Damon LLP.

  • Reflecting On The 20th Anniversary Of BMW V. Gore

    Andrew Frey

    On May 20, 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a $2 million punitive damages award imposed for a tort that caused $4,000 in economic harm was unconstitutionally excessive. In the ensuing 20 years, BMW v. Gore has proved to be a foundational case in punitive damages jurisprudence. We were fortunate enough to have played a role in this historic decision, say Mayer Brown LLP partners Andrew Frey and Evan Tager and Maserati North Am... (continued)

  • Corporate Counsel: Consumer Becomes Provider (The Sequel)

    Mark A. Cohen

    Last week, we discussed why corporate legal departments are taking on so much more work themselves instead of outsourcing it to law firms. This is, of course, an ominous sign for law firms and the traditional partnership structure. So too is disaggregation and the emergence of legal service providers as well as others — notably the Big Four — poised to enter the gargantuan legal services market, says Mark A. Cohen of Legal Mosaic LLC.

  • OPINION: Stop 'Vigorously Defending' Your Clients

    Dan McGinn

    Oddly, amazingly, inexplicably, in a business where words are never in short supply, only one word seems to work when it comes to characterizing a lawyer’s commitment to clients, says Dan McGinn, a national reputation management adviser who has counseled nearly half the Fortune 100.