Environmental RSS

  • April 23, 2014

    NJ Court Broadens Strict Liability In Goulds Asbestos Case

    A New Jersey appellate panel on Wednesday freed Goulds Pumps Inc. from a consolidated liability suit over asbestos in its products, but said the company did have a duty to warn of the product’s risks even if it didn’t manufacture the product's allegedly harmful component.

  • April 23, 2014

    Forest Oil Wants $24.5M Enviro Damage Award Tossed

    Forest Oil Corp. asked a Texas appeals court on Wednesday to throw out a $24.5 million judgment the company was slapped with for allegedly contaminating a contracted landowner’s property with radioactive material and other waste, arguing that a member of the arbitration panel that issued the award was biased.

  • April 23, 2014

    Texas Fracking Nuisance Award Could Embolden Plaintiffs Bar

    A Dallas jury’s Tuesday award of $2.9 million to a family in one of the first trials alleging fracking caused severe health problems doesn’t have energy companies quaking in their boots, but lawyers say it could spur copycat cases and affect settlement talks in similar litigation.

  • April 23, 2014

    DOE's Moniz Calls For 'Urgency' In Climate Change Action

    Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz said Wednesday the agency plans to harness all of its administrative authority to curb greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, maintaining it needs to take urgent action rather than waiting for congressional legislation.

  • April 23, 2014

    Grid May Not Be Ready To Lose Coal, FERC Official Says

    Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Philip Moeller worried on Wednesday that the electric grid doesn't have the infrastructure to replace retiring coal and nuclear plants, saying some U.S. regions could be subject to rolling blackouts due to energy deficits in the next few years.

  • April 23, 2014

    Justices Lean Toward Landowners In CERCLA Fight

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday signaled support for a decision to revive contamination claims against CTS Corp., suggesting that Congress did not believe there was a distinction between statutes of limitations and statutes of repose when it amended the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Liability and Compensation Act.

  • April 23, 2014

    Heckmann Reaches $27M Settlement For Shareholder Suit

    Attorneys for a class of shareholders suing a company known until recently as Heckmann Corp. — which provides fluids and environmental services to the energy industry — over its $505 million acquisition of China Water and Drinks Inc. told potential class members Wednesday that they have reached a $27 million settlement.

  • April 23, 2014

    Google, SunPower Put Up $250M For Solar Lease Program

    Google Inc. and SunPower Corp. are investing as much as $250 million in a new program to finance residential solar lease projects, the companies announced Wednesday.

  • April 23, 2014

    SunEdison Gets $104M To Fund Ontario Solar Plants

    Solar manufacturer SunEdison Inc. said Wednesday that it has received CA$115 million ($104 million) in financing from Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. to bankroll the construction of two solar plants in Ontario that will provide a combined 33 megawatts of electricity.

  • April 23, 2014

    Army Corps Delays Decision On Everglades Water Plan

    A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers review board on Tuesday postponed giving final approval on a $2 billion water restoration plan for the Central Florida Everglades, saying it needed more time to review the plan, potentially delaying by years implementation of the critical water project.

  • April 23, 2014

    Pa. Rep. Appeals After Corbett Denies Drilling Info Request

    A Democratic lawmaker in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives asked the state’s Office of Open Records on Tuesday to review a decision by Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration denying a formal request for information about plans to raise $75 million by leasing public parkland for oil and gas drilling.

  • April 22, 2014

    NJ Ethics Agency Backs Pinelands Pipeline Voter's Recusal

    New Jersey’s ethics watchdog got behind a Pinelands Commission attorney on Tuesday, saying she rightly recommended that a commissioner abstain from voting on an agreement to greenlight a $90 million natural gas pipeline, which resulted in a deadlocked vote and the agreement's rejection.

  • April 22, 2014

    Fla. Senate Panel Passes Springs Bill, Drained Of Funding

    The Florida Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday advanced legislation to clean up the state's freshwater springs, a major recreational attraction and important connection to drinking water supplies, but not before largely gutting the once ambitious measure to the dismay of stakeholders.

  • April 22, 2014

    Texas AG Questions Alleged BLM Land Seizure Along Red River

    Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Tuesday penned a letter to the Bureau of Land Management, calling the agency out over its alleged plan to seize land along the Red River that Abbott says belongs to Texas landowners.

  • April 22, 2014

    Rail Industry Lagging On Oil Safety, Watchdog Warns

    National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah A. P. Hersman warned on Tuesday that the rail industry is falling behind on its oil shipping safety measures and said the usual negotiated rulemaking may be too slow to fix the problems.

  • April 22, 2014

    Gas Rule Stalling Leaves Industry Playing Endless Catch-Up

    The Obama administration is once again several months late in issuing its yearly renewable fuels standard for gasoline, and attorneys say that tardiness will continue in the future, leaving refiners and the auto industry ignorant and scrambling as federal officials try to balance ambitious biofuel estimates with decreasing fuel demand.

  • April 22, 2014

    The Accidental Advocate: Judge John E. Jones III

    Pennsylvania Middle District Judge John E. Jones III talks to Law360 about the surreal aftermath of his divisive ruling against intelligent design as he prepares for yet another potentially explosive trial over Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban.

  • April 22, 2014

    State Climate Actions Stumble On Dormant Commerce Clause

    A recent ruling that a Minnesota emissions law effectively barring electricity use from new coal-fired power plants is unconstitutional is the latest example of the dormant Commerce Clause impeding states' ability to regulate climate change, and experts say such legal skirmishes will continue until the U.S. Supreme Court sets clear, constitutional boundaries for states' climate policies.

  • April 22, 2014

    Uphold New Keystone Route, Neb. Officials Tell High Court

    Nebraska officials on Monday urged the state's top court to toss a lower court ruling that nixed Gov. Dave Heineman's approval of a new route for TransCanada Corp.'s controversial Keystone XL pipeline, saying it wrongly determined that the law giving him the power to do so was unconstitutional.

  • April 22, 2014

    Conn. Approves Wind Power Rules, Ending Moratorium

    Connecticut's Regulation Review Committee on Tuesday approved a set of guidelines for installing wind turbines in Connecticut, ending the one-and-a-half year moratorium on wind projects in the state.

Expert Analysis

  • Should Gov't Be Held Liable For WWII Industrial Pollution?

    Christopher H. Marraro

    The question of whether the U.S. government should be held liable for cleanup costs at industrial facilities that produced war material during WWII is playing out in ExxonMobil Corp. v. USA. We believe that three cases decided in the 1990s, which remain good law, answer this question in the affirmative, say Christopher Marraro and Thomas Hogan of BakerHostetler LLP.

  • Mandatory Pro Bono Is Not The Answer For Practitioners

     Amanda D. Smith

    The State Bar of California has decided to follow New York's lead and require prospective attorneys to record 50 hours of pro bono service in order to be eligible for admission. While we applaud the intentions behind these initiatives, there are a number of reasons why state bars should limit any mandatory pro bono requirement to this context, rather than extend it to licensed attorneys as some have suggested, say attorneys with the Association of Pro Bono Counsel.

  • 'Urban Decay' Still Plagues Calif. Big-Box Retail Plans

    Robert D. Thornton

    The latest decision in California's ongoing big-box retail battle came from a state appellate court in California Clean Energy Committee v. City of Woodland, which invalidated the approval of a development project. The reversal highlights a number of important California Environmental Quality Act compliance issues — not least among them mitigating "urban decay" and energy impacts, say Benjamin Rubin and Robert Thornton of Nossaman LLP.

  • NY Holds The Line On Expert Testimony In Toxic Torts

    Brian D. Casey

    The recent New York Court of Appeals ruling in Cornell v. 360 West 51st Street Realty LLC emphasizes the difficult burden faced by plaintiffs in mold exposure personal injury cases when a Frye challenge is made relating to the foundation of the plaintiff’s expert opinion on both general and specific causation, say John Casey and Brian Casey of Hiscock & Barclay LLP.

  • Earth Day And The Evolution Of Environmental Law

    Timothy J. Bergere

    Since 1970, environmental lawyers have been immersed in a myriad of federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations, beginning with the National Environmental Policy Act. As the movement has grown, Earth Day has become a placeholder for the idea that we can better manage our environment, and in the legal community, it reminds us that we must continue advancing the law with the goal of a cleaner environment in mind, says Timothy Bergere of Montgomery McCracken Walker Rhoads LLP.

  • The EPA's Next Regulatory Frontier: Large Ship Emissions

    Granta Nakayama

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's enforcement office is signaling a new area of interest — air pollution from large ships and ocean-going vessels. Public statements indicate sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide requirements are on the EPA's agenda and, given the agency's foray into new applications of existing environmental law, it may apply its practice of issuing notices of violation in the marine-vessels context, say Granta Nakayama and Ilana Saltzbart of Kirkland Ellis LLP.

  • The Future Of Law Firm PR: The Good, Bad And Ugly

    Paul Webb

    There has been a dramatic change in how public relations professionals interact with the news media to promote or protect a law firm’s brand and reputation. But content is queen and has a bright future in law firm PR — it all begins with a plan that should include goals, performance indicators and a system of assessment, say Paul Webb, director of marketing at Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP, and Kathy O'Brien, senior vice president at Jaffe PR.

  • 'Venting And Flaring' Rule May Spur EPA Regs On Methane

    Luke D. Johnson

    While the Bureau of Land Management's venting and flaring rule may be focused on the government's possible loss of resources from the energy industry's use of public land, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can be expected to focus more directly on methane itself. Potential regulations should be on the industry's radar, whether suppliers are operating on federal land or not, says Luke Johnson, a policy director with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP and former BLM deputy director for policy and programs.

  • Beware 'Jewel' Risks In Lateral Partner Hiring

    Pamela Phillips

    Jewel litigation has been filed after every major law firm bankruptcy in the past 10 years, including Lyon & Lyon, Brobeck, Coudert, Thelen, Heller and Howrey. These lawsuits have produced years of litigation, with similar suits expected in the Dewey bankruptcy. Despite the legal uncertainties surrounding such claims, hiring firms can take steps now to minimize their Jewel risk for any lateral hire, say attorneys with Arnold & Porter LLP.

  • Sweet Or Sour Development? EPA Tightens Tier 3 Gas Program

    Brenna K. Finn

    Gasoline sulfur levels have dropped up to 90 percent from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 2 Gasoline Sulfur Program, and the EPA's recently issued notice for the Tier 3 Program will further reduce gasoline sulfur content. However, it does not take much for a refinery to exceed the 10 ppm sulfur standard, and a stronger incentive may exist for refiners to generate and bank credits for their own future use, say Laura Riese and Brenna Finn of Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP.