• December 22, 2014

    XTO Energy To Take $5M Hit For Dumping In West Virginia

    ExxonMobil Corp. unit XTO Energy Inc. will pay more than $5 million in fines and restoration costs for environmental damage near natural gas extraction sites in West Virginia in a tentative settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday.

  • December 22, 2014

    Enviros Poised To Challenge EPA's New Coal Ash Rule

    Environmental groups unhappy with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's first-ever federal regulations on coal ash could challenge the final rule, saying Monday it is much weaker than an earlier proposed version, gives too much leeway to the energy industry and puts an unreasonable enforcement burden on citizens.

  • December 22, 2014

    9th Circ. Sides With Enviro Agency In Calif. Water Battle

    The Ninth Circuit on Monday reversed a lower court's decision to invalidate a conservation plan aimed at protecting endangered salmon in California's Central Valley, ruling that the National Marine Fisheries Service’s biological opinion was reasonable and within its discretion.

  • December 22, 2014

    DOI Reinstates Coal Mining Water Rules

    The Department of Interior said Monday it is switching up its controversial water regulations that rolled back stream protections near mountaintop removal coal mining sites, removing key provisions that a federal court earlier this year ruled violated the Endangered Species Act.

  • December 22, 2014

    IFC Backs $1.7B In Hydroelectric Projects In Nepal

    International Finance Corp. said Monday it has partnered with Indian infrastructure company GMR Group to develop the 900-megawatt Upper Karnali hydropower plant and two transmission line projects in Nepal, designed to meet rising energy demand and create jobs in south Asia.

  • December 22, 2014

    Freedom President Objects To $3M AIG Settlement

    The indicted president of Freedom Industries Inc., whose January chemical spill is blamed for contaminating drinking water for 300,000 West Virginia residents, told a bankruptcy court on Friday that he objected to a company's proposed $3 million settlement with AIG Specialty Insurance Co.

  • December 22, 2014

    Disney Wins Sanctions In Row Over Alleged Tainted Water

    A California judge on Monday issued $12,800 in sanctions against a group suing The Walt Disney Co. and tossed their suit alleging that Disney dumped toxins into Southern California's water supply, saying that the group wrongfully tried to resurrect claims that had been dismissed in prior actions.

  • December 22, 2014

    Great Lakes Gray Wolves Added Back To Endangered List

    A Washington, D.C., federal judge on Friday overturned a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision removing Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region, saying the agency’s decision was arbitrary and capricious and violated the ESA.

  • December 22, 2014

    PacifiCorp Pays $2.5M For Bird Deaths At Wyo. Wind Farms

    PacifiCorp Energy, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway, will pay $2.5 million to settle charges stemming from the deaths of federally protected birds, including golden eagles, at two of the utility's wind projects in Wyoming, federal prosecutors said Friday.

  • December 22, 2014

    BP Deserves $18B Max Penalty For Deepwater Spill, US Says

    The U.S. government on Friday urged the judge overseeing the Deepwater Horizon multidistrict litigation to hit BP Exploration & Production Inc. with $18 billion in Clean Water Act penalties, saying the energy giant's role in the 2010 disaster warranted the maximum penalty under the law.

  • December 19, 2014

    K&L Gates IP Partner Decamps After Client DQ Fight

    Former K&L Gates LLP partner Charles Holland has left the firm’s Palo Alto, California,  office for a position at Strategic Innovation IP Law Offices, less than three months after K&L Gates was accused of representing both sides of a patent infringement suit with ties to Holland.

  • December 19, 2014

    9th Circ Holds Anti-Whaling Protester Group In Contempt

    The Ninth Circuit on Friday held anti-whaling activist Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which the court previously called pirates, in contempt for violating an injunction barring them from interfering with Japanese whale-hunting researchers.

  • December 19, 2014

    Retiring Pa. Chief Justice Pegs Legacy On Fracking Decision

    As he prepares to leave the bench at the end of the year, the retiring chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court told Law360 in an interview that his legacy would live on through a 2013 ruling finding that statewide hydraulic fracturing rules violated constitutionally enshrined environmental protections.

  • December 19, 2014

    Enviros Sue EPA Over Court-Ordered Stormwater Law Update

    Two environmental groups on Thursday sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Ninth Circuit, claiming that the agency has yet to comply with a 2003 decision rendered by the appeals court that mandated the agency strengthen its stormwater runoff rule.

  • December 19, 2014

    FERC Approves $607M Leidy Gas Pipeline Project

    Natural gas pipeline group Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC won approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday to build its 30-mile Leidy Southeast pipeline expansion project and to abandon a compressor engine in Pennsylvania.

  • December 19, 2014

    Feds, Enviros Push High Court To Preserve Fish Protections

    The federal government and environmental groups urged the U.S. Supreme Court to preserve a Ninth Circuit ruling keeping intact a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan aimed at protecting California’s endangered delta smelt, arguing that the government didn’t need to consider potential economic impact on third parties.

  • December 19, 2014

    DOE Needs Land, Water Rights For Nev. Nuke Waste Storage

    The U.S. Department of Energy must acquire land and water rights around Yucca Mountain in the Nevada desert before it can seek to use the site to store the country's radioactive waste, according to a Thursday report by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which was reviewing the DOE's application.

  • December 19, 2014

    JPMorgan, Solar Co. Team Up On Solar Project Venture

    Institutional investors advised by JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s asset management arm are teaming with solar power producer Sonnedix on a joint venture to develop and operate more than €300 million ($367 million) worth of solar projects around the world, the companies announced Friday.

  • December 19, 2014

    Judge Keeps Alive Part Of OC Water District's MTBE Suit

    A New York federal judge on Thursday kept alive part of the Orange County Water District’s suit claiming that a gasoline additive leaked by Tesoro Corp., Shell Oil Co. and others endangered the water supply, saying it was too early to determine whether an expert report established causation.

  • December 19, 2014

    Navistar’s Faulty-Engine MDL Centralized In Illinois

    The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has granted engine maker Navistar Inc.’s request to consolidate 13 lawsuits in Illinois alleging the trucking company’s Maxxforce diesel engines are defective and lead to engine failure.

Expert Analysis

  • The State Of Technology-Assisted Review In 2014

    Gabriela Baron

    The rule of thumb that can be gleaned from this year’s case law is that parties should address the use of technology-assisted review early on in the discovery process since a failure to do so may later be used against them, says Gabriela Baron of Xerox Litigation Services.

  • NY's Fracking Ban: Politics Under The Veil Of 'Science'

    Yvonne Hennessey

    The losers from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York are countless in the state's Southern Tier. Perhaps one day the biggest question on everyone’s minds will be answered — whether science dictated the decision to ban drilling or just good old politics, says Yvonne Hennessey of Hiscock & Barclay LLP.

  • How Will States Put The Clean Power Plan Into Practice?

    Jennelle Arthur

    Setting aside arguments over the legality of President Obama's Clean Power Plan, of which there are many, commenters have expressed serious concerns over what is perceived as the plan’s largest flaw — its actual application on a state-by-state basis, particularly in the coal country of West Virginia, says Jennelle Arthur of Jackson Kelly PLLC.

  • NY Lessees Are Not Liable Under CERCLA As Owners

    Marc Brainich

    Next Millennium Realty LLC v. Adchem Corp. confirms the general rule that New York lessees who sublet property will continue to not be subject to liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act as an owner, absent unusual circumstances in the relationship between the lessee and the property owner, says Marc Brainich of Sedgwick LLP.

  • What Happens When Legal Aid Cuts Stimulate Pro Bono?

    Kevin J. Curnin

    The bad news coming out of the European Pro Bono Summit in November was the rising toll of heavy cuts to public legal aid in England. From this crossroad, there is a lot to be learned about the relationship between public and private assistance, the direction of legal help for the poor in the EU, and whether the American legal aid/pro bono experience offers a road map for what’s next in Europe, says Kevin Curnin of the Association ... (continued)

  • Blankenship Case Shows Perils Of Post-Crisis Assurances

    Jeremy Peterson

    Attorneys and executives would do well to take note of the recent federal indictment of Massey Energy Co.'s former CEO, which shows that, in at least some circumstances, relatively general and open-ended corporate statements can be the basis for criminal charges, say attorneys at Arnold & Porter LLP.

  • Public Comments On CAA Program Hint At Revision

    Brenna Finn

    Recently published comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's request for information on amending the Clean Air Act's Risk Management Program include key issues that illustrate anticipated areas for programmatic revision over jurisdictional boundaries and expertise, performance-based versus prescriptive standards and the treatment of confidential business information, say Laura Riese and Brenna Finn of Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP.

  • Dart Cherokee Rejects CAFA Anti-Removal Presumption

    John Beisner

    The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Company v. Owens resolved a lopsided split in the lower federal courts over the proper removal procedure under the Class Action Fairness Act — however, the high court’s closing remark that there is no anti-removal presumption in CAFA cases will likely be of even greater significance going forward, say attorneys at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP.

  • Utah Prairie Dog Could Narrow Endangered Species Act

    Joshua A. Bloom

    In an unprecedented ruling, a Utah federal judge recently struck down the application of the Endangered Species Act to a prairie dog whose habitat is wholly within Utah, creating the potential for a constitutional showdown that could result in a significant narrowing of the Endangered Species Act and further limit Congress’ power to legislate, say Joshua Bloom and David Metres of Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp LLP.

  • 3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Hiring Appellate Counsel

    David Axelrad

    In the classic case, a client and his attorney seek appellate counsel after the trial court proceedings are concluded. But these days, “classic cases” are few and far between — more and more, appellate lawyers assist in the trial court with preservation of the appellate record and compliance with the many technical rules of appellate procedure, says David Axelrad of Horvitz & Levy LLP.