Environmental

  • September 18, 2014

    Transocean Stuck With Deepwater Subpoenas, 5th Circ. Rules

    The Fifth Circuit ruled on Thursday that the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has the authority to investigate the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and to subpoena Transocean Ltd. for documents related to the accident, affirming a district court’s judgment in the case.

  • September 18, 2014

    Sen. Boxer Demands Changes To TSCA Reform Bill

    Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., on Thursday unveiled a counterproposal to the bipartisan overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act, saying the draft bill fails to improve the current law and that states need more autonomy to regulate dangerous chemicals on their own.

  • September 18, 2014

    EPA High Court Wins Leave Openings For Industry Challenges

    The U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions last term upholding much of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s cross-state air pollution and greenhouse gas regulations offer companies legal footholds they can use to challenge the agency's authority, according to attorneys looking ahead to the next term.

  • September 18, 2014

    House OKs Energy Package To Expedite Keystone XL, Drilling

    The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a package of energy-focused bills to ramp up oil and gas drilling and greenlight the Keystone XL pipeline among other initiatives, despite a White House threat to veto the bills if they reach the president's desk.

  • September 18, 2014

    Blackstone's Vivint Solar Powers Up For $371M Debut

    Blackstone-backed solar energy firm Vivint Solar Inc. told regulators on Thursday that it is seeking to raise up to $371 million in its initial public offering, much higher than prior projections, planning to issue 20.6 million shares priced at $16 to $18.

  • September 18, 2014

    Supreme Court Asked To Weigh Pollution Preemption

    An Iowa corn company has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to shut down a class action alleging it negligently releases harmful chemicals onto residents’ homes and properties, arguing the state-law claims are preempted by the federal Clean Air Act.

  • September 18, 2014

    Pa. DEP Fines Range Resources $4.2M For Fluid Leaks

    The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced on Thursday that Range Resources Corp. will pay $4.15 million — the largest fine against an oil and gas operator in the state’s shale drilling era — for alleged fluid leak violations at six of its impoundments in Washington County.

  • September 18, 2014

    NJ Panel Approves Ban On Fish-Choking Cosmetic Microbeads

    A New Jersey General Assembly committee on Thursday advanced legislation to prohibit the production and sale of cosmetic products containing microbeads, adding the state to a growing chorus of criticism against the cosmetic additives faulted for polluting the water supply.

  • September 18, 2014

    Murray To Argue EPA Can't Limit Plant Emissions At DC Circ.

    Murray Energy Corp. told the D.C. Circuit on Wednesday it plans to argue that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not have legal authority under the Clean Air Act to carry out its plan to slash carbon emissions from existing power plants.

  • September 18, 2014

    3rd Circ. Affirms Capeco Ch. 11 Claim Distribution Orders

    The Third Circuit on Thursday rejected Intertek USA Inc.'s argument that orders entered in Caribbean Petroleum Corp.'s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case give priority to tort claimants over other general unsecured creditors in the distribution of certain insurance proceeds, saying the plain language of the orders makes no such provision.

  • September 18, 2014

    FEMA Loses Fight To Fla. Water District Over $21M For Repairs

    A Florida federal judge on Wednesday reversed FEMA’s de-obligation of $21 million in rehabilitation funds for the Florida coast to repair canals and levees damaged from hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, saying the Stafford Act prohibits the federal agency from pulling the funds back.

  • September 18, 2014

    White House Unveils Plans To Push Solar Energy

    The White House on Thursday announced a host of initiatives to promote solar energy deployment and increase energy efficiency, including partnering with businesses to create jobs and cut carbon pollution, continuing its drive to combat the effects of climate change.

  • September 18, 2014

    Illinois AG Sues Greif Unit Over Chicago Canal Spill

    The Illinois attorney general filed suit on Wednesday to force Olympic Oil Ltd., a Greif Inc. subsidiary, to clean up thousands of gallons of oil-laden wastewater that has spilled from its suburban Chicago bulk oil terminal in recent months, saying the facility poses an ongoing threat to the environment.

  • September 18, 2014

    Key Democrat Urges Congress To Step Up TPP Engagement

    The top-ranking Democrat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday pressed his fellow lawmakers to intensify their engagement on certain issues within the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, stressing that the pact's rules on food safety, labor, the environment and other areas demand urgent scrutiny.

  • September 18, 2014

    Oxfam Sues SEC Over Delay Of Oil Payment Disclosure Rule

    Oxfam America sued the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday to compel the regulator to implement a controversial Dodd-Frank provision under which oil and gas companies would be required to disclose payments for valuable government land leases.

  • September 17, 2014

    BP Says $18B Deepwater Trial Shouldn't Be Cut Short

    BP Exploration and Production Inc. told a Louisiana federal judge on Tuesday it needs a three-week trial to defend itself from up to $18 billion in civil penalties stemming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, raising concerns that the trial could be cut to two weeks.

  • September 17, 2014

    ECOtality Shareholders Get Plug Pulled On Class Action

    A California federal judge on Tuesday tossed a putative shareholder class action against the directors and officers of bankrupt electric vehicle charger maker ECOtality Inc., ruling that their allegedly misleading statements about the company's viability were either protected forward-looking statements or not intentionally misleading.

  • September 17, 2014

    USDA Approves Controversial Dow GMO Corn, Soybeans

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday approved three corn and soybean plants genetically modified by a subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Co. to be resistant to a controversial herbicide, despite staunch opposition from consumer groups and members of Congress.

  • September 17, 2014

    Newfound Report Validates $266B BP FCA Suit: Plaintiff

    A former BP PLC contractor asked a Texas federal judge on Wednesday to revisit her decision tossing his $266 billion False Claims Act suit over the energy giant’s Atlantis facility in the Gulf of Mexico, saying a previously undisclosed government report proves the oil platform is unsafe.

  • September 17, 2014

    8 State AGs Back CWA Rule Protecting Smaller Streams

    Attorneys general from New York, Washington., D.C., and six other states on Tuesday voiced support for a regulation that would include smaller streams and tributaries in the waters protected under the Clean Water Act, saying the rule is based on “sound science” and considers the realities of interconnected waters.

Expert Analysis

  • High Court Roundup: Recent, Pending Environmental Cases

    Anthony B. Cavender

    Scaling back considerably from its 2012 term, the U.S. Supreme Court issued only a few rulings affecting environmental law in 2013, however cases slated for its upcoming term presage rulings across a broad spectrum of environmental and administrative law issues, say Anthony Cavender and Amanda Halter of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

  • Historic Calif. Groundwater Bills Are Dry On Specifics

    Alfred E. Smith II

    Despite their historic nature, California's set of groundwater bills do not determine or quantify water rights — how groundwater sustainability agencies will exercise their water right allocation authority or create sustainability plans where water rights priorities are contested is uncertain, says Alfred Smith of Nossaman LLP.

  • Class Ascertainability Continues To Become More Concrete

    David C. Kistler

    In the most recent example of a district court addressing ascertainability based on the Third Circuit's Marcus, Hayes and Carrera rulings, the matter of Paulsboro Derailment Cases demonstrates that, outside of consumer fraud class actions, plaintiffs can still overcome ascertainability, say David Kistler and Rachel Gallagher of Blank Rome LLP.

  • BP Damages Will Be Punishing, Though Not Punitive

    B.D. Daniel

    After the Phase One rulings in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill litigation, any oil spill plaintiff still seeking punitive damages from BP PLC will face a gauntlet of legal obstacles, which is good reason to doubt BP will ever pay punitive damages in personal injury cases — a small consolation given BP's potential liability for civil penalties, says B.D. Daniel of Beck Redden LLP.

  • OPINION: Pro Bono May Help Diversity Recruiting Efforts

    David A. Lash

    A recent Law360 article about the perennial BigLaw concern over how to recruit and retain female and ethnically diverse attorneys addressed a new approach being taken by some law firms — going beyond traditional mentoring programs by creating a sponsorship relationship. Pro bono can also play a part, say David Lash and Merle Vaughn of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel.

  • How Research Efficiency Impacts Law Firm Profitability

    David Houlihan

    For a law firm, excess time dedicated to legal research generates waste, either in the form of artificially reduced billable hours or, particularly in flat or contingency fee projects, as overhead eroding the profitability of legal work. By measuring five factors, firms will begin to understand their own opportunities for improving profits, says David Houlihan of Blue Hill Research Inc.

  • Be Wary Of Inadvertent Waivers In Contamination Claims

    Richard F. Ricci

    A New Jersey appellate court's ruling in Favorito v. Puritan Oil Company Inc. provides valuable lessons in how to — and how not to — prosecute claims for damages based on contamination migrating from one property to another, say Richard Ricci and Nikki Adame Winningham of Lowenstein Sandler LLP.

  • Nonsignatory Arbitration Extensions Remain The Exception

    Michael D. Kibler

    Transatlantic Reinsurance Co. v. National Indemnification Co. makes clear that arbitration provisions in reinsurance agreements will be enforceable only against the signatories that assented to arbitration as a means to resolve disputes, say Michael Kibler and Craig Waldman of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.

  • Best Business Planning Practices For Lawyers

    Jenn Topper

    Each lawyer's practice is a self-run business, even within the platform of a firm, and yet the level of entrepreneurialism within the practice of law is oftentimes marginalized, says legal industry business development specialist Jenn Topper.

  • Bermuda Form: Retroactive Integrated Occurrences

    James R. Murray

    Two potential risks in retroactively declaring an integrated occurrence and moving a claim to a subsequent year is that other unknown claims may fall in the same policy year and that the policy year of the integrated occurrence contains exclusions subject to continuity dates, say attorneys at Dickstein Shapiro LLP.