Environmental

  • July 30, 2015

    San Francisco Can't Sue DOT Over Gas Blast, 9th Circ. Says

    San Francisco is not authorized to sue the U.S. Department of Transportation on claims the agency failed to enforce natural gas pipeline safety rules that led to a deadly 2010 explosion, the Ninth Circuit said Thursday, affirming a lower court.

  • July 30, 2015

    Judge To Rule On $225M NJ Exxon Mobil Deal In August

    The decision to approve or reject New Jersey's proposed $225 million payout from Exxon Mobil Corp. to settle natural resource damage claims will wait another month because there's “a lot to consider,” a judge said Thursday after six hours of testimony by the deal's advocates and opponents.

  • July 30, 2015

    Mont. High Court Nixes Crow Members' Water Rights Row

    The Montana Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a lower court decision tossing a suit by members of the Crow Nation over water rights on their reservation, saying the lower court had rightly decided not to stay the case while the members’ federal complaint was pending.

  • July 30, 2015

    Cecil The Lion's Death Spurs Talk Of Game Trophy Airport Ban

    A New Jersey lawmaker on Wednesday responded to the “tragic demise” of Cecil — a beloved African lion hunted down in Zimbabwe by a Minnesota man in early July — by proposing legislation to ban the transport of game trophies of threatened or endangered species through New York and New Jersey's major airports.

  • July 30, 2015

    Polluted Site's Owner Can Reboot Suit Against NJDEP

    A New Jersey appeals court Thursday gave CD&L Realty LLC another shot at suing the state Department of Environmental Protection to take action against the previous owner of a contaminated industrial property that CD&L purchased in 2000.

  • July 30, 2015

    Greenpeace Must Pay While Activists Suspend Shell Operation

    An Alaska federal judge said Thursday that Greenpeace Inc. is in civil contempt and will be fined thousands for every hour its activists hang off the St. John's Bridge in Portland, Oregon, preventing Royal Dutch Shell PLC's ship from leaving.

  • July 30, 2015

    GOP, Dems Duel Over EPA's Ozone Standards Plan

    U.S. House lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are weighing in on the Obama administration's plan to tighten national ozone standards, with Republicans claiming a tougher standard would be economically crippling and Democrats pushing for the strictest standard possible to protect public health.

  • July 30, 2015

    Nevada Power, Tribe Strike $4.3M Deal Over Plant's Waste

    A Native American tribe and the Sierra Club on Tuesday asked a Nevada federal judge to approve a $4.3 million settlement with Nevada Power Co. and a co-owner of the coal-fired energy plant, which the tribe said leaked toxic materials into its land and drinking water.

  • July 30, 2015

    Calif. Officials Ignored Fracking Effects Study, Enviros Say

    The Center for Biological Diversity on Thursday urged a state judge to block California oil and gas regulators from issuing hydraulic fracturing permits, claiming they ignored a state-ordered study that found some chemicals used in the controversial drilling technique may be harmful.

  • July 30, 2015

    Gov't Not Liable For Cleanup Costs At Defense Superfund Site

    A California federal judge on Wednesday let the government off the hook for cleanup costs at a site in San Diego where defense products were built for 60 years, holding that TDY Industries Inc. would have to fully cover the costs of clearing harmful chemicals out of the soil.

  • July 30, 2015

    Senate Energy Panel OKs Reforms, End To Oil Export Ban

    The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on Thursday advanced a broad bipartisan energy reform package, as well as a bill that would lift the decades-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports.

  • July 30, 2015

    4 Clean Water Act Cases To Watch

    Multiple battles over how to interpret the Clean Water Act and what powers it grants its enforcers are brewing in federal courts, including several that challenge the EPA’s bid to redefine which waterways are subject to its jurisdiction and when jurisdictional determinations may be challenged. Here, Law360 looks at four CWA cases environmental attorneys should be watching and one from California state court that could have national implications.

  • July 30, 2015

    CSX Calls Bid To Revive Golf Course Suit ‘Jiggery-Pokery’

    A golf course owner can’t use the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new rule on federal waterways to revive a $3.7 million lawsuit against CSX Transportation Inc. and Columbia County, Georgia, over the flooding of the course, CSX told a federal judge Thursday.

  • July 30, 2015

    FRA Spawns Rule To Prevent Runaway Oil Trains

    The Federal Railroad Administration issued a final rule Thursday that aims to prevent unattended trains carrying hazardous or flammable materials like crude oil from rolling away, though environmental groups maintained that regulations are still not doing enough.

  • July 30, 2015

    Dem Reps. Want Proof Of Compliance Before TPP Goes Live

    A bevy of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday urged the White House to verify that all parties to the Trans-Pacific Partnership have complied with the deal before it is enacted, particularly emphasizing the TPP's rules governing labor, the environment and telecommunications.

  • July 30, 2015

    Chiesa Shahinian Adds Environmental Law Pro

    Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC announced Monday it has brought on a former Sedita Campisano & Campisano LLC partner with expertise on matters of environmental law, brownfields redevelopment, site remediation and regulatory compliance as a member in its West Orange, New Jersey, office.

  • July 29, 2015

    9th Circ. Revives ‘Roadless Rule’ For Tongass Nat’l Forest

    The Ninth Circuit revived limits on road construction and timber harvesting in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest on Wednesday, finding that the U.S. Department of Agriculture did not sufficiently explain a decision to drop the forest from a Clinton-era rule.

  • July 29, 2015

    Rep. Wants To Exempt Tribes From CWA Mitigation Measure

    An Alaskan congressman sought Tuesday to exempt Native American tribes from mitigation requirements outlined in the Clean Water Act stemming from certain discharges of dredged or fill material, or to allow them and others to undertake alternative mitigation measures.

  • July 29, 2015

    NJ Court Says County On Hook For Dam Repairs

    New Jersey's environmental watchdog roped a county and owners of downstream elements of certain dams back into its suits over the repair and removal of deteriorating structures, when an appeals court Wednesday overturned summary judgments for the defendants.

  • July 29, 2015

    Changes Afoot In Final Version Of Clean Power Plan

    Though the core carbon emission reduction goals of the Clean Power Plan aren't expected to change when the final version of the regulations is released shortly, reports that the Obama administration will push back compliance deadlines for states signal it's contemplating some significant tweaks to the original proposal.

Expert Analysis

  • UPenn Fracking Study Can't Give Plaintiffs Causation

    Harry Weiss

    Despite the media attention surrounding a recent University of Pennsylvania study linking increased hospital visits for cardiac and neurological complaints with hydraulic fracturing, it is unlikely to significantly help plaintiffs looking to establish causation, say Harry Weiss and Philip Yannella of Ballard Spahr LLP.

  • Managing A Company's Internal Environmental Investigation

    Rob Van Walleghem

    Unless corporate policy is absolute, in-house counsel should advocate for use of the work-product privilege when conducting U.S.-based internal investigations. A company can always choose to waive the privilege if it decides to disclose its finding to the government — but it loses that option if it never invokes the privilege in the first place, say attorneys at Alston & Bird LLP and Tervita Corp.

  • 3rd Circ. Gives EPA Broad Discretion In Chesapeake Bay

    Laura Wolff

    By ruling in favor of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in American Farm Bureau Federation v. EPA, the Third Circuit gave the agency wide latitude in using the Total Maximum Daily Load process to regulate nonpoint sources of pollution, which typically are regulated by the states, say Laura Wolff and Marc Bruner of Perkins Coie LLP.

  • 9th Circ. Confirms FCA Relator's Conviction Bars Recovery

    Suzanne Jaffe Bloom

    U.S. v. CH2M Hill was a matter of first impression in the Ninth Circuit, and the court’s recent holding is consistent with prior decisions from the Sixth and Eighth Circuits that have noted that relators who have been convicted for their participation in the fraud are not entitled to any recovery, say Suzanne Jaffe Bloom and Mollie Richardson of Winston & Strawn LLP.

  • FERC Finds No Cause For Change In Its GHG Analysis

    Howard L. Nelson

    The Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC rehearing order suggests that the Council on Environmental Quality's draft guidance concerning climate change analysis from federal agencies will not change the calculus of environmental impact analyses from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under the National Environmental Policy Act, insofar as it concerns greenhouse gases, say Gus Howard and Howard Nelson of Greenberg Traurig LLP.

  • An Oft-Forgotten Detail In Infrastructure Deals

    Burt Braverman

    The fallout from overlooking telecommunications licenses — an essential element of infrastructure deals — can be at best inconvenient and at worst very costly, says Burt Braverman of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

  • Texas Takes Firm Stance Toward Local Environmental Fines

    Gerald J. Pels

    Texas' cap on local fines and penalties from environmental litigation is one of the first in the country. While H.B. 1794 does not limit the state’s authority to bring actions, recover penalties or limit any authority — state or local — to pursue criminal actions for environmental infractions, it will provide predictability in enforcement and will often lead to greater compliance, says Gerald Pels of Locke Lord LLP.

  • REBUTTAL: The Problem With 3rd-Party Litigation Financing

    Lisa Rickard

    Manipulating gender disparity in the service of hawking a flawed investment product does nothing but trivialize a serious and important issue. The tortured logic in Burford Capital LLC’s recent plug for third-party litigation financing is nothing more than a marketing ploy to boost revenues, says Lisa Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.

  • Drought In Calif. Is Changing The Real Estate Landscape

    Ian T. O’Banion

    With California farmers and at least one celebrity fined for stealing water, water suppliers and users alike are in the process of developing strategies for compliance amid dwindling supplies. For the real estate industry, these challenges serve as an opportunity to develop creative cross-disciplinary efficiency measures that could serve as a model for responding to severe droughts in other parts of the world, say Ian O’Banion and ... (continued)

  • Fla. Will Go With The Flow On EPA 'Waters Of The US' Rule

    Gregory M. Munson

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's changes to the scope of "waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act will be mitigated in Florida given the state’s already sweeping definition of "waters of the state," which even includes groundwater, unlike the new federal rule, says Gunster's Gregory Munson, former general counsel and deputy secretary for water policy at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.