Environmental

  • March 27, 2015

    Calif. Gov. Signs $1B Drought Relief Package

    As California confronts severely dry conditions for the fourth year in a row, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed a legislative package that will steer $1 billion in emergency funding toward drought relief and water infrastructure projects.

  • March 27, 2015

    DOI Says Gov't Had To Sell Okla. Tribes' Timber Lands

    The U.S. Department of the Interior told a federal judge Thursday that the federal government was mandated to sell 1.3 million acres of unallotted timber lands of the Chickasaw Nation and Choctaw Nation based on the plain meaning of a 1906 federal law for disposal of tribal lands.

  • March 27, 2015

    Pa. Utility Dodges Solar Co.’s Unfair Competition Suit

    A Pennsylvania federal judge shot down a solar company’s unfair competition claim against a utility company that wouldn’t allow access to the power grid for electricity generated by solar power, saying Sunrise Energy LLC’s arguments came up short of the threshold for a claim.

  • March 27, 2015

    Exide Wins Nod For Ch. 11 Plan To Slash Debt By $600M

    A Delaware bankruptcy judge blessed Exide Technologies Inc.'s reorganization plan on Friday, clearing the way for the battery maker to emerge from a lengthy stint in Chapter 11 with its debt load lightened by $600 million.

  • March 27, 2015

    Exide's $133M No-Prosecute Deal OK'd In Pollution Row

    A Delaware bankruptcy judge on Friday approved a nonprosecution agreement between Exide Technologies Inc. and federal prosecutors requiring the company to admit to illegally handling hazardous waste at its Los Angeles-area battery recycling plant, and to close and clean up the plant, among other remedies costing up to $133 million.

  • March 27, 2015

    Nonprofit Takes Texas Endangered Crane Suit To High Court

    A Texas environmental nonprofit has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether the Fifth Circuit exhibited "appellate overreach" in reversing an injunction barring the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality from issuing new water permits for rivers that flow to coastal estuaries and house endangered whooping cranes.

  • March 27, 2015

    ICMA Extends Green Bond Eligibility To Climate Change Work

    The International Capital Market Association updated its voluntary guidelines on green bonds Friday, adding “climate change adaption” to categories of eligible projects as part of a broader refinement intended to clarify what projects should be considered "green."

  • March 27, 2015

    Enviros Ask 9th Circ. To Review Alaska Logging Plan

    Environmental groups on Thursday appealed a federal judge’s decision to toss their suit seeking to stop a huge old-growth timber sale from going forward in an Alaska national forest and asked for a temporary injunction while the appeal is made.

  • March 27, 2015

    Discovery Halted In NJ Landfill Row On Grand Jury Concerns

    A New Jersey federal judge halted discovery Friday in a landfill owner's suit alleging a state environmental regulator illegally conspired to seize the property, after the company argued it has the right to refuse discovery questions because of a state grand jury investigation.

  • March 27, 2015

    Wal-Mart Plan Didn't Flout CEQA, Calif. Appeals Court Says

    A California appeals court refused Thursday to revive a citizen group's lawsuit claiming the city of Redlands violated the California Environmental Quality Act when it approved a shopping center anchored by a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. store, finding Redlands adequately considered the environmental consequences of the plan.

  • March 27, 2015

    Senate Dems Seek Permanent Backing For Conservation Fund

    A group of U.S. Senate Democrats on Thursday unveiled a bill to provide long-term funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program scheduled to expire in September that uses offshore oil and gas revenues to help preserve public lands ranging from national parks to community ballfields.

  • March 27, 2015

    FWS Bowed To Oil Lobby Pressure Over Wildflowers, Suit Says

    Conservation groups accused the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of bowing to pressure from energy companies by denying Endangered Species Act protection to two wildflower species that live only on oil shale formations in Colorado and Utah, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Colorado federal court.

  • March 27, 2015

    House Bill Would Apply Oil Spill Law No Matter Spill’s Origin

    A pair of U.S. Congress members from Florida introduced legislation on Thursday that would make companies pay cleanup costs under the Oil Pollution Act and face Clean Water Act penalties for oil spills that originate in foreign waters but reach U.S. waters.

  • March 27, 2015

    Ala., Okla. Join $98M Carbon Black CAA Settlement

    An Oklahoma federal judge on Thursday allowed Alabama and Oklahoma to join a Clean Air Act suit, giving the states greater authority to enforce a settlement that requires a carbon black manufacturer to invest $98 million to control toxic emissions.

  • March 27, 2015

    Senate Passes 2016 Budget After Marathon Debate Session

    The U.S. Senate on Friday narrowly approved the chamber’s proposed 2016 budget plan after a marathon session that saw it back amendments to ease environmental and tax laws and provide paid sick leave, while rejecting bids to restore health care cuts and increase defense spending.

  • March 26, 2015

    EPA's GC Slams McConnell's Carbon Plan Criticisms

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's general counsel on Thursday said criticism leveled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Harvard professor Laurence Tribe against a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at existing power plants is premature and counterproductive.

  • March 26, 2015

    NJ Assembly Approves Bills Responding To Exxon Settlement

    The New Jersey Assembly on Thursday approved two measures related to the state's controversial $225 million settlement with Exxon Mobil Corp. over refinery pollution, calling for an extension to the public notice period and a requirement that half the settlement amount be allocated to restoration and cleanup.

  • March 26, 2015

    Conoco Secured In Oil Contamination Suit, Texas Court Says

    A Texas appeals court on Thursday held that a lower court was wrong to grant summary judgment against ConocoPhillips Co. in an indemnity suit over oil contamination in Louisiana, finding that Noble Energy Inc. instead owes the company a duty of defense and indemnity.

  • March 26, 2015

    Industrial Cleaning Cos. To Pay EPA's Ga. Superfund Costs

    The owner of two industrial cleaning companies has agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency $285,000 to settle claims related to the release of hazardous materials at two Superfund sites in Dawson, Georgia.

  • March 26, 2015

    Anadarko Asks High Court To Mull Deepwater Horizon Liability

    Anadarko Petroleum Corp. has urged the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Fifth Circuit’s definition of “discharge” in finding it potentially liable for more than $4 billion in penalties for Clean Water Act violations tied to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Expert Analysis

  • Dividing CERCLA Site Just Won't Cut It On Liability

    Marc A. Zeppetello

    Appvion Inc. v. P.H. Glatfelter Co. confirms that a potentially responsible party cannot escape Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act liability based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency dividing a site into operable units, says Marc Zeppetello of Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp LLP.

  • What Experts Can Say About Inadmissible Facts During Trial

    Jason McDonell

    For reliance material that is not admitted on the stand, consider bolstering the testimony by having the expert describe the evidence generally, but in a way that signals to the jury that the expert has a strong foundation of supporting facts and data. If done well, such testimony can open the door to admitting the evidence, say Jason McDonell and Heather Fugitt of Jones Day.

  • 3rd Circ. Keeps Open Possible Fracking Carveout Challenge

    Emily B. Thomas

    Despite the decision in Rodriguez v. Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, the Third Circuit’s ruling was very narrow and leaves a door open for future challenges to state trade secret protections for hydraulic fracturing companies when it comes to medical care carveouts, says Emily Thomas of Baker & Hostetler LLP.

  • Combating Climate Change Continues With Executive Orders

    George O. Wilkinson Jr.

    President Obama's latest executive order on greenhouse gas emissions will impact both federal agencies and government contractors and once again signals the White House's intention to combat climate change in spite of some members of Congress, state governments and industry groups, say George Wilkinson Jr. and Corinne Snow of Vinson & Elkins LLP.

  • High Court May Take On Corporate 5th Amendment Privilege

    Ramzi Abadou

    A festering but virtually unnoticed circuit split over a legal doctrine the U.S. Supreme Court first recognized early last century may provide the Roberts court with the opportunity to grant corporate persons privilege against self-incrimination for the first time in U.S. history, says Ramzi Abadou of Kahn Swick & Foti LLP.

  • Rage Rises To The Top At BLM's New Fracking Rules

    J. Tom Boer

    The Bureau of Land Management's final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on public lands saw a swift political backlash — energy industry groups filed a lawsuit challenging the rulemaking and the GOP-controlled Senate issued a statement criticizing the rule as duplicative and unnecessary, says J. Tom Boer, a partner with Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp LLP and former attorney with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Regulatory Divergence May Be New Norm After GHG Guidance

    Mark C. Kalpin

    The White House Council on Environmental Quality's revised draft guidance on greenhouse gas emissions gives significant discretion to agencies to proceed appropriately in light of their unique mandates and circumstances, which raises concerns about possible divergent practices among different agencies, say attorneys at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP.

  • Not Saved By The Bell: Dismissing Classes Prediscovery

    Laura E. Vendzules

    While bet-the-company class actions are on the rise with support from regulatory agencies, courts remain more open to limiting their scope. Bell v. Cheswick Generating Station is critical in that it signals a willingness to dispose of class claims before class discovery and prior to any motion for certification if the class as alleged is implausible on its face, say Laura Vendzules and Michael Iannucci of Blank Rome LLP.

  • What Yates Tells Us About High Court's View Of Criminal Law

    Kedar Bhatia

    If you look beyond the headlines and the immediate ruling in Yates v. U.S., the U.S. Supreme Court's 43-page decision, split across plurality, concurring and dissenting opinions, provides important guideposts about where the justices see the current state of criminal law, say Kedar Bhatia and Shamoil Shipchandler of Bracewell & Giuliani LLP.

  • Is Your Landfill Or Other Wasting Asset Fairly Assessed?

    Ronald S. Cusano

    As an investment, a landfill is high risk due in part to the potential for extreme environmental liabilities. Conventional appraisal methods, including cost, comparable sales and even the traditional income method, do not account fully for these unique factors, says Ronald Cusano of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP.