Environmental

  • October 30, 2014

    Houston Can Cut Off Service To Treatment Plant, Court Says

    A Texas appeals court on Thursday dissolved an agreement in a long-running payment dispute between the city of Houston and a Downstream Environmental LLC wastewater plant that prevented the city from discontinuing wastewater service to the plant.

  • October 30, 2014

    San Antonio Approves $3.4B Water Supply Pipeline

    San Antonio’s city council on Thursday unanimously approved a $3.4 billion, 30-year water supply project planned to bring up to 16.3 billion gallons a year to the city through a 142-mile pipeline.

  • October 30, 2014

    Enviros Attack Wash. Permit For Nuke Plant Water Pollution

    Environmental groups challenged a Washington state decision to issue a water pollution permit to a commercial nuclear reactor in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Washington state court, claiming the state violated federal and state water quality laws by issuing the permit.

  • October 30, 2014

    23 AGs Assail EPA's Mercury Rule At Supreme Court

    Attorneys general from 23 states including Michigan, Texas and Alaska asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to review the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rule limiting mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants, arguing the agency failed to adequately consider the regulation’s economic impact.

  • October 30, 2014

    Alaska Drilling Project Clears BLM Environmental Review

    The first oil and gas drilling project proposed on federal lands in Alaska cleared a major hurdle Wednesday, as the U.S. Department of the Interior unveiled a final environmental review that it says will limit the ConocoPhillips Co. project’s impact on wildlife and native cultures.

  • October 30, 2014

    EPA’s Cynthia Giles Says New Tech Is Fueling Enforcement

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's program to increase use of new technology in environmental monitoring has uncovered more pollution than expected and led to tough compliance actions over air, water and waste rules, enforcement chief Cynthia Giles told Law360. This is part one of a two-part series.

  • October 30, 2014

    9th Circ. Rebuffs Enviros, Gives LA Port Project OK

    The Ninth Circuit on Thursday ruled that the U.S. Department of Transportation properly approved a proposed expressway for trucks leaving the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, affirming a lower court's dismissal of the Natural Resources Defense Council's suit seeking to block the project.

  • October 30, 2014

    TerraForm Pays $250M For 39 Capital Dynamics Solar Assets

    In an effort to bolster its solar capabilities, SunEdison Inc. subsidiary TerraForm Power Inc. has agreed to buy a portfolio of solar energy assets from Swiss asset manager Capital Dynamics for about $250 million, the companies said late Wednesday evening.

  • October 30, 2014

    Pa. Rep Launches Probe Into Fracking Waste Disposal

    A Pennsylvania congressman has asked the state’s Department of Environmental Protection to hand over records about its process for monitoring the handling and disposal of waste from hydraulic fracturing as part of a nationwide investigation by a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee.

  • October 30, 2014

    BP Cites Prejudice In Flexible Deepwater Claim Policies

    BP PLC on Wednesday moved to block several policies that limit the amount of evidence needed to make a claim against the $9.2 billion Deepwater Horizon settlement fund, arguing that the policies were tainted by the embattled claims administrator who approved them.

  • October 30, 2014

    Enviros Challenge NRC Waste Storage Rule At DC Circ.

    Environmentalists on Wednesday challenged the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s recent rule for long-term nuclear waste storage, saying that the rule violates the U.S. Environmental Policy Act and federal atomic energy regulations in two petitions for review filed in the D.C. Circuit.

  • October 29, 2014

    Permit To Reopen NY Power Plant Was Rushed, Suit Claims

    Environmental advocacy group Riverkeeper Inc. has launched a complaint against the New York Public Service Commission in New York state court, claiming the agency unlawfully hurried through Helios Capital Power LLP's bid to restart a shuttered, 500-megawatt coal-fired plant in New York's Hudson Valley.

  • October 29, 2014

    Wind Funding Declines While Industry Queues Up Deals

    Large-scale funding and merger activity for wind power projects dropped significantly in the third quarter from the previous one, but the slump may be temporary, as wind investors announced a huge volume of new deals recently, according to a Mercom Capital Group survey of companies and investors.

  • October 29, 2014

    Exxon Can’t Keep Spill Docs Confidential, Landowners Say

    A class of landowners suing ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. over the 2013 Pegasus pipeline rupture in Mayflower, Arkansas, told a federal judge that the oil giant’s claim that evidence relating to the pipeline’s maintenance and repair should be confidential has no basis in law.

  • October 29, 2014

    EU Commits $817.9M To Upgrade Energy Infrastructure

    The European Union agreed Wednesday to spend €647 million ($817.9 million) on energy infrastructure projects, mostly targeted at poorer Baltic and central and southeastern European states that lack resources to install upgrades the union believes will have cross-border benefits.

  • October 29, 2014

    Superior Crude To Pay $1.6M To Settle Oil Spill Claims

    Superior Crude Gathering Inc. has agreed to pay a $1.61 million civil penalty to end allegations that a crude oil spill at its Texas storage facility violated the Clean Water Act, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday.

  • October 29, 2014

    Spectra Energy Hit With $8M Suit Over NJ Oil Contamination

    Spectra Energy Operating Co. LLC on Tuesday was hit with an $8 million environmental contamination suit in New Jersey federal court, with 25 plaintiffs claiming Spectra’s negligence in laying a gas pipeline led to soil and water contamination during Superstorm Sandy.

  • October 29, 2014

    Canada Beefs Up Oil Rail Transport Rules After Deadly Crash

    Canadian transportation regulators on Wednesday unveiled tighter restrictions on transporting crude oil by rail in response to recommendations stemming from an investigation into last year’s fiery and deadly derailment of a crude oil-toting train in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

  • October 29, 2014

    Vinson & Elkins Nabs Litigators From Fenwick, Morgan Lewis

    Vinson & Elkins LLP brought in a former Fenwick & West LLP patent and technology litigator and a former Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP attorney with experience litigating products liability, environmental and class action cases, the firm said Tuesday.

  • October 29, 2014

    Tepco Can't Escape Sailors' $1B Fukushima Suit

    A California federal judge on Tuesday preserved a $1 billion class action against Tokyo Electric Power Co. brought by a group of U.S. Navy rescue personnel alleging exposure to nuclear radiation from the Fukushima power plant, ruling the court has subject-matter jurisdiction over the case.

Expert Analysis

  • Important O&G Regulatory Developments Come To Pa.

    Tad MacFarlan

    The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's recent insight into enforcement protocols for the oil and gas industry reaffirms procedures for issuing and resolving notices of violation, establishes a new process for resolving water supply contamination incidents and updates well-inspection policies, say Timothy Weston and Tad MacFarlan of K&L Gates LLP.

  • The Legal Professions’ Curious Under-Use Of 2nd Opinions

    Judge Wayne D. Brazil

    As conscientious professionals who are required to address problems with notoriously elusive dimensions, lawyers should consider securing second opinions in a much wider array of circumstances than has been the norm, says Judge Wayne Brazil, a neutrual with JAMS and former magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

  • 7th Circ. Just Helped CERCLA Defendants Limit Liability

    Rick R. Rothman

    The Seventh Circuit in U.S. v. P.H. Glatfelter appears to have greatly expanded the applicability of the apportionment defense, which, if successful, can shield a potentially responsible party from joint and several liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, say attorneys at Bingham McCutchen LLP.

  • A Constitutional Challenge To EPA's 'Clean Power Plan'

    Scott C. Oostdyk

    Though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency believes it can compel states to enforce the Clean Power Plan, the law states otherwise. Unless the EPA disclaims any intent to usurp state police power a constitutional challenge will be ripe, say Scott Oostdyk and E. Duncan Getchell Jr. of McGuireWoods LLP.

  • Regulatory Mismanagement May Cause CERCLA Exposure

    Lester Brown

    The takeaway from California Department of Toxic Substances Control v. Jim Dobbas Inc. is that government agencies that mismanage response actions may now be exposed to — at the very least — cost recovery or contribution litigation where there is evidence the agency made management decisions that led to contamination, or allowed it to continue to be released, say attorneys at Perkins Coie LLP.

  • The Significance Of 2nd Circ.’s Indian Harbor Decision

    Robert W. DiUbaldo

    The Second Circuit’s decision in Indian Harbor Insurance Co. v. The City of San Diego involving a pollution and remediation legal liability insurance policy reinforces that the mandates imposed on insurers by Section 3420 of the New York Insurance Law do not apply unless all of the various elements of the statute are implicated. This is not only relevant to a liability insurer’s ability to disclaim coverage based upon late notice, ... (continued)

  • Use Social Media For Legal Service Only As A Last Resort

    Steven Richard

    Courts remain largely skeptical about allowing litigants to serve and notify evasive parties of legal proceedings through their social media accounts. A recent split ruling by the Oklahoma Supreme Court shows the competing considerations, say Steven Richard and Britt Killian of Nixon Peabody LLP.

  • Oil Spill Deterrence Sticks In Australian Court

    Jacinta Studdert

    Newcastle Port Corporation v. MS Magdalene Schiffahrtsgesellschaft MBH shows the New South Wales Land and Environment Court's willingness to impose substantial fines for marine pollution offenses and is a useful illustration of the court's approach to sentencing in such matters, say attorneys at Norton Rose Fulbright Australia.

  • An Associate's Perspective On Business Development

    Jason Idilbi

    Let’s face it: Taking friends or acquaintances to Justin Timberlake concerts or golf at the Ocean Course is not how we as law firm associates are going to develop business. Our primary value comes not from out-of-office networking jaunts but from bearing a laboring oar for our partners. Which is why our best approach to business development is more likely from the inside out, says Jason Idilbi of Moore & Van Allen PLLC.

  • Oregon Spotted Frog Listing Will Have Wide-Ranging Impact

    Myles A. Conway

    The “threatened” listing of the Oregon spotted frog will affect water storage and diversion regulations, development activity and agricultural practices in several Oregon and Washington counties. In the implementation of this listing, federal regulators will need to balance the needs of the spotted frog with competing legal requirements that provide for the protection of other federally listed species, says Myles Conway of Marten Law PLLC.