Environmental

  • October 1, 2014

    10th Circ. Dow Ruling Shows Class Actions Alive And Well

    The Tenth Circuit's recent decision to uphold a $1 billion judgment against Dow Chemical Corp. in an antitrust class action shows that plaintiffs can still clear the U.S. Supreme Court's heightened bar for class certification with detailed analysis tying their injuries to the alleged wrongdoing, attorneys say.

  • October 1, 2014

    BP Must Face Foreign Investors In Texas Court, Judge Rules

    Foreign investors who sued BP PLC over stock losses they suffered after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster can continue to press their claims in U.S. district court, even though they are litigating under English law about shares that trade on the London Stock Exchange, a Texas federal judge ruled in an order made public Wednesday.

  • October 1, 2014

    India To Build Its First Offshore Wind Farm

    India signed a memorandum of understanding with a consortium of developers that will build the country's first ever offshore wind power plant within the prime minister's home state of Gujarat, India's press information bureau said Wednesday.

  • October 1, 2014

    Exxon Details Fracking Risks, 'Widespread Benefits' In Report

    Exxon Mobil Corp. said Tuesday that hydraulic fracturing has air and water contamination risks, but also has "widespread benefits," including job creation, reduced carbon dioxide emissions and improved energy security, according to a company report issued in response to shareholder demands.

  • October 1, 2014

    EPA Can Retroactively Veto Coal Mine Permit, Court Rules

    A Washington, D.C., federal judge on Tuesday upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s veto of a permit for an Appalachian mountaintop coal mine, deferring to the agency’s scientific judgment and ruling that the veto fell within its regulatory powers defined by the Clean Water Act.

  • October 1, 2014

    Baker Hughes To Start Disclosing Chemicals At Fracking Sites

    Oilfield services provider Baker Hughes Inc. said Wednesday it is now fully disclosing the chemicals used in its hydraulic fracturing operations, saying it has figured out a way to do so without compromising its trade secrets.

  • October 1, 2014

    Ban Upheld On Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon

    An Arizona federal judge on Tuesday tossed a bid from several mining groups to open more than 1 million acres surrounding the Grand Canyon to uranium mining, ruling the U.S. Department of the Interior had adequately consulted with local governments before declaring the land off-limits to exploration.

  • October 2, 2014

    CORRECTED: Illinois Union Stuck With NRG Energy’s $3.5M CAA Fines

    A Louisiana federal judge ruled Tuesday that Illinois Union Insurance Co. must cover $3.5 million in civil penalties imposed on a subsidiary of NRG Energy Inc. for violations of the Clean Air Act, finding the fees aren’t excluded from coverage in a policy held by Louisiana Generating LLC. [Correction: An earlier story misstated the amount of the CAA fines in question. The error has been corrected.]

  • September 30, 2014

    House Dems Urge EPA To Address 'Pollinator' Pesticide Issue

    House Democrats on Tuesday urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect bees and other pollinating creatures by restricting the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, saying the recovery of their populations would be helped by such a measure.

  • September 30, 2014

    Excess Insurers Not Allowed To Relitigate NJ Asbestos Claims

    A New Jersey appeals court on Tuesday rejected a group of excess insurers’ claims that they should be relieved from covering IMO Industries Inc. under a $1.85 billion insurance program for underlying asbestos claims, finding the excess insurers should not be allowed to revisit individual, settled claims where the defense has already been paid by the primary insurers.

  • September 30, 2014

    PG&E Sued Over Toxic Waste Contamination In San Francisco

    Pacific Gas and Electric Co. was hit with a lawsuit in California federal court on Tuesday by a group of commercial herring fishermen and buyers who say the utility contaminated a number of San Francisco neighborhoods through old “highly polluting, low-tech” manufactured gas plants.

  • September 30, 2014

    Calif. Adopts Country’s First Statewide Plastic Bag Ban

    California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed a bill that will ban plastic bags in supermarkets, pharmacies, convenience stores and liquor stores, making the Golden State the first in the nation to adopt a blanket ban on single-use plastic bags.

  • September 30, 2014

    Samsung Inks 20-Year Wind Power Deal With Ontario

    Samsung Renewable Energy Inc. and its project partner on Tuesday signed a 20-year power purchase deal with the Ontario Power Authority, which will draw 100 megawatts from the two companies' Belle River wind farm.

  • September 30, 2014

    Senate Dems Urge OMB To Ensure Strict Fracking Regs

    A group of Senate Democrats on Tuesday pushed for “the strongest possible” national regulations for hydraulic fracturing, including well-construction requirements and public disclosure of chemicals used in the process.

  • September 30, 2014

    Coal Co. Can’t Duck Enviros’ Waterway Pollution Suit

    A West Virginia federal judge denied a pretrial win to Fola Coal Co. LLC on Tuesday in a suit brought by environmental groups claiming its pollutant discharges violated the Clean Water Act and other laws, finding that increased electrical conductivity in polluted water can indicate alkaline contamination.

  • September 30, 2014

    Industry Groups Say EPA Solid Waste Rule Too Restrictive

    Industry groups on Monday urged the D.C. Circuit to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to retool solid waste disposal regulations, arguing that the rule improperly bans the use of demolition wood, railroad ties, treated wood and paper recycling residuals as fuel for industrial boilers.

  • September 30, 2014

    Mitsubishi Sued Over Truck Engine Emissions Defect

    Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America Inc. was hit with a putative class action in New Jersey federal court on Monday, accusing the truck giant of installing a defective emissions control system in its diesel-powered, medium-duty trucks that causes various parts to fail and the trucks to lose power.

  • September 30, 2014

    Impax Boosts Finnish Presence With 2 Wind Farm Deals

    Impax Asset Management Group PLC said Tuesday that it has bolstered its renewable capacity in Finland by signing a finance arrangement to fund the rest of the construction of a €106 million ($133.8 million) wind farm and acquiring a separate, 27-megawatt wind farm.

  • September 30, 2014

    DOE Offers $12.6B In Nuke Project Loan Guarantees

    The U.S. Department of Energy on Tuesday said it would provide up to $12.6 billion in loan guarantees for advanced nuclear energy projects, hoping to kickstart a nuclear industry that hasn’t built a new U.S. plant or reactor in over 35 years.

  • September 30, 2014

    EPA Targets Delek Over Fatal 2008 Refinery Pipe Rupture

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed suit Monday against Delek Refining Ltd. in Texas federal court alleging hazardous substances were released into the air after a 2008 pipe rupture and fire that killed two employees at one of its refineries.

Expert Analysis

  • A Step Toward Expediting California Clean Energy Permits

    Jennifer K. Roy

    If approved, the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan should help streamline permitting for renewable energy generation projects and transmission projects in the Colorado and Mojave desert areas of California, but it would not be a panacea, say attorneys with Latham & Watkins LLP.

  • 9th Circ. El Dorado Ruling Confirms Broad FHA Application

    Gail Kavanagh

    The recent Ninth Circuit ruling in El Dorado Estates v. City of Fillmore — where it was alleged that the city’s environmental law compliance requirements were designed to prevent El Dorado from making housing available to families — confirms that courts will apply anti-discrimination statutes such as the Fair Housing Act even when no party has suffered direct unlawful discrimination, says Gail Kavanagh of Sedgwick LLP.

  • And Now A Word From The Panel: ABCs Of JPML Practice

    Alan E. Rothman

    This week, as the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation embarks on a rare October hearing, we cannot resist mentioning an intriguing MDL petition that involves local rules governing attorney admission and several lawsuits naming members of the federal judiciary — including a JPML member who is also a D.C. district court judge, says Alan Rothman of Kaye Scholer LLP.

  • New Calif. Rooftop Regime Seeks To Streamline Solar

    Brian J. Nese

    With a pending reduction in federal tax credits and a warning from the Legaue of California Cities that its members cannot implement reforms, the solar panel industry should pay close attention to California's new rooftop permitting regime — it remains to be seen whether anticipated "soft cost" savings will be realized, say Brian Nese and Michael Wang of Stoel Rives LLP.

  • DOT Oil Rail Safety Transport Rules Will Be Costly

    Mave A. Gasaway

    The impact of the U.S. Department of Transportation's proposed rules on crude oil and ethanol rail shipment safety standards will cost industry stakeholders billions of dollars and operational requirements are likely to result in transportation delays and concomitant increased costs for carriers and shippers, say attorneys at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP.

  • New Renewable Energy Laws And Foreign Investors’ Options

    Matthew Coleman

    Investment treaties may be a highly important tool for foreign investors and industry associations in advocating against legislative changes to renewable energy regulations, say attorneys with Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

  • Texas Pro-Policyholder Case Will Impact Excess Insurers

    Kay M. Brady

    Had the court in Plantation Pipe Line Co. v. Highlands Insurance Co. sided with Highlands it would be difficult for policyholders to settle with underlying insurers for less than applicable limits without risking forfeiture of higher level coverage, say Kay Brady and Denise Yasinow of K&L Gates LLP.

  • Opportunities And Pitfalls In The Legal Cloud

    David Houlihan

    Like "big data" and other effective software marketing buzzwords, “cloud” makes something that is very complex sound simple — and even friendly. Most attorneys are not prepared to dig into the distinctions between public, private and hybrid cloud models, or the niceties of how or where their data is transmitted and stored, says David Houlihan of Blue Hill Research Inc.

  • Toward A Mandatory Polar Code By Tacit Means

    Adam Patrick Murray

    The potential use of "tacit acceptance" by the International Maritime Organization to approve mandatory Polar Code regulations reflects how IMO decision makers may define "effective implementation" and raises legitimacy concerns to both substantive and technical requirements, says Adam Patrick Murray of the Arctic Law & Policy Institute.

  • Roundup Of Fracking Studies Still Shows No Consensus

    Jed P. Winer

    As three recent academic studies on the environmental and health impacts of hydraulic fracturing show, all aspects of the drilling practice are under the microscope as studies are being published at a rapid pace — sometimes with indefinite or conflicting conclusions, says Jed Winer of Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP.