Environmental

  • April 24, 2015

    Quake Links Turn Up Legal, Regulatory Heat On Drillers

    Studies released this week by federal and state geologists linking oil and gas drilling to an increase in earthquakes will provide more ammunition for plaintiffs in lawsuits over wastewater injection wells cited as the likely culprit and for regulators to impose tighter restrictions on those wells, experts say.

  • April 24, 2015

    Texas Officials May Nix Oil Well Permits Over Quake Fears

    Texas’ energy regulator on Friday warned well operators including an ExxonMobil Corp. subsidiary that it may cancel the injection permits for the operators’ wells near the city of Azle due to their alleged connection to seismic activity in the area.

  • April 24, 2015

    Mont. Gov. Signs Off On Controversial Tribal Water Pact

    Montana Gov. Steve Bullock signed a controversial water rights agreement with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the federal government on Friday, capping off a hard-fought battle and more than a decade of negotiation over water resources.

  • April 24, 2015

    Toxic Tort Claims Over Fracking Create IP Discovery Risk

    A recent Pennsylvania ruling finding that trade secrets, including the makeup of hydraulic fracturing fluids, should be handed over in discovery in a toxic tort case against Range Resources Corp. is likely just the beginning of attempts by plaintiffs to win access to proprietary information, experts say.

  • April 24, 2015

    DC Circ. Sinks Animal Feedlot Reg Suit Against EPA

    The D.C. Circuit on Friday tossed a lawsuit accusing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of taking too long to list pollutants from animal feedlots as sources of pollution under the Clean Air Act, saying the plaintiffs couldn’t show how the EPA broke the law.

  • April 24, 2015

    EPA Floats Plan To Apply Sewage Sludge Incinerator Rule

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday released a proposed plan to ensure states are meeting federal emissions standards for sewage sludge incinerators, adding that the agency is still working on addressing issues raised by the D.C. Circuit when it remanded the federal standards in 2013.

  • April 24, 2015

    Calif. Tribe Installs Renewable Hybrid Energy System

    A California Native American tribe is installing a first-of-its-kind 35 kW multi-renewable energy microgrid utilizing wind energy, solar energy and an advanced energy storage system in Loleta, California, JLM Energy Inc said Friday.

  • April 24, 2015

    Enviro Groups Drop CWA Claim Against NJ Agency

    A federal judge on Friday granted a plaintiffs' motion to relieve the New Jersey Department of Transportation from facing a Clean Water Act claim by allowing discharges of pollutant-filled stormwater to enter the Raritan River, in light of a report showing the agency complied with state pollution regulations.

  • April 24, 2015

    Canada Regulators Order Oil-Carrying Trains To Slow Down

    Canada transportation regulators on Thursday lowered the speed limit on trains carrying crude oil and other hazardous materials through highly urbanized areas, mirroring actions taken by the U.S. Department of Transportation last week.

  • April 24, 2015

    5 Tips For Effective FOIA Use In Environmental Law

    Freedom of Information Act requests are formidable weapons in environmental disputes, and attorneys who have a proper understanding and respect for them have an advantage over those who don’t. Here, attorneys share tips for making the most of FOIA requests during all stages of environmental disputes.

  • April 24, 2015

    Wyo. Tribe Backs EPA In Wind River Boundary Dispute

    The Eastern Shoshone Tribe on Thursday urged the Tenth Circuit to find that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s definition of the boundaries of the reservation the tribe shares in Wyoming complied with Congress’s intent for the land in a 1905 law, the circumstances around that legislation and the history of the area.

  • April 24, 2015

    Range Can't Revive Defamation Claims Against Anti-Frackers

    Range Resources Corp. can't pursue defamation claims against a Texas couple who claimed fracking contaminated their water well with methane, the Texas Supreme Court said Friday, handing a victory to environmental groups and clarifying the state's anti-SLAPP law.

  • April 24, 2015

    Blankenship Judge's Law Clerk Quarantined From Suit

    A law clerk allegedly friendly to mine workers' rights has been quarantined from the trial in which former coal magnate Don Blankenship is accused of mandating mine-safety obstructions that killed 29 Massey Coal Co. employees.

  • April 24, 2015

    DC Circ. Nixes Challenges To Car, Truck Emissions Rules

    The D.C. Circuit on Friday tossed several challenges to federal rules for greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, saying none of the myriad of groups behind the attack have shown an interest or injury that would give them standing.

  • April 24, 2015

    Sempra Picks Up 78MW Wind Project From Geronimo

    Sempra U.S. Gas & Power LLC said Thursday it has acquired a 78-megawatt wind project in central Minnesota from Geronimo Energy LLC for an undisclosed amount.

  • April 24, 2015

    EPA Agrees To Drop Superfund Suit For $1.7M Cleanup Costs

    A biotech company and a chemical manufacturer accused of dumping hazardous waste into a landfill formerly owned by Monsanto Co. have agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency $1.7 million for cleanup costs incurred at the Illinois Superfund site, according to a court filing Thursday. 

  • April 24, 2015

    Calif. Landowners Sue Union Pacific Over ‘Illegal’ Land Use

    A proposed class of California landowners on Thursday alleged Union Pacific Railroad Co. has improperly used the subsurface of its railroad right-of-way to grant “illegal and unauthorized” easements and collect rents from pipeline companies, trespassing and violating their land ownership for decades.

  • April 23, 2015

    USDA Rolls Out Plans To Cut Carbon Emissions

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday rolled out a series of voluntary plans as part of Earth Week to help farmers, ranchers and foresters cut carbon emissions, saying their assistance is needed to fight climate change.

  • April 23, 2015

    EPA Administrator Highlights Benefits Of Clean Power Plan

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy stressed to energy industry leaders at a Thursday event in Texas the economic and environmental benefits of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, a controversial proposal that would slash carbon emissions from existing power plants by 30 percent by 2030.

  • April 23, 2015

    Enviros Slam EPA Bid To Nix Animal Feeding Pollution Suits

    Environmental groups on Thursday asked a D.C. federal judge not to toss their suit accusing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of failing to act on their petitions to regulate concentrated animal feeding operations, saying the agency’s attempt to seek protection under the Clean Air Act is inappropriate.

Expert Analysis

  • This Week In Congress: Iran Legislation In Jeopardy?

    Richard A. Hertling

    The modified Iran Nuclear Review Act was unanimously supported in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 14 and the White House signaled its intent to sign the bill provided there are no major changes. Contentious debate is expected during floor consideration this week, as several Republicans senators have announced their intent to toughen up the bill, say Richard Hertling and Kaitlyn McClure of Covington & Burling LLP.

  • 3 Developments You Need To Know About Calif.'s Prop 65

    Judith Praitis

    All three branches of California's government rendered important determinations on Proposition 65 during the first quarter of 2015: a court of appeal affirmed a major defense victory on how lead exposures in food can be assessed, the executive branch promulgated major new warning regulations, and the legislature is considering new curbs on frivolous lawsuits, say Judith Praitis and Amy Lally of Sidley Austin LLP.

  • CERCLA 'Arranger Liability' Continues To Elude Clarity

    Meline G. MacCurdy

    Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. U.S., courts still struggle with the distinction between parties that bear liability as “arrangers” and parties that instead sell “useful products,” the most recent being the Fourth Circuit in Consolidation Coal Co. v. Georgia Power Co., says Meline MacCurdy of Marten Law PLLC.

  • 9th Circ. Deepens Split Over Complex CERCLA Sites

    Michael D. Daneker

    The Ninth Circuit's holding in AmeriPride Services Inc. v. Texas Eastern Overseas Inc. deepens an unresolved circuit split and increases uncertainty regarding the legal effect of settlement with fewer than all responsible parties at complex Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act sites, say Michael Daneker and Lauren Daniel of Arnold & Porter LLP.

  • OPINION: The New, New Thing — Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

    Senator Byron Dorgan

    There have been many breathtaking changes in automobiles in recent years. But the introduction of new hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is a major milestone. This is a car with twice the power to the wheel per unit of energy and it emits only water vapor out of the tailpipe. That sounds like disruptive change to me, says Sen. Byron Dorgan, senior policy adviser at Arent Fox LLP and former senior member of the U.S. Senate Energy Committee.

  • 10 Topics For Corporate Counsel To Consider On Coal Ash

    Kirsten L. Nathanson

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regulations on the disposal of coal combustion residuals are the first of their kind under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act's Subtitle D enforcement structure, which grants enforcement authority to states and citizens rather than to the EPA, say attorneys at Crowell & Moring LLP.

  • Tips For Guiding Your Client Through The Mediation Process

    Raphael Lapin

    With all the tangible and intangible costs associated with litigation today, mediation is becoming more common as a means of resolving disputes. Yet attorneys trained and experienced in litigation do not always have the skills to guide their clients through a mediation process, says Raphael Lapin, an adjunct professor at the Whittier School of Law and principal of Lapin Negotiation Strategies.

  • REBUTTAL: Donziger’s Lies Cannot Excuse His Fraud

    Stephen W. Green

    Steven Donziger’s recent “op-ed” in this publication is his latest deception — repeating on the eve of appeal the lies he has told a thousand times before. Far from a never-before-detailed account, his article is nothing more than a recycling of discredited misrepresentations and outright falsehoods, says Stephen Green, vice president for policy, government and public affairs, Chevron Corp.

  • Virginia's ‘Rocket Docket' Continues To Roar

    Robert M. Tata

    The Eastern District of Virginia ― known as the “Rocket Docket” ― had the fastest trial docket in the country in 2014, for the seventh year in a row. The median time interval to trial was 12.5 months. That’s compared to a nationwide average of 24.9 months to try a case, says Robert Tata, managing partner of Hunton & Williams LLP's Norfolk, Virginia, office.

  • OPINION: Donziger's Case Against Chevron, In His Own Words

    Steven R. Donziger

    With all eyes on the Second Circuit this Monday when oral arguments begin in the appeal of Judge Lewis Kaplan's decision in Chevron Corp.'s RICO case against Steven Donziger and two of his clients from the Ecuadorian rainforest, the plaintiffs attorney for the first time offers his view, in detail, of the decades-long, multibillion-dollar Lago Agrio oil field pollution case.