Environmental

  • September 19, 2014

    Calif. Pols Seek Probe Of PG&E's Relationship With Watchdog

    California state and local politicians urged the state attorney general to investigate inappropriate communications between PG&E Corp. and the California Public Utilities Commission over a penalty case stemming from the fatal 2010 pipeline explosion and PG&E rate cases on Friday, the same day conservation groups asked the attorney general to review whether the CPUC colluded with utilities.

  • September 19, 2014

    Ex-BP Exec Faces Renewed Obstruction Charge In Spill Case

    A Louisiana federal jury Friday updated its criminal indictment against an ex-BP PLC executive accused of lying about how much oil was escaping from a well damaged by the Deepwater Horizon explosion, after the Fifth Circuit revived a charge of obstruction of Congress.

  • September 19, 2014

    Clean Air Suit Over Soot Deadline Must Be Tossed, EPA Says

    The United States Environmental Protection Agency urged a Washington federal judge on Friday to throw out a lawsuit brought against the agency for allegedly letting the state of Alaska get away with dangerously low standards for fine particulate pollution, saying the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.

  • September 19, 2014

    NJ Appeals Court Revives Town's Suit Over Smelly Well

    A New Jersey appellate court Friday revived the town of Berlin’s lawsuit against two engineering companies accused of negligently locating a well near groundwater containing an odorous chemical, saying that expert testimony on damage costs had been improperly dismissed.

  • September 19, 2014

    Bankruptcy Judge Won’t Block $2.9M W.Va. Spill Settlement

    A West Virginia bankruptcy judge on Tuesday rejected a water company’s objection to Freedom Industries Inc.’s $2.9 million class action settlement over a chemical spill that contaminated the drinking water in West Virginia, finding the agreement is reasonable.

  • September 19, 2014

    9th. Circ. Strikes Calif.'s Boeing Site Cleanup Law

    The Ninth Circuit said on Friday that a bill requiring Boeing to clean up a toxic site to a farming-safe level was too stringent under the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity, and that California overextended its authority by requiring more within a government site than was generally required in the rest of the state.

  • September 19, 2014

    EPA Science Board Says Water Rule Should Go Further

    The EPA’s Science Advisory Board said Wednesday that the EPA needs to toughen up its plan to redefine its jurisdiction over waters in the United States because there are too many exclusions not supported by science.

  • September 19, 2014

    Fracking Studies Put Energy Cos. On Firmer Ground

    A pair of studies released this week concluding that hydraulic fracturing isn’t linked to groundwater contamination could further shift the emphasis of federal and state regulators to the fracked wells themselves, which can foul water supplies if they’re faulty, and put a major dent in lawsuits that claim groundwater contamination was caused by fracking, experts say.

  • September 19, 2014

    Navy, USDA, DOE Back Refineries For Military Biofuels

    The U.S. Departments of Energy, Agriculture and Navy said Friday that they've awarded contracts to three companies to build refineries that will produce drop-in biofuels to supply the military, producing more than 100 million gallons of military-grade fuel a year starting in 2016 and 2017.

  • September 19, 2014

    EPA Opposes Fast Track In States' Climate Plan Challenge

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday asked the D.C. Circuit not to fast-track 12 states’ challenge to its plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions at existing power plants, arguing they haven’t shown the “irreparable injury” that could warrant expedited proceedings.

  • September 19, 2014

    NYC To Pass Bill Slashing Emissions 80 Percent By 2050

    New York City lawmakers said on Friday that they plan to pass new measures to cut the city's greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050, reduce purchases of fossil fuels, increase buildings' energy efficiency and encourage ride sharing in an ambitious anti-global warming effort.

  • September 19, 2014

    TransCanada CEO Says Keystone Pipeline Cost Could Double

    The CEO of TransCananda is predicting that the cost of building the long-delayed Keystone Pipeline could double by the time the cross-border project is completed, which would put the tab beyond $10 billion.

  • September 19, 2014

    Md. Steel Plant Owner To Pay $48M In Cleanup Costs

    The new owner of a Maryland steelmaking facility has agreed to pay the state’s Department of the Environment $48 million to clean up decades' worth of industrial pollution from the 3,100-acre property, the state attorney general announced Thursday.

  • September 19, 2014

    Sky Solar Latest Green Energy Co. To Tap Public Markets

    Chinese renewable energy provider Sky Solar Holdings Ltd. is planning an initial public offering to raise $100 million to fund expansion, according to regulatory documents filed Thursday, marking the latest green company joining the IPO wave.

  • September 18, 2014

    Transocean Stuck With Deepwater Subpoenas, 5th Circ. Rules

    The Fifth Circuit ruled on Thursday that the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has the authority to investigate the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and to subpoena Transocean Ltd. for documents related to the accident, affirming a district court’s judgment in the case.

  • September 18, 2014

    Sen. Boxer Demands Changes To TSCA Reform Bill

    Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., on Thursday unveiled a counterproposal to the bipartisan overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act, saying the draft bill fails to improve the current law and that states need more autonomy to regulate dangerous chemicals on their own.

  • September 18, 2014

    EPA High Court Wins Leave Openings For Industry Challenges

    The U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions last term upholding much of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s cross-state air pollution and greenhouse gas regulations offer companies legal footholds they can use to challenge the agency's authority, according to attorneys looking ahead to the next term.

  • September 18, 2014

    House OKs Energy Package To Expedite Keystone XL, Drilling

    The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a package of energy-focused bills to ramp up oil and gas drilling and greenlight the Keystone XL pipeline among other initiatives, despite a White House threat to veto the bills if they reach the president's desk.

  • September 18, 2014

    Blackstone's Vivint Solar Powers Up For $371M Debut

    Blackstone-backed solar energy firm Vivint Solar Inc. told regulators on Thursday that it is seeking to raise up to $371 million in its initial public offering, much higher than prior projections, planning to issue 20.6 million shares priced at $16 to $18.

  • September 18, 2014

    Supreme Court Asked To Weigh Pollution Preemption

    An Iowa corn company has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to shut down a class action alleging it negligently releases harmful chemicals onto residents’ homes and properties, arguing the state-law claims are preempted by the federal Clean Air Act.

Expert Analysis

  • 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 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.

  • A General Counsel's Top 10 Billing Tips

    Francis M. Drelling

    Nothing makes an in-house counsel feel like they are being nickeled-and-dimed more than receiving a $3.50, stand-alone invoice. Forcing anyone to spend time on a $3.50 invoice is, quite frankly, just not cool, says Francis Drelling, in-house counsel at Specialty Restaurants Corp.

  • High Court Roundup: Recent, Pending Environmental Cases

    Anthony B. Cavender

    Scaling back considerably from its 2012 term, the U.S. Supreme Court issued only a few rulings affecting environmental law in 2013, however cases slated for its upcoming term presage rulings across a broad spectrum of environmental and administrative law issues, say Anthony Cavender and Amanda Halter of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

  • Historic Calif. Groundwater Bills Are Dry On Specifics

    Alfred E. Smith II

    Despite their historic nature, California's set of groundwater bills do not determine or quantify water rights — how groundwater sustainability agencies will exercise their water right allocation authority or create sustainability plans where water rights priorities are contested is uncertain, says Alfred Smith of Nossaman LLP.

  • Class Ascertainability Continues To Become More Concrete

    David C. Kistler

    In the most recent example of a district court addressing ascertainability based on the Third Circuit's Marcus, Hayes and Carrera rulings, the matter of Paulsboro Derailment Cases demonstrates that, outside of consumer fraud class actions, plaintiffs can still overcome ascertainability, say David Kistler and Rachel Gallagher of Blank Rome LLP.

  • BP Damages Will Be Punishing, Though Not Punitive

    B.D. Daniel

    After the Phase One rulings in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill litigation, any oil spill plaintiff still seeking punitive damages from BP PLC will face a gauntlet of legal obstacles, which is good reason to doubt BP will ever pay punitive damages in personal injury cases — a small consolation given BP's potential liability for civil penalties, says B.D. Daniel of Beck Redden LLP.

  • OPINION: Pro Bono May Help Diversity Recruiting Efforts

    David A. Lash

    A recent Law360 article about the perennial BigLaw concern over how to recruit and retain female and ethnically diverse attorneys addressed a new approach being taken by some law firms — going beyond traditional mentoring programs by creating a sponsorship relationship. Pro bono can also play a part, say David Lash and Merle Vaughn of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel.

  • How Research Efficiency Impacts Law Firm Profitability

    David Houlihan

    For a law firm, excess time dedicated to legal research generates waste, either in the form of artificially reduced billable hours or, particularly in flat or contingency fee projects, as overhead eroding the profitability of legal work. By measuring five factors, firms will begin to understand their own opportunities for improving profits, says David Houlihan of Blue Hill Research Inc.

  • Be Wary Of Inadvertent Waivers In Contamination Claims

    Richard F. Ricci

    A New Jersey appellate court's ruling in Favorito v. Puritan Oil Company Inc. provides valuable lessons in how to — and how not to — prosecute claims for damages based on contamination migrating from one property to another, say Richard Ricci and Nikki Adame Winningham of Lowenstein Sandler LLP.