Environmental

  • October 17, 2014

    Laredo Petroleum Leak Settlement Spurs Possible Sanctions

    A Texas federal judge on Friday said counsel for Flat Rock Land LLC may face sanctions for what she said was a misleading legal argument about whether it should have been served with a copy of a settlement reached by Compass Bank and defendants including Chevron USA Inc. and ExxonMobil Corp. in a case involving a petroleum leak that contaminated downtown Laredo.

  • October 17, 2014

    Ill. Fracking Holdup Violates Property Rights, Suit Says

    A group of oil and gas rights owners filed a proposed class action against Illinois in state court, saying its denial of fracking permits is an unconstitutional taking of their property.

  • October 17, 2014

    GOP Grills DOI On Sage Grouse Endangered Species Review

    A group of House Republicans on Thursday chastised the U.S. Department of the Interior for its “closed-door” review of scientific data relating to the listing of the greater sage grouse as an endangered species, and demanded information about details of the process.

  • October 17, 2014

    ATP To Pay $1M For Hiding Gulf Oil And Chemical Spill

    ATP Infrastructure Partners LP agreed to pay a $1 million fine to settle allegations that it violated federal environmental laws by surreptitiously discharging oil and chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and two other federal agencies announced Thursday.

  • October 17, 2014

    EPA Ozone Rule Cost Concerns May Be Tough Sell: Study

    Industry groups looking for a fight over whether the benefits justify the costs of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's expected revisions to its ozone air quality standard are likely to face an uphill battle, according to a new study commissioned for Congress.

  • October 17, 2014

    Groups Tell Supreme Court To Ban Pollution Nuisance Claims

    A coalition of trade groups has urged the U.S. Supreme Court to dismiss a class action accusing an Iowa corn company of releasing harmful chemicals onto nearby properties, arguing that the Clean Air Act preempts state tort clams involving air pollution.

  • October 17, 2014

    Reid Blasts NRC's Approval Of Yucca Nuclear Waste Site

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Friday that dumping nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain is a failed policy, following a recent U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission report that concluded the proposed nuclear waste depository site meets environmental and safety requirements.

  • October 17, 2014

    Enviros Ask Obama To Curb Methane Pollution From Fracking

    More than 100 local, state and national environmental organizations urged the Obama administration in a letter Thursday to begin a rulemaking process to curb methane pollution from fracking, saying the gas is more potent than carbon dioxide and presents serious health and environmental risks, according to environmental group Earthworks. 

  • October 17, 2014

    Enviros Ask FDA To Ban 2 Food Packaging Chemicals

    The Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups on Thursday called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban two chemicals used in food packaging, saying they harm fetal development and reproductive systems and cause cancer.

  • October 17, 2014

    Duke Units File 3rd Spent Nuclear Fuel Suit Against DOE

    Two Duke Energy Inc. units on Thursday sued the U.S. Department of Energy claiming the government breached a contract to collect spent nuclear fuel and waste between 2011 and 2013 from four power plants in the Carolinas and Florida.

  • October 17, 2014

    Pa. Gov. Ordered To Hand Over Public Drilling Plan Details

    Officials in Gov. Tom Corbett’s office have been ordered to turn over information about the administration’s plans to raise upwards of $95 million in revenue through new leasing of state parks and forestland for natural gas drilling, a Pennsylvania state lawmaker has confirmed.

  • October 17, 2014

    Northrop Narrows Coverage Claims In Travelers Cleanup Row

    Northrop Grumman Corp. has dropped claims against Travelers Indemnity Co. for coverage of environmental cleanup costs at two southeast U.S. sites, according to a Thursday order filed in New York federal court, as the parties prepare for settlement discussions concerning other sites along the East Coast.

  • October 17, 2014

    4 Ways Banks Can Keep Enviro Liability Away

    While banks are generally shielded by federal law from having to cover environmental cleanup costs on indebted properties, lenders can inadvertently lose those protections through operational missteps and by failing to add protections to loan documents. Here, attorneys offer up four guidelines for steering banking clients away from the liability cliff.

  • October 16, 2014

    NRC Finds Yucca Mountain Plan Safe For Nuclear Waste

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday concluded that the controversial proposed nuclear waste depositary site at Yucca Mountain meets environmental and safety requirements, boosting the odds that the dormant project will be revived.

  • October 16, 2014

    Conrail Seeks Sanctions Against Atty In Derailment Row

    Consolidated Rail Corp. on Wednesday accused an attorney for plaintiffs in litigation over a 2012 derailment and chemical spill in Paulsboro, New Jersey, of violating a protective order by handing a confidential document to the media, alleged conduct that the company says deserves punishment.

  • October 16, 2014

    US Trade Rep Vows To Uphold Standards Amid TTIP Criticism

    U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman defended the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks Thursday, saying critics' worries the deal could weaken food, financial and environmental protections are unfounded as neither the U.S. nor the EU would accept a "race to the bottom."

  • October 16, 2014

    Siding With Army Corps, Judge Lets Ala. Pipeline Proceed

    A federal judge in Alabama ruled on Thursday to allow Plains Southcap LLC to continue construction of a crude oil pipeline through a watershed supplying drinking water for Mobile, Alabama, finding that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had properly issued permits.

  • October 16, 2014

    5th Circ. Declines To Hear $50M Sinkhole Coverage Battle

    The Fifth Circuit on Thursday dismissed Texas Brine Co. LLC’s appeal seeking a stay in a $50 million coverage battle over claims arising from a class action that accused the salt producer and an oil and gas company of causing a sinkhole, ruling the court does not have jurisdiction to hear the challenge.

  • October 16, 2014

    Kirkland Snags Lead BP Deepwater Litigation Trial Counsel

    Kirkland & Ellis LLP has added two trial lawyers with experience in product liability, life sciences and competition matters — including the lead trial counsel for BP PLC in the Deepwater Horizon litigation — as partners in its Washington, D.C., office, the firm announced Thursday.

  • October 16, 2014

    NY High Court Denies Rehearing On Local Fracking Ban

    New York’s highest court on Thursday denied a request to rehear its June decision upholding local bans on shale gas drilling, ensuring that for now, state oil and gas mining law does not trump town zoning laws enacted to prohibit fracking.

Expert Analysis

  • Putting Calif.'s $1.4B Fine Against PG&E In Perspective

    Michael C. Dotten

    What constitutes an excessive fine has been articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court as a proportionality test, and, as Pacific Gas & Electric Co. argued in its brief before the California Public Utilities Commission, courts sometimes measure excessiveness in penalties by reference to fines levied in other, like circumstances, says Michael Dotten of Marten Law PLLC.

  • What Litigators Can Learn From Novelists

    Michael H. Rubin

    Many legal briefs are written in impenetrable jargon and begin with an introduction telling the court what it already knows, using words that stem from the 18th century, such as “hereinafter.” Instead, we should approach briefs the way novelists approach their writing, says Michael Rubin of McGlinchey Stafford PLLC.

  • Work Plan Signals Expanded Calif. Green Chemistry Program

    Joshua A. Bloom

    California's Safer Consumer Products Regulation will be closely watched given the potential for its broad application — indeed, following its enactment, Congress attempted to develop nationwide green chemistry initiatives, say Joshua Bloom and Christopher Jensen of Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp LLP.

  • Information Governance: A Missed Opportunity For Lawyers

    Ann Snyder

    Today, information intersects every practice area, making all lawyers effectively information governance practitioners in one way or another. The issue is whether you will consciously embrace this emerging discipline — and capitalize on it to the benefit of your clients and your practice, says Ann Snyder of the Information Governance Initiative.

  • CAFA Removal Procedure At Center Stage In Dart Cherokee

    Archis A. Parasharami

    If Public Citizen's amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. v. Owens is correct in arguing that an appellate court can insulate questions arising under the Class Action Fairness Act from Supreme Court review by denying leave to appeal then that will create perverse incentives for lower courts and may hamper the development of uniform rules governing CAFA removals, says Archis Parasharami of Mayer Brown LLP.

  • RCRA Citizen Suits No Longer Option In Regulating Diesel

    Kirsten L. Nathanson

    The Ninth Circuit's ruling in Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice v. BNSF Railway Co. has potentially broad implications for all diesel exhaust emitters — it may even serve to foreclose future Resource Conservation and Recovery Act citizen suit challenges to air emissions beyond diesel, say attorneys at Crowell & Moring LLP.

  • E&P Wetlands Compliance Strategy: Nationwide Permits

    Robert E. Holden

    Despite being confusing — and violations expensive — the exploration and production industry should utilize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' nationwide permitting program as a way to streamline and simplify wetlands permit requirements when seeking approval of on-shore activities, say Robert Holden and Lesley Pietras of Liskow & Lewis.

  • A Primer On 'Bad Faith' In Federal Removal Jurisdiction

    Ugo Colella

    The Federal Courts Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification Act grants a federal district court discretion to permit removal after the one-year period if it finds a plaintiff has “acted in bad faith” to prevent removal, but it didn’t come with a clear definition of "bad faith." Recent case law offers some minimal guidance on how the exception should be interpreted, say Ugo Colella and Todd Seaman of Thompson Hine LLP.

  • Crowdfunding Models Proliferate For Clean Energy Projects

    Kristen Young

    Solar and distributed generation offer asset attributes and capital investment profiles that are well-suited to crowdfunding. Important regulatory pronouncements over the coming months, however, could enhance or hinder the crowdfunding marketplace, say Jim Wrathall and Kristen Young of Sullivan & Worcester LLP.

  • NJ Courts Continue To Grapple With Allocation Issue

    Scott M. Seaman

    The New Jersey Supreme Court's recent decision in IMO Industries Inc. v. Transamerica Corp. underscores the continued applicability of the court's observation on environmental coverage law with respect to allocation — just as one important issue is resolved at least two new issues rise to take its place, says Scott Seaman of Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson LLP.