Environmental

  • May 22, 2015

    NJ Pols Urge Rutgers To Nix Marine Seismic Testing

    New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, and Democratic U.S. Rep Frank Pallone on Friday urged Rutgers University to halt seismic testing the college is leading this summer in the Atlantic Ocean, citing a threat to the state's natural resources, commercial fisheries and summer tourism.

  • May 22, 2015

    Ex-Mass. Utilities Atty Joins Regulators Group As Asst. GC

    The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners has hired a former Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities attorney to serve as assistant general counsel to represent the association on energy matters, the group announced recently.

  • May 22, 2015

    Deepwater Deal Stiffs Cash Businesses, Claimants Say

    Several business owners complained on Thursday that they are being edged out of the $9.2 billion Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement because much of their sales were in cash, blasting the claims administrator for his allegedly shifting views on the evidence necessary to take part in the deal.

  • May 22, 2015

    Calif. Water Board OKs Delta Farmers' Water Cutback Plan

    California's Water Resources Control Board on Friday approved a voluntary plan from farmers and other water-rights holders in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to cut back their water usage by 25 percent in exchange for a promise that they won't face further rationing during the growing season.

  • May 22, 2015

    Aurora Tells High Court 9th Circ. Permit Ruling Narrows CWA

    Aurora Energy Services LLC and Alaska Railroad Corp. told the U.S. Supreme Court that environmentalists are wrong to assert that a Ninth Circuit decision allowing citizen suits over discharges of pollutants not specified in a Clean Water Act permit won’t have broader impacts.

  • May 22, 2015

    Citgo To Pay EPA Fine Over Texas Plant Violations

    Citgo Refining and Chemicals Co. has agreed to pay more than $380,000 after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found equipment, operation, training and other violations in a Corpus Christi, Texas, facility in 2012, the agency said Friday.

  • May 22, 2015

    Ev Williams’ VC Firm Raises $123,456,789 For 'Positive' Fund

    Obvious Ventures LP, the venture capital fund launched by Twitter Inc. co-founder Ev Williams, closed its first pool on Thursday, raising a sequential $123,456,789 million to invest in companies that have positive social and environmental effects.

  • May 22, 2015

    Conrail Slams Punitive Damages Bid Over 2012 NJ Derailment

    Consolidated Rail Corp. and other railroad companies kept up their assault on federal lawsuits over a 2012 derailment and chemical spill in Paulsboro, New Jersey, contending Friday that the plaintiffs cannot back up their claims for punitive damages.

  • May 22, 2015

    Hess Escapes Bid To Revive Well Pollution Suit

    A Texas federal judge on Friday denied a bid to reconsider a previous judgment in favor of Hess Corp., which had been accused of polluting competitors’ wells in the Eagle Ford Shale, ruling that the plaintiffs didn’t prove she erred by excluding their expert witness’ testimony.

  • May 22, 2015

    EPA Demands States Tighten Startup, Shutdown Regs

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency put 36 states on notice Friday that their regulations governing emissions from large industrial pollution sources during startup, shutdown and malfunction periods are inadequate, in a final action that stemmed from litigation brought by environmentalists.

  • May 22, 2015

    UK Election Results A Win For Fracking, Loss For Wind Power

    With the Conservative party in control of the U.K. government after recent elections, energy attorneys expect a greater push for shale gas development, including hydraulic fracturing, and a murky future for large-scale renewable projects like onshore wind farms due to less government appetite for handing out subsidies.

  • May 22, 2015

    Operations Suspended On Ruptured Line In S. Calif. Oil Spill

    The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration on Friday ordered Plains All American Pipeline LP to suspend operations and make safety improvements on a line that recently ruptured near Santa Barbara, California, and released an estimated 105,000 gallons of oil underground.

  • May 22, 2015

    Bluestone Says Sanctions In Illegal Mining Row 'Red Herring'

    Bluestone Coal Corp. shot back in West Virginia federal court on Thursday at a subsidiary of rival Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.’s sanction motions for destroying evidence, calling it a “red-herring argument” and a waste of court resources.

  • May 22, 2015

    Volvo Tells High Court EPA's $62M Engine Fine Broke Rules

    Volvo Powertrain Corp. on Friday told the U.S. Supreme Court that the Environmental Protection Agency illegally exercised extraterritorial enforcement authority under the Clean Air Act by imposing $62 million in penalties for 7,262 engines that were neither built nor sold in America.

  • May 22, 2015

    New ESA Petitioner Rule Faces Likely Extinction

    The federal government's proposed rule requiring Endangered Species Act petitioners to gather information from states about the animal in question creates a new burden that likely won’t withstand inevitable legal challenges, experts say.

  • May 22, 2015

    NY DEC Backs Up On Tar Sands Facility Over Enviro Concerns

    The New York Department of Environmental Conservation said Thursday it plans to rescind its partial approval of a permit to build an oil-heating facility at the Port of Albany, citing concerns raised by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and environmental groups.

  • May 21, 2015

    $1.3B Malpractice Suit Over Chevron Pollution Suit Restarts

    A malpractice trial against John O’Quinn and Associates LLP and appellate court Judge Russell T. Lloyd for allegedly mishandling a pollution suit against Chevron US Inc. officially began Thursday with testimony over a lost-profits model crucial to $1.3 billion in damages sought by Gulf Coast Asphalt Co. LLC, almost four years after the suit was initially filed.

  • May 21, 2015

    9th Circ. Revives San Diego's Huge Kinder Morgan Spill Suit

    The Ninth Circuit on Thursday revived the city of San Diego's nine-figure lawsuit against Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP over leaking fuel tanks that polluted soil and groundwater for decades, including an aquifer beneath Qualcomm Stadium, saying a lower court erred finding the city couldn't support its damage claims.

  • May 21, 2015

    Eastman Chemical Challenges EPA Emissions Rule At DC Circ.

    Eastman Chemical Co. on Tuesday challenged in the D.C. Circuit a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency final rule under the Clean Air Act ramping up emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants at waste sites.

  • May 21, 2015

    CPSC Lumber Liquidators Probe A Clue To Agency's New Tone

    Lumber Liquidators Inc., whose CEO resigned Thursday amid allegations the company sold toxic laminate flooring, faces one of the first high-profile U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission investigations under Elliot Kaye, which attorneys say can set the tone for the agency's oversight under its new chairman.

Expert Analysis

  • No Consensus On CEQ Draft Guidance For NEPA Reviews

    Elizabeth A. Lake

    Despite its intended goal of reducing "litigation driven by uncertainty," the White House Council on Environmental Quality's revised draft guidance regarding National Environmental Policy Act reviews avoids providing direction on determining when greenhouse gases and climate change impacts are significant, and its consideration of upstream and downstream impacts is particularly vague, says Elizabeth Lake of Holland & Knight LLP.

  • The Spin And Substance Surrounding NY's Brownfields

    Richard G. Leland

    The principal implication of the latest reforms to New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program is that the state will continue to struggle with the inherent conflict between the needs to redevelop contaminated sites and to conserve resources — not to mention the political spin that subsidizing development in New York City during an apparent real estate boom is a giveaway to developers, says Richard Leland of Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

  • Proposition 218 Obstacles To Calif. Tiered Water Rates

    Sue Meyer

    Capistrano Taxpayers Association Inc. v. City of San Juan Capistrano teaches us that, under California's Proposition 218, the burden of proof is on an agency to demonstrate that revenues derived from a water service fee or charge not exceed the funds required to provide the service and that the fee or charge imposed on a parcel not exceed the proportional cost of the service attributable to the parcel, says Sue Meyer of Nossaman LLP.

  • Colo. Lone Pine Case Is Setback For Fracking

    Carl J. Pernicone

    After the Colorado Supreme Court's ruling in Antero Resources Corp. v. Strudley, hydraulic fracturing defendants are likely to see an increase in defense costs, fewer dismissals and fewer early settlements. Had it won, industry could have used the decision to secure early dismissals of fracking suits or, at minimum, force plaintiffs to choose — and stick with — a case theory, say attorneys at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP.

  • The Short And Long Game Of Calif.'s GHG Reduction Plan

    Allison C. Smith

    While the lack of specific direction over how to implement reductions in greenhouse gas emissions based on California Gov. Jerry Brown's recent executive order leaves some uncertainty, in the near term we could see state agency action and, by the time the state's legislative session concludes in September, there may be a definitive statutory mandate to achieve reductions by 2050, says Allison Smith of Stoel Rives LLP.

  • Consider 5 Things Before Choosing An E-Discovery Provider

    Barry O’Melia

    There has been a rapid and robust growth in the number of companies offering electronically stored information collection, management and processing services. But a recent survey indicated that not all service providers offer the level of expertise needed in today’s world of big data, the cloud and mobile devices, says Barry O’Melia, chief operations officer at Digital WarRoom.

  • Induced Seismicity Legal Issues Break New Ground

    Barclay R. Nicholson

    The U.S. Geological Survey, Oklahoma Geological Survey and a recent Texas study all raise a variety of potential issues surrounding induced seismicity for the energy industry and may shape emerging regulatory trends and liability theories, say Barclay Nicholson and Emery Richards of Norton Rose Fulbright LLP.

  • As Climate Continues To Change, So Does CEQA

    Arthur F. Coon

    In the face of rapid ecological and regulatory change, is it possible the usual rules for analyzing cumulative environmental impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act are in flux or no longer apply? At the very least, California Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent executive order highlights that CEQA analysis of greenhouse gas emissions has evolved, says Arthur Coon of Miller Starr Regalia.

  • Court-Appointed Experts — A Powerful But Rarely Used Tool

    Philip Woo

    The Tessera Inc. patent case highlights a useful procedure seldom used in the federal court system — Federal Rule of Evidence 706, which allows for a court-appointed expert. But Rule 706 provides little guidance on when to use such an expert, how to select one or how to work with one. Here are some tips, say Philip Woo and Nathan Greenblatt of Sidley Austin LLP.

  • Tracking The DC Circ.'s Trend On Article III Standing

    Raymond B. Ludwiszewski

    The D.C. Circuit’s decision in Delta Construction Co. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continues a trend of the court viewing Article III standing for industry with a skeptical eye. A recent string of standing defeats at the D.C. Circuit suggests a much tougher approach to industry petitions challenging EPA rules, say Raymond Ludwiszewski and Charles Haake of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.