Environmental

  • February 26, 2015

    3 Deepwater Attys Disqualified Over Improper Referral Fees

    A Louisiana federal judge sanctioned three attorneys on Thursday for misconduct in connection with BP PLC’s Deepwater Horizon settlement, disqualifying them from participating in the settlement program and referring their case to the court’s disciplinary committee.

  • February 26, 2015

    St. Paul Owes $6.3M In Atty Fees In Katrina Insurance Beef

    A Texas federal judge on Thursday awarded oil field operator Cox Operating LLC nearly $6.3 million in attorneys' fees and costs resulting from a dispute with St. Paul Surplus Lines Insurance Co. over Hurricane Katrina cleanup coverage.

  • February 26, 2015

    Texas Appeals Court Boots Suit Over $100M Water Project

    A Texas appellate court on Thursday blocked the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority’s bid to clear the way for a $100 million water project, saying a state law governing public bonds cannot be used to decide a dispute over ownership of treated wastewater.

  • February 26, 2015

    Industry, Enviros Slam EPA Incinerator Rule

    Industry and environmental groups on Tuesday told the D.C. Circuit it should force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to redo emission standards for pollutants emitted from commercial and industrial solid waste incineration units.

  • February 26, 2015

    Google Invests $300M In SolarCity's $750M Project Fund

    Google Inc. is investing $300 million in a new SolarCity Corp. fund that will finance $750 million worth of solar projects, according to an announcement from SolarCity on Thursday.

  • February 26, 2015

    EPA, Enviros, States, Biz Back Mercury Rule At High Court

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, environmentalists, a group of states and several energy companies on Wednesday told the U.S. Supreme Court that it was absolutely proper for the agency not to consider costs before issuing a rule limiting mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants.

  • February 26, 2015

    Enviros, Others Press Calif. Gov. For Fracking Moratorium

    Scores of community, environmental and health groups on Thursday petitioned California Gov. Jerry Brown for an immediate statewide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and other forms of well stimulation, claiming the practices are contaminating aquifers.

  • February 26, 2015

    Recovery Of Superfund Defense Costs Follows A Paper Trail

    An Oregon federal court on Wednesday said that to win defense costs associated with a cleanup dispute over a Portland Superfund site from a massive group of insurers, a group of ironwork companies and their voluntary insurer need to itemize the costs and prove their characterization as defense costs.

  • February 26, 2015

    Sens. Join Congressional Push To Kill Ethanol Fuel Mandate

    A bipartisan trio of U.S. senators introduced legislation Thursday that would eliminate the use of corn-based ethanol from the level of renewable fuels refiners are required to blend into the U.S. fuel supply, joining similar legislation introduced in the House earlier this month.

  • February 26, 2015

    2nd Judge Halts TransCanada's Keystone Condemnations

    A second Nebraska state judge on Thursday ordered TransCanada Corp. to halt condemnation proceedings against scores of Nebraska residents living in the path of its proposed Keystone XL pipeline project, as both sides gird for another battle over a law allowing the governor to set the pipeline route.

  • February 26, 2015

    EU High Court Says Czech Tax On Green Permits Violates Law

    The European Union’s highest court on Thursday said a gift tax imposed in the Czech Republic in 2011 and 2012 on greenhouse gas emission allowances distributed in the country runs afoul of EU law.

  • February 26, 2015

    Biofuel Execs Can’t Waive Atty-Client Privilege, US Says

    The U.S. on Wednesday urged an Indiana federal court to block any attempts by indicted biofuels executives to waive attorney-client privilege in an upcoming trial over an alleged $100 million biofuel tax credits scam, claiming that their refusal to discuss the matter impacts pretrial preparations.

  • February 25, 2015

    Attorneys React To High Court's Sarbanes-Oxley 'Fish' Ruling

    On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an anti-shredding provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act does not cover all physical evidence. Here, attorneys tell Law360 why the decision in John L. Yates v. United States of America is significant.

  • February 25, 2015

    High Court SOX Fish Ruling Cuts Hole In Prosecutors’ Net

    With the dramatic reversal of a fisherman’s felony conviction under a provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday sent a clear message to overzealous prosecutors that the law doesn’t give them carte blanche to pursue defendants outside the act’s corporate context.

  • February 25, 2015

    BP Rips 'New' Evidence In $266B Atlantis FCA Suit

    BP PLC told a Texas federal court Wednesday that the introduction of structural engineers’ reports by whistleblowers was a flimsy attempt to get the court to reconsider assertions it has already rejected in a $266 billion False Claims Act suit involving BP’s Gulf of Mexico-based Atlantis facility.

  • February 25, 2015

    GOP Reintroduces Bills Overhauling EPA Board, Data Use

    Congressional Republicans on Tuesday reintroduced two bills to overhaul the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board and the use of scientific data in crafting regulations, measures strongly opposed by the White House that sponsors say will shine more light on EPA activities.

  • February 25, 2015

    ACA Backers Take Heart In High Court's SOX Ruling

    Affordable Care Act supporters seized on a U.S. Supreme Court decision Wednesday interpreting the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to assert that justices in a looming case will interpret the ACA as allowing universal tax credits, but experts cautioned against assuming that one ruling tips the court's hand.

  • February 25, 2015

    PennEast's $1B Pipeline Plan Has Big Enviro Costs, FERC Told

    The New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club sent a letter Wednesday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voicing opposition to PennEast Pipeline's proposed $1 billion project, urging FERC to issue a thorough environmental impact statement that will demonstrate environmental degradation for the purpose of profiteering.

  • February 25, 2015

    Calif. Appeals Court Backs State Cap-And-Trade Rules

    A California appeals court has shut down two environmental groups’ objections to cap-and-trade rules put in place by California's Air Resources Board, finding that the group’s interpretation of a law that created the program would hamstring its enactment altogether.

  • February 25, 2015

    Enbridge Joins USFS In Mich. Pipeline Review Suit

    A Michigan federal judge on Wednesday granted Enbridge Energy LP’s unopposed motion to intervene in a suit alleging the U.S. Forest Service bypassed the environmental review process for one of the company’s pipelines.

Expert Analysis

  • Yates: A Welcome End To Prosecutorial 'Fishing' Expedition

    Diana Lloyd

    In this week's ruling in Yates v. U.S., the U.S. Supreme Court reinforced the principle that the language of a statute must be analyzed in an appropriate context and, more importantly, put a damper on prosecutors’ dangerous trend toward applying certain statutes to criminalize behavior beyond what one would reasonably understand to be prohibited, says Diana Lloyd of Choate Hall & Stewart LLP.

  • Additional-Insured Concerns Surface In Deepwater Horizon

    Micah E. Skidmore

    The Texas Supreme Court's recent ruling in the matter of Deepwater Horizon will inevitably prompt more questions regarding the importance of “certificates of insurance” as well as how explicit a reference within an insurance policy must be or what nexus that reference must have with a coverage limitation before additional-insured status is circumscribed, says Micah Skidmore of Haynes and Boone LLP.

  • Emerging Trends In Corporate Sustainability Reporting

    Sara K. Orr

    Recently, a potential new legal trend has emerged in which plaintiffs are filing product liability and securities class actions against companies by invoking claims related to environmental, social and governance or sustainability statements. This development demonstrates the risks associated with issuing ESG statements as some consumers and investors will not hesitate to litigate their accuracy or materiality, say Sara Orr and Bar... (continued)

  • Fracking Study Is Another Tool For Defense Counsel

    Craig M. Warner

    Even as some journalists used Parr v. Aruba Petroleum Inc. to push an anti-fracking narrative, a bigger story has developed beneath the radar — scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracturing has increasingly demonstrated that expertly built and operated fracking operations pose few novel environmental dangers, says Craig Warner of King & Spalding LLP.

  • Using Patents To Curtail Climate Change: A Proposal

    John Vandenberg

    Last fall, 74 countries and more than 1,000 businesses signed a declaration calling on all nations to price carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, yet the prospects of meaningful government action are dim. We see a possible solution in our patent system — impose a flexible license fee tied to greenhouse gas emissions, say attorneys with Klarquist Sparkman LLP, Green Patent Law, Robins Kaplan LLP, Burns & Levinson LLP and Susman Godfrey LLP.

  • This Week In Congress: Avoiding A DHS Funding Showdown

    Richard A. Hertling

    One major change in the debate over U.S. Department of Homeland Security funding — which expires this Friday — is that a Texas federal district judge has issued an injunction against the Obama administration’s immigration policy, essentially putting it on hold. This may be an opportunity for the Senate to avoid the policy riders and pass a clean funding bill, says Richard Hertling and Kaitlyn McClure of Covington & Burling LLP.

  • The Little Bat That Could Threaten The Energy Industry

    M. Benjamin Cowan

    There is a strong chance the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will list the Northern Long-Eared Bat under the Endangered Species Act as either endangered or threatened with a special take rule come April. Even the special take rule, as currently proposed, would do little to blunt the impact of a threatened listing on the bulk of the energy industry, say Benjamin Cowan and Andrew Davitt of Locke Lord LLP.

  • Texas High Court Fuels Uncertainty Over Trespass Claims

    James E. Smith

    The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is the second largest environmental agency in the world. Only the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is larger. The Texas Supreme Court should recognize modern realities and the scope of TCEQ’s competence — case in point, Environmental Processing Systems LC v. FPL Farming Ltd., says James Smith of Porter Hedges LLP.

  • Calif. Case Could Shape Enviro Permit Challenge Rights

    Paul J. Beard

    California courts have long struggled with whether project proponents may challenge the conditions in a state environmental or land use permit and simultaneously proceed with the project. What the California Supreme Court ultimately decides in Lynch v. California Coastal Commission is anyone’s guess, but the stakes are high for both project proponents and state agencies, say Paul Beard and Damien Schiff of Alston & Bird LLP.

  • A Look At The Gov't Plan To Combat Wildlife Trafficking

    John Drennan

    Now that the U.S. Departments of Justice, State and the Interior have released a plan to implement President Obama's strategy for combating wildlife trafficking, companies in sectors that may affect or be affected by wildlife trafficking ― especially transportation, tourism, logistics and e-commerce ― should identify the key risk junctures in their supply chains, say attorneys with King & Spalding LLP.