Environmental

  • February 5, 2016

    DuPont Pollution MDL's Cancer Cases Get Trial Priority

    An Ohio federal judge has granted priority to 260 cancer lawsuits over thousands of other cases in multidistrict litigation over DuPont Co.'s alleged contamination of drinking water, setting an aggressive schedule for four trials per month beginning in April 2017, according to an order made public this week.

  • February 5, 2016

    FERC Gives Enviro OK To Kinder Morgan $2B LNG Project

    Kinder Morgan Inc.'s $2 billion proposed natural gas liquefaction project near the mouth of the Savannah River moved one step closer to approval Friday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's release of a favorable environmental assessment.

  • February 5, 2016

    Texas Floats Rule To Ease Reports Of Small Wastewater Spills

    The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality published proposed rules Friday that would allow delayed reporting of some small wastewater spills and accidental discharges by utilities.

  • February 5, 2016

    NJ Latest To Sue VW Over ‘Massive’ Emissions Fraud

    The state of New Jersey on Friday launched a suit against Volkswagen AG and its subsidiaries Audi and Porsche for carrying out a “massive fraud” against consumers by using software in millions of diesel vehicles to cheat federal emissions tests, allowing it to increase sales by falsely touting environmentally friendly cars.

  • February 5, 2016

    Feds Unveil Overhaul To Critical Habitat Regulations

    Federal fish and wildlife regulators unveiled final regulations on Friday overhauling how they implement critical habitat designation requirements under the Endangered Species Act, a move blasted by environmentalists as a giveaway to oil and gas, mining and logging industries.

  • February 5, 2016

    EPA Yanks Air Pollution Permit For Texas Coal Plant

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has overturned revisions to an air pollution control permit issued by Texas environmental regulators to a coal-fired power plant, saying the revised permit doesn't adequately enforce particulate matter emissions limits during the plant's planned startup, shutdown and maintenance activities.

  • February 5, 2016

    Texas Justices Deny Review In Oil Well Plugging Row

    Roland Oil Co., which had appealed a final order from the Texas Railroad Commission that canceled its extension to plug inactive oil wells, was denied review in the case Friday by the Texas Supreme Court, leaving in place a lower appellate court opinion siding with the commission.

  • February 5, 2016

    Gov. Should Share Work Site's Cleanup Cost, 9th Circ. Told

    TDY Industries Inc. said Thursday the government should help pay environmental cleanup costs at a San Diego site where the defense contractor produced equipment for the military for several decades, asking the Ninth Circuit to overturn a trial court ruling that the government did not bear cleanup responsibility.

  • February 5, 2016

    BlackRock, Green Investment Buy $613M In UK Wind Farms

    British government-owned Green Investment Bank said Friday it has partnered with private equity giant BlackRock to buy a portfolio of wind farms in the U.K. for £423 million ($612.6 million) from utility company Centrica and its partner EIG.

  • February 5, 2016

    White House Starts Review Of Offshore Drilling Blowout Rule

    Federal offshore regulators have sent their finalized rule tightening standards for blowout prevention systems and other well controls for offshore drillers, the linchpin of regulatory reforms pursued after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, to the White House's Office of Management and Budget for review.

  • February 4, 2016

    Lawmakers Push EPA, Mich. For Info On Flint Water Crisis

    Two congressmen told Michigan regulators and the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday to explain when they knew about the vulnerabilities that lead to the contamination of Flint's drinking water and what they’re doing to coordinate the throng of agencies responding to the disaster.

  • February 4, 2016

    Obama To Pitch $10-Per-Barrel Oil Fee In 2017 Budget

    President Barack Obama will pitch a plan requiring oil companies to pay the government $10 for each barrel of oil in a move the administration says will incentivize the private sector to reduce the nation’s reliance on oil, the White House said Thursday.

  • February 4, 2016

    Feds Must Pay Tribe For Future Pollution Cleanup Costs

    An Oregon district judge went against a magistrate judge's recommendation that the U.S. government should not be responsible for future clean-up costs at a Superfund site, saying that a Washington tribe affected by the contamination is entitled to a positive declaration on the government's future liabilities.

  • February 4, 2016

    States Can't Bar EPA Rule That's Already Been Stayed

    A Texas federal judge has denied a tri-state request for an injunction to prevent the implementation of a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule that is already under stay.

  • February 4, 2016

    Utah Gov. Sues DOI Over Sage-Grouse Plans

    Utah on Thursday sued the Department of the Interior over its plan to conserve habitat for and protect the greater sage-grouse, saying the measure imposes impermissible restrictions on land in the state.

  • February 4, 2016

    Enviros, States Urge High Court Not To Grant Stay Of CPP

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, green groups, clean-energy companies and several states and cities on Thursday asked the U.S. Supreme Court not to grant a stay of the EPA’s controversial Clean Power Plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.

  • February 4, 2016

    NJ Panel Advances Pipeline Leak Penalties Bill

    A New Jersey Assembly committee signed off on a bill Thursday that would slap utilities with substantial penalties if they fail to fix or replace pipelines leaking natural gas within a period to be set by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

  • February 4, 2016

    Exxon Unit Moves Suit For DOJ Fracking Spill Docs

    An Exxon Mobil Corp. unit suing the U.S. Department of Justice for documents that purportedly may clear the fracking company of Pennsylvania's criminal environmental charges was allowed Thursday to transfer the discovery matter to where the company is pursuing related grand jury information.

  • February 4, 2016

    Ex-Bracewell, Godwin Lewis Atty Joins Dykema In Dallas

    Dykema has added a former Bracewell LLP partner in Dallas who represented Halliburton Energy Services Inc. in litigation over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

  • February 4, 2016

    Monsanto Asks Judge To Toss Berkeley’s PCBs Nuisance Suit

    Monsanto Co. and units of Pfizer and Eastman Chemical on Wednesday urged a California federal court to toss a suit in which the city of Berkeley, California, accuses them of polluting the San Francisco Bay with polychlorinated biphenyls for years.

Expert Analysis

  • Oklahoma Quakes Trigger Legal Concerns For Energy Cos.

    Daniel M. McClure

    With more than 70 earthquakes shaking Oklahoma since the start of the year, seismicity is staged to remain a focus for the energy industry in 2016. Earthquake litigation appears to be trending up, and a variety of patterns are becoming apparent to ensure that seismic risk mitigation investments are efficiently targeted at a time when the energy industry faces tightening financial pressures, say attorneys at Norton Rose Fulbright.

  • CPUC Net Metering Decision Is Good News For Clean Energy

    Sheridan J. Pauker

    While the California Public Utilities Commission's approval of a new tariff structure for future net energy metering customers will impose certain fees and increase monthly ratepayer charges, it has been strongly praised by the clean energy industry as largely preserving the economics of a customer's decision whether to install distributed energy resources, say attorneys at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

  • Pa. Methane Rules May Be Tougher Than Federal Standards

    Jennifer A. Smokelin

    Pennsylvania's new plan to reduce methane emissions follows similar proposed rulemaking by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, the rule's new general permit requirement is expected to exceed the scope of the federal rulemaking effort and could further increase the burden on industry due to additional preconstruction permitting and the associated time lag and costs, say attorneys at Reed Smith LLP.

  • In Congress: Republican Messaging, Fiscal Year 2017, Flint

    Richard A. Hertling

    A new challenge to bipartisan, comprehensive energy legislation came last week when several Democratic senators introduced an amendment aimed at providing emergency resources to Flint, Michigan, to address severe contamination from lead in the city’s drinking water, say Richard Hertling and Kaitlyn McClure of Covington & Burling LLP.

  • The CPUC's Realistic Approach Toward Energy Security

    Jeffrey D. Dintzer

    The Sierra Club’s petition asking the court to “set aside” the California Public Utilities Commission's approval of the Carlsbad Energy Center was an unrealistic request that severely lacked legal merit. While such a policy aim does not come as a surprise, it was especially ill-considered given the circumstances of Southern California's energy needs, say attorneys at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

  • A Step In The Right Direction For Eagle 'Take' Permits

    Barbara D. Craig

    It's no surprise that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided not to appeal a decision that set aside its rule to extend the maximum term for programmatic eagle “take” permits. However, it is an encouraging sign that the service remains committed to fixing the deficiencies in the 2013 rule amendments and to fully developing and implementing the eagle permitting program, say attorneys at Stoel Rives LLP.

  • Management System Standards' Growing Role In Compliance

    Christopher L. Bell

    The big question regarding the International Organization for Standardization's forthcoming anti-bribery management systems standard is whether it will follow in the footsteps of the environmental management systems standard and become a prominent feature in commercial relationships, and whether it will be viewed by the authorities as a credible foundation for an effective compliance program, says Christopher Bell of Greenberg Traurig LLP.

  • Cicero On Legal Advocacy

    Eliot J. Walker

    Today’s lawyers might be surprised to find that the teachings of Cicero remain relevant to modern practice. In recognition of the ancient Roman orator's birthday this month, Skiermont Derby LLP attorney Eliot Walker offers three practice points for lawyers and politicians plucked from Cicero’s seminal dialogue on rhetoric.

  • 5 Texas Supreme Court Energy Cases To Watch In 2016

    Mark Trachtenberg

    From cases involving the calculation of royalty and overriding royalty interests, to the treatment of production payments and the scope of surface owner rights, the Texas Supreme Court is set to offer several decisions that will be of interest to the energy industry in 2016. Attorneys at Haynes and Boone LLP weigh in on the significance and potential implications of each noteworthy case.

  • 4 Ways To Improve The Business Intake Process

    Terrence J. Coan

    When executed properly, an efficient new business intake process can drive growth, minimize risk, and ensure new clients support a law firm’s business and financial objectives. But determining how to streamline the NBI process is easier said than done, says Terrence Coan, leader of HBR Consulting LLC's information governance and risk management practice.