Environmental RSS

  • April 18, 2014

    Judge Consolidates W.Va. Chemical Spill Civil Suits

    A West Virginia federal judge ordered a limited consolidation Friday in roughly 60 civil suits against Freedom Industries Inc. and West Virginia-American Water Co. over the massive coal processing chemical spill that contaminated drinking water, finding a common question of law or fact.

  • April 18, 2014

    BP Pounded By Spate Of New Deepwater Investor Suits

    BP PLC was hit with at least six securities suits in Texas federal court Friday, with groups of foreign businesses and U.S. retirement funds alleging the oil company’s actions and response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill cost them millions of dollars.

  • April 18, 2014

    Scholars Sue NYC To Stop Library Renovation

    A citizen advocacy coalition on Thursday sued the city of New York in state court, seeking to stop a proposed renovation of the main branch of the New York Public Library that was approved by ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, saying the plan would “mutilate” the historic building and the environmental review had been rubber-stamped.

  • April 18, 2014

    Wash. Rejects DOE's New Hanford Cleanup Proposal

    Washington’s governor and attorney general announced on Friday that the state is rejecting the U.S. Department of Energy’s proposal to push back or eliminate deadlines for cleanup at the Hanford nuclear site, one of the most contaminated nuclear sites in the country.

  • April 18, 2014

    Minn. Plant Emissions Law 'Admirable' But Unconstitutional

    A Minnesota federal judge blocked the enforcement of a state emissions law that effectively barred the use of electricity from new coal-fired power plants, ruling Friday that the law, challenged by neighboring North Dakota, unconstitutionally restricts interstate commerce.

  • April 18, 2014

    Sierra Club Loses Fight Over Radioactive Waste License

    A Texas appeals court on Friday rejected the Sierra Club’s suit over a radioactive waste disposal license issued to the operator of a site in West Texas, upholding a decision by state regulators to deny the group an administrative hearing to challenge the license.

  • April 18, 2014

    DC Circ. Backs EPA Cement Rule But Kills Private Suit Defense

    The D.C. Circuit on Friday upheld U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards for cement plants, but struck down an affirmative defense against private civil suits that was written into the rule, finding the EPA couldn't shield companies from penalties for malfunction-related violations.

  • April 18, 2014

    EPA Can't Shake Suit Over Pesticide-Linked Bee Deaths

    A California federal judge on Friday sent back four of 10 claims to be amended in a lawsuit by beekeepers alleging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency failed to adequately regulate pesticides that are annihilating honeybees and thereby hurting the economy and threatening agriculture, keeping the suit alive.

  • April 18, 2014

    NJ Court Revives Suit Over Enviro Agency's Property Taking

    A New Jersey appeals court on Friday revived an inverse condemnation suit against the state's Department of Environmental Protection, ruling a trial judge's dismissal of a realty company's suit relied too heavily on a prior appellate decision rather than the complaint.

  • April 18, 2014

    McCabe To Press Full Speed Ahead With Tougher Climate Regs

    As the Senate considers the nomination of acting EPA air chief Janet McCabe to permanently fill the position, attorneys who have met and worked with the longtime regulator say that she will continue to push the White House's ambitious climate agenda while advocating for state-friendly provisions.

  • April 18, 2014

    High Court Petitioned Over 2008 La. Ship Crash, Oil Spill

    American Commercial Lines LLC is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify maritime laws on preventing ship collisions in inland channels, hoping to hold another ship owner liable for the 2008 sinking of an ACL barge that caused a large oil spill in the Mississippi River.

  • April 18, 2014

    $1.25B Illiana Expressway Approved Illegally, Enviros Claim

    Environmental groups the Sierra Club and Openlands have again challenged the Illiana Expressway project, an estimated $1.25 billion toll road linking two interstates near exurban Chicago, claiming in Illinois state court Thursday that construction must be stopped because the project was approved illegally.

  • April 18, 2014

    $48.5M Enviro Deal Reached For Hawaii's Turtle Bay Resort

    Owners of the Turtle Bay Resort in Hawaii have struck a $48.5 million deal with state officials to preserve the environmental integrity of 665.8 acres of beachfront land and not move forward with planned development, according to a Thursday announcement.

  • April 18, 2014

    Obama Punts On Keystone Decision, Citing Neb. Route Row

    The Obama administration said Friday that it's extending its review of the Keystone XL pipeline, citing uncertainty over the controversial pipeline's route after a Nebraska state judge invalidated the Cornhusker State's portion of the route in February.

  • April 18, 2014

    $325M Texas Natural Gas Plant Gets Green Light From EPA

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave Texas-based Lone Star NGL LLC the green light to build a $325 million natural gas processing plant west of Houston, emphasizing Friday that the development of natural gas is essential to the country’s climate and energy goals.

  • April 17, 2014

    Rising Star: Perkins Coie's Chris Baird

    Perkins Coie LLP partner Chris Baird has leveraged his appreciation for and grasp of the complex scientific concepts that underlie environmental disputes to help the Tennessee Valley Authority secure insurance coverage for the largest coal ash spill in U.S. history and Puget Sound Energy reach a favorable settlement in a contamination liability suit, earning him a spot among Law360's top five environmental attorneys under 40.

  • April 17, 2014

    Lowe's Agrees To Record EPA Fine Over Lead Rule Violations

    Lowe's Home Centers LLC announced a settlement Thursday with federal environmental regulators over alleged violations of lead-dust safety standards by the chain’s renovation contractors at homes in several states, agreeing to pay a record $500,000 in fines and ensure its contractors are certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

  • April 17, 2014

    5 Energy Projects That Could Help Wean EU Off Russian Gas

    Although the European Union has talked about reducing its heavy reliance on Russian-produced gas for years, the ongoing crisis in Ukraine has injected new urgency into the effort. But it won't be easy. Here, project finance experts identify five types of energy projects that must be tackled in order to decrease the EU's dependence on Russian gas.

  • April 17, 2014

    ITC Launches Probes Into Environmental Goods Duties

    The U.S. International Trade Commission on Thursday said it was launching two investigations into the economic effects of removing duties on environmental goods, as well as trade information and estimates for some of those products.

  • April 17, 2014

    EU Advances Rule To Reduce Plastic Bag Use By 80%

    European Union lawmakers on Wednesday passed draft rules requiring member states to cut plastic bag usage in half by 2017 and by 80 percent before 2019, citing concerns about water pollution and damage to aquatic ecosystems.

Expert Analysis

  • The Future Of Law Firm PR: The Good, Bad And Ugly

    Paul Webb

    There has been a dramatic change in how public relations professionals interact with the news media to promote or protect a law firm’s brand and reputation. But content is queen and has a bright future in law firm PR — it all begins with a plan that should include goals, performance indicators and a system of assessment, say Paul Webb, director of marketing at Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP, and Kathy O'Brien, senior vice president at Jaffe PR.

  • 'Venting And Flaring' Rule May Spur EPA Regs On Methane

    Luke D. Johnson

    While the Bureau of Land Management's venting and flaring rule may be focused on the government's possible loss of resources from the energy industry's use of public land, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can be expected to focus more directly on methane itself. Potential regulations should be on the industry's radar, whether suppliers are operating on federal land or not, says Luke Johnson, a policy director with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP and former BLM deputy director for policy and programs.

  • Beware 'Jewel' Risks In Lateral Partner Hiring

    Pamela Phillips

    Jewel litigation has been filed after every major law firm bankruptcy in the past 10 years, including Lyon & Lyon, Brobeck, Coudert, Thelen, Heller and Howrey. These lawsuits have produced years of litigation, with similar suits expected in the Dewey bankruptcy. Despite the legal uncertainties surrounding such claims, hiring firms can take steps now to minimize their Jewel risk for any lateral hire, say attorneys with Arnold & Porter LLP.

  • Sweet Or Sour Development? EPA Tightens Tier 3 Gas Program

    Brenna K. Finn

    Gasoline sulfur levels have dropped up to 90 percent from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 2 Gasoline Sulfur Program, and the EPA's recently issued notice for the Tier 3 Program will further reduce gasoline sulfur content. However, it does not take much for a refinery to exceed the 10 ppm sulfur standard, and a stronger incentive may exist for refiners to generate and bank credits for their own future use, say Laura Riese and Brenna Finn of Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP.

  • Heartbleed Rains On The Legal Cloud Parade

    David Houlihan

    While the actual breaches are unknown, Heartbleed has the potential to expose all of a lawyer's files stored or transmitted online. The bug raises professional responsibility questions and offers confirmation of the greatest anxieties that the legal industry has about online practice. In fact, the timing is poor for many legal tech providers, following a general industry warming to cloud offerings, says David Houlihan of Blue Hill Research Inc.

  • Inside Calif.'s De Facto Moratorium On Well Stimulation

    Michael N. Mills

    California's SB 4 requires the state's Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources to develop a permitting scheme to regulate the use of well-stimulation practices, including hydraulic fracturing. However, the division's interim regulations have created more problems than they've solved and established a de facto moratorium that the state Legislature and governor rejected in 2013, say Michael Mills and Chelsea Huffman of Stoel Rives LLP.

  • India Is Moving In Right Direction On Int'l Arbitration

    Talat Ansari

    A 2012 Indian Supreme Court decision effectively reversed the trend of Indian courts’ judicial intervention in international arbitrations. A spate of judgments since then makes it apparent that Indian courts are adopting a less interfering role and are willing to enforce arbitration agreements between parties in accordance with the UNCITRAL model law and the New York Convention, say Talat Ansari and Ila Kapoor of Kelley Drye LLP.

  • Keep Your Audience From Checking Email: 5 Legal Talk Tips

    Michael H. Rubin

    Why do the majority of speakers get polite claps at the end of their talks while a few select others receive rousing applause? Having given more than 375 presentations to legal groups, bar associations, Fortune 500 companies and corporate gatherings, I’ve learned a few things about what not to do. Remember, great speakers don’t tell “war stories.” They don’t even give examples from their own practice, says Michael Rubin of McGlinchey Stafford PLLC.

  • NY Medical Monitoring Cases Are Ones To Watch

    Kristie Tappan

    A New York state appeals court recently refined the New York Court of Appeals' ruling in Caronia v. Philip Morris USA Inc., allowing plaintiffs to pursue medical monitoring as a form of damages where they had an existing tort cause of action. Parties can expect further litigation on the issue of what constitutes physical injury sufficient to seek damages for medical monitoring since injury can be an entryway for such damages, says Kristie Tappan of Sedgwick LLP.

  • Troubled Waters Ahead: CWA Rule Sure To Rock The Boat

    Radcliffe Dann IV

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' recently proposed rule defining the jurisdictional “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act attempts to clarify the regulatory impact of Rapanos v. U.S. Since a few courts have held that groundwater hydrologically connected to regulated waters of the U.S. can be regulated under the CWA, the rule is important to stakeholders — the current proposed rule contains no such exception, say attorneys at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP.