Environmental

  • March 30, 2015

    BP Denied Bid For Bench Trial In Alabama Deepwater Fight

    A Louisiana federal judge on Monday said Alabama is entitled to a jury trial over alleged losses resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, rejecting BP plc’s argument that the state’s claims should tried by the bench.

  • March 30, 2015

    Texas Committee OKs Bill To Block Local Fracking Bans

    A Texas House committee on Monday approved a bill that would prevent local governments from imposing regulations like the Denton fracking ban, one week after more than 100 people waited hours to testify during a hearing on the bill.

  • March 30, 2015

    First Solar Says Shareholders' Fraud Claims Lack Evidence

    First Solar Inc. told an Arizona federal court Friday that a class of shareholders claiming some of the energy company’s executives misrepresented financial information to inflate stock prices have no evidence to support their claims.

  • March 30, 2015

    Judge Grants Wash. Tribes' Bid To Block Rival's Fishing

    A federal judge in Washington state on Friday barred a Native American tribe from fishing in disputed waters off the coast, ruling two other tribes had shown they were likely to win the case.

  • March 30, 2015

    Calif. Water Board Has Discretion On Pollutants, Court Says

    A California appeals court on Monday affirmed that a state water board has broad discretion to choose any reasonable method to set pollution limits for water bodies, tossing an appeal claiming that the figure could not be based on pollutant concentrations in the sediment of a lake bed.

  • March 30, 2015

    Enviros Fight To Keep Red River CWA Suit Afloat

    Environmental groups on Monday fired back at Red River Coal Co.’s bid to throw out their suit alleging the company violated the Clean Water Act by excessively discharging pollutants from four of its mines, saying Red River is trying to hide behind the word of a state mining agency that is beholden to industry.

  • March 30, 2015

    The 2015 Rising Stars, By Firm

    Law360's Rising Stars recognizes attorneys under 40 who have demonstrated outstanding career accomplishments. This year, King & Spalding LLP and Sidley Austin LLP led the pack with seven Rising Stars each, followed by Gibson Dunn and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP with six Rising Stars each, and Jones Day and Kirkland & Ellis LLP with five Rising Stars apiece.

  • March 30, 2015

    Coast Guard Issues Final Offshore Drilling Rule

    The U.S. Coast Guard on Monday unveiled updated safety standards for newly constructed mobile offshore oil drilling units, floating outer continental shelf facilities and other vessels that engage in OCS activities.

  • March 30, 2015

    Monsanto, Pfizer Beat PCB Contamination Cost Suit

    A Connecticut federal judge on Sunday tossed chemical company Hubbard-Hall Inc.’s lawsuit seeking to hold Monsanto Co., Pfizer Inc., Pharmacia Corp. and Solutia Inc. responsible for paying for the cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls released from paint, finding the company waited too long to sue.

  • March 30, 2015

    Sen. Urges Feds To Nix Oil, Gas Leases On Tribal Land

    Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., on Friday urged the federal government to cancel 18 existing oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area of Montana, which is sacred to the Blackfeet Tribe, joining in with a plea several months ago from Blackfeet tribal leaders who contended that the leases were granted illegally.

  • March 30, 2015

    Gov’t Urges Tough Penalties Against BP In Deepwater Disaster

    The federal government on Friday urged a Louisiana federal judge to hit BP Exploration & Production Inc. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. with heavy Clean Water Act penalties over the Deepwater Horizon disaster, arguing the fines should be high enough to send a message to the entire industry.

  • March 30, 2015

    Ill. Court Upholds Fines Over Acid Pumped Into Gas Wells

    An Illinois appeals court on Friday upheld $260,000 in fines against two companies that disposed of hazardous acid in oil and natural gas wells, finding that the case was properly before state environmental regulators rather than the agency overseeing drilling operations.

  • March 27, 2015

    Calif. Gov. Signs $1B Drought Relief Package

    As California confronts severely dry conditions for the fourth year in a row, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed a legislative package that will steer $1 billion in emergency funding toward drought relief and water infrastructure projects.

  • March 27, 2015

    DOI Says Gov't Had To Sell Okla. Tribes' Timber Lands

    The U.S. Department of the Interior told a federal judge Thursday that the federal government was mandated to sell 1.3 million acres of unallotted timber lands of the Chickasaw Nation and Choctaw Nation based on the plain meaning of a 1906 federal law for disposal of tribal lands.

  • March 27, 2015

    Pa. Utility Dodges Solar Co.’s Unfair Competition Suit

    A Pennsylvania federal judge shot down a solar company’s unfair competition claim against a utility company that wouldn’t allow access to the power grid for electricity generated by solar power, saying Sunrise Energy LLC’s arguments came up short of the threshold for a claim.

  • March 27, 2015

    Exide Wins Nod For Ch. 11 Plan To Slash Debt By $600M

    A Delaware bankruptcy judge blessed Exide Technologies Inc.'s reorganization plan on Friday, clearing the way for the battery maker to emerge from a lengthy stint in Chapter 11 with its debt load lightened by $600 million.

  • March 27, 2015

    Exide's $133M No-Prosecute Deal OK'd In Pollution Row

    A Delaware bankruptcy judge on Friday approved a nonprosecution agreement between Exide Technologies Inc. and federal prosecutors requiring the company to admit to illegally handling hazardous waste at its Los Angeles-area battery recycling plant, and to close and clean up the plant, among other remedies costing up to $133 million.

  • March 27, 2015

    Nonprofit Takes Texas Endangered Crane Suit To High Court

    A Texas environmental nonprofit has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether the Fifth Circuit exhibited "appellate overreach" in reversing an injunction barring the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality from issuing new water permits for rivers that flow to coastal estuaries and house endangered whooping cranes.

  • March 27, 2015

    ICMA Extends Green Bond Eligibility To Climate Change Work

    The International Capital Market Association updated its voluntary guidelines on green bonds Friday, adding “climate change adaption” to categories of eligible projects as part of a broader refinement intended to clarify what projects should be considered "green."

  • March 27, 2015

    Enviros Ask 9th Circ. To Review Alaska Logging Plan

    Environmental groups on Thursday appealed a federal judge’s decision to toss their suit seeking to stop a huge old-growth timber sale from going forward in an Alaska national forest and asked for a temporary injunction while the appeal is made.

Expert Analysis

  • Look To Pa. Case On Standard Of Liability For Fracking

    Richard J. Wilson

    As natural gas drilling continues to spread where landowners and courts are unfamiliar with the industry, Ely v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. represents a significant step in clarifying the standard of liability under which courts should consider the increasing number of claims alleging damages resulting from hydraulic fracturing, say Richard Wilson and Justin Tschoepe of Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP.

  • Mediation And The Thorny Issue Of Settlement Authority

    Douglas H. Flaum

    Many mediation orders state that attendees must have “full settlement authority” without providing clarity as to what that term actually means. Attendance by just outside counsel or a corporate spokesperson is not enough, even if someone else with full settlement authority is just a phone call or keystroke away, say Douglas Flaum and Kevin Broughel of Paul Hastings LLP.

  • Dividing CERCLA Site Just Won't Cut It On Liability

    Marc A. Zeppetello

    Appvion Inc. v. P.H. Glatfelter Co. confirms that a potentially responsible party cannot escape Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act liability based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency dividing a site into operable units, says Marc Zeppetello of Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp LLP.

  • What Experts Can Say About Inadmissible Facts During Trial

    Jason McDonell

    For reliance material that is not admitted on the stand, consider bolstering the testimony by having the expert describe the evidence generally, but in a way that signals to the jury that the expert has a strong foundation of supporting facts and data. If done well, such testimony can open the door to admitting the evidence, say Jason McDonell and Heather Fugitt of Jones Day.

  • 3rd Circ. Keeps Open Possible Fracking Carveout Challenge

    Emily B. Thomas

    Despite the decision in Rodriguez v. Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, the Third Circuit’s ruling was very narrow and leaves a door open for future challenges to state trade secret protections for hydraulic fracturing companies when it comes to medical care carveouts, says Emily Thomas of Baker & Hostetler LLP.

  • Combating Climate Change Continues With Executive Orders

    George O. Wilkinson Jr.

    President Obama's latest executive order on greenhouse gas emissions will impact both federal agencies and government contractors and once again signals the White House's intention to combat climate change in spite of some members of Congress, state governments and industry groups, say George Wilkinson Jr. and Corinne Snow of Vinson & Elkins LLP.

  • High Court May Take On Corporate 5th Amendment Privilege

    Ramzi Abadou

    A festering but virtually unnoticed circuit split over a legal doctrine the U.S. Supreme Court first recognized early last century may provide the Roberts court with the opportunity to grant corporate persons privilege against self-incrimination for the first time in U.S. history, says Ramzi Abadou of Kahn Swick & Foti LLP.

  • Rage Rises To The Top At BLM's New Fracking Rules

    J. Tom Boer

    The Bureau of Land Management's final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on public lands saw a swift political backlash — energy industry groups filed a lawsuit challenging the rulemaking and the GOP-controlled Senate issued a statement criticizing the rule as duplicative and unnecessary, says J. Tom Boer, a partner with Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp LLP and former attorney with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Regulatory Divergence May Be New Norm After GHG Guidance

    Mark C. Kalpin

    The White House Council on Environmental Quality's revised draft guidance on greenhouse gas emissions gives significant discretion to agencies to proceed appropriately in light of their unique mandates and circumstances, which raises concerns about possible divergent practices among different agencies, say attorneys at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP.

  • Not Saved By The Bell: Dismissing Classes Prediscovery

    Laura E. Vendzules

    While bet-the-company class actions are on the rise with support from regulatory agencies, courts remain more open to limiting their scope. Bell v. Cheswick Generating Station is critical in that it signals a willingness to dispose of class claims before class discovery and prior to any motion for certification if the class as alleged is implausible on its face, say Laura Vendzules and Michael Iannucci of Blank Rome LLP.