Environmental

  • July 21, 2015

    Industry Group Calls New Dishwater Standards Ineffective

    The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers says that the U.S. Department of Energy’s new efficiency standards for dishwashers would reduce the effectiveness of the appliances so drastically that consumers may end up using more water.

  • July 21, 2015

    Newark Council OKs Deal With DuPont Over Ex-Plant Cleanup

    Newark, New Jersey's city council on Tuesday approved a settlement resolving litigation against DuPont Co. and others over pollution at the onetime site of a pigment plant, with the city receiving up to $108,000 for the cost of an expert to monitor the property's cleanup.

  • July 21, 2015

    6 CERCLA Cases To Watch In The 2nd Half Of 2015

    From Arizona’s battle to keep its Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act settlements out of judges' hands to a fight over whether air emissions that drift far away and land on the ground trigger liability, a number of high-profile CERLCA cases are currently underway in federal court. Here, Law360 looks at six CERCLA cases attorneys should be watching in the second half of 2015.

  • July 21, 2015

    10th Circ. Reaffirms Class Win In $1B Plutonium Dispute

    The full bench of the Tenth Circuit will not rehear a dispute over plutonium contamination emanating from a Colorado nuclear plant once owned by Dow Chemical Co., potentially keeping intact a nearly $1 billion jury verdict against Dow and the plant’s successor, Rockwell International Corp.

  • July 21, 2015

    Army Corps Says Enviros' Suit Barred By Sovereign Immunity

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Monday asked the Eleventh Circuit to toss an appeal alleging the agency operates water control structures on a Florida river in a way that violates state water quality standards, saying the suit is barred for potentially impeding the Corps' ability to maintain navigation through the water channels at issue.

  • July 21, 2015

    SunEdison Follows Blockbuster Deal With UK Acquisition

    SunEdison Inc. followed its $2.2 billion acquisition of Vivint Solar this week with the purchase of a leading solar installation business in the United Kingdom, seeking to expand its reach into residential and commercial sales in the country, the company said Tuesday.

  • July 20, 2015

    GOP Wants To Divert VA's Energy Spending To Health Care

    A group of House Republicans want to stop the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from any further discretionary spending on alternative energy projects and instead redirect any unused funds to medical care.

  • July 20, 2015

    Gordon & Rees Boosts Boston Office With LeClairRyan Trio

    Gordon & Rees LLP has added three partners to its Boston office, bolstering the nascent outpost with a trio of veteran LeClairRyan attorneys well-versed in practices spanning construction, bankruptcy, intellectual property and environmental law, the firm announced.

  • July 20, 2015

    DOI Extends Navajo Power Plant's Lease 25 Years

    The U.S. Department of the Interior approved a 25-year lease extension Friday with the Navajo Nation for the coal-fired Four Corners power plant in New Mexico, which the department said strikes a balance between environmental protection and tribal economic development.

  • July 20, 2015

    Calif. Wants Unprecedented $1.5M Fine For Diverting Water

    California drought regulators on Monday proposed a first-of-its-kind $1.5 million penalty against a northern California irrigation district for allegedly illegally diverting water from a river after receiving notice that there was insufficient supply available.

  • July 20, 2015

    5th Circ. Again Signs Off On Texas Flex Permit Program

    The Fifth Circuit on Monday again signed off on a flexible permitting plan used by Texas’ environmental regulator, rejecting argument from the Environmental Integrity Project that the plan provided an end-run against federal rules for major new sources of pollution.

  • July 20, 2015

    Gov't Beats Tribes' Challenge To $1B Calif. Solar Project

    A California federal judge has dealt a blow to tribes challenging a $1.1 billion Mojave Desert solar project, saying they failed to raise serious questions about the Bureau of Land Management’s approval of the plant and handing the U.S. government summary judgment.

  • July 20, 2015

    $225M NJ Exxon Deal Belittles True Damage, Judge Told

    A coalition of environmental groups and a New Jersey lawmaker on Monday kept up their fight to sink a proposed $225 million settlement between the state and ExxonMobil Corp., asking a judge in friend-of-the-court briefs to reject the deal because it allegedly undervalues damage from decades of refinery pollution.

  • July 20, 2015

    9th Circ. Lets Tribe, Enviros Challenge Federal Land Leases

    The Ninth Circuit on Monday overturned a lower court ruling tossing a challenge brought by a Native American tribe and several environmental groups to geothermal leases on California land sacred to the tribe, saying they had standing to challenge the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's decision to continue the leases.

  • July 20, 2015

    Bankrupt Furniture Brands Reaches $6M Deal With EPA

    A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge has approved a settlement between defunct furniture brand Furniture Brands International Inc. and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, granting the EPA a $6 million fixed, general unsecured claim against the FBI Wind Down Inc. bankruptcy estate for its landfill remediation and monitoring claims.

  • July 20, 2015

    US Ordered To Pay $20.6M In Entergy Nuclear Waste Suit

    A federal claims judge on Friday denied a motion from the U.S. government appealing the immediate payment of $20.6 million in damages to Entergy Nuclear Palisades LLC for not fulfilling its contractual obligation to dispose of radioactive waste.

  • July 20, 2015

    PE Firm Halifax Says Co. Lied About Finances Before Sale

    Private equity firm The Halifax Group LLC accused Florida Capital Partners Inc. in New York court on Friday of lying about the financial position of its environmental remediation company USES Holding Corp. prior to its $100 million sale to Halifax in 2014.

  • July 20, 2015

    PETA Sues Miami Aquarium Under ESA For Orca Treatment

    Animal rights groups on Monday launched a suit in Florida federal court against Miami's Seaquarium, alleging the marine park violates the Endangered Species Act by keeping its lone orca whale in an unlawfully small and shallow tank without companionship and adequate protection from the sun.

  • July 20, 2015

    Duke Energy Begins 13MW Solar Facility On Marine Base

    Duke Energy Corp. on Monday announced the beginning of construction on a 13-megawatt solar facility at a North Carolina U.S. Marine Corps base.

  • July 20, 2015

    Mine Developer Defeats Local Law At Alaska High Court

    Alaska's high court affirmed Friday that a local law prohibiting large-scale mining activities with adverse environmental effects is unenforceable because it impedes the state's statutory right to regulate mining activities on state land, dealing a win to the developer of the controversial Pebble Mine project.

Expert Analysis

  • Disclosure 2.0: Enter EPA's E-Disclosure Audit Program

    Jason B. Hutt

    To the extent that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's e-Disclosure system allows both companies and the EPA to more efficiently manage audit disclosures and reduce transactions costs associated with use of the audit policy, the agency's plan appears to be a win-win opportunity, say Jason Hutt and Timothy Wilkins of Bracewell & Giuliani LLP.

  • Tips To Avoid Conflicts When Hiring In-House Lawyers

    Richard A. Jackson

    If general counsels didn't pause to consider how their company was vetting conflicts for lateral hires into their legal departments after the disqualification ruling in Advanced Messaging Technologies Inc. v. EasyLink Services International Corp., then they are well advised to do so now after the recent decision in Dynamic 3D Geosolutions LLC v. Schlumberger Ltd., says Richard Jackson, conflicts counsel and lateral intake manager a... (continued)

  • EPA Fracking Report Finds State-Based Solutions Are Best

    Brenna K. Finn

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's draft report on hydraulic fracturing supports current regulation at the state — not federal — level. By referencing multiple state agency case studies and enforcement trends, the EPA report demonstrates that, where issues do exist, they are best handled at the state level so that state-specific realities and experience can be brought to bear, say Brenna Finn and David Neslin of Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP.

  • Managing A Company’s Environmental Self-Disclosure

    Bruce Pasfield

    Once a company has made the decision to self-disclose environmental violations, the better practice is to include everything in order to maximize credit received. However, a fair amount of care must be taken in deciding what to report, as self-disclosing unsubstantiated rumors does not do a company any good and may send the government down some unnecessary rabbit holes, say attorneys at Alston & Bird LLP and the general counsel of Tervita Corp.

  • Why Law Firms Collapse

    John D. Morley

    The leaders of the collapsed law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf are on trial and each new day of testimony delivers more damning evidence about how they built a massive financial fraud. The real cause of Dewey’s collapse, however, was not financial fraud. The more serious problem was that Dewey — like all American law firms — had deep cracks in its organizational structure, says John Morley, associate professor of law at Yale Law School.

  • EPA Fracking Report Tells Us What Experts Knew All Along

    Jeffrey D. Kuhn

    Notably absent from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's hydraulic fracturing report is a list of potential mechanisms that can cause groundwater contamination from the fracking process itself, thus corroborating the consensus among academics, engineers and state regulators that fugitive gas or fluid migration from fracking cannot result in contamination, say Robert Alessi and Jeffrey Kuhn of DLA Piper LLP.

  • The Latest In A Long Line Of Calif. Water Restrictions

    Rana Nader

    California is in year four of the most severe drought crisis in the state’s history. In response, the California Water Resources Control Board has created Emergency Conservation Regulations which specifically target the hospitality industry, and carry fines of up to $500 a day, says Rana Nader at Michelman & Robinson LLP.

  • Lumber Liquidators Case Highlights Lacey Act Risk

    Thomas Allen

    Unlike past high-profile Lacey Act investigations that focused on exotic and potentially threatened species, the focus for Lumber Liquidators Inc. has been on common hardwoods used in everyday flooring materials. Accordingly, the belief that a company may be insulated from Lacey Act issues because they only deal with abundant wood species appears unfounded, say attorneys with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

  • Back To The Future With HazCom 2012, Circa 2015

    Lisa W. Stone

    Despite being 2015, many companies are just now grappling with the 2012 amendments to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's hazard communication standard, which recently went into effect. OSHA's standard is far-reaching and many companies have discovered it can be difficult to meet and even require information from third parties that may not be forthcoming, says Lisa Stone of VLP Law Group LLP.

  • Texas Legislature Re-Reforms Contested Case Permit Process

    Eric Groten

    Almost every biennium, Texas lawmakers readjust the balance between project developers and those who would use the state’s environmental permitting process to oppose them. All can agree that, as a result of patchwork repairs over decades, the laws governing that process have Rube Goldberg qualities that satisfy no one, say Eric Groten and Taylor Holcomb of Vinson & Elkins LLP.