Environmental

  • January 22, 2015

    Ex-Contractor For NJ Watershed Agency Cops To Bribery

    A former contractor for the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corp. admitted in federal court Thursday to conspiring with a former NWCDC employee in a bribery and kickback scheme that defrauded the agency of hundreds of thousands of dollars, also pleading guilty to a tax charge. 

  • January 22, 2015

    ‘Whale Wars’ Host Can’t Sink Ship Owner’s $3M Libel Suit

    A California federal judge on Thursday rebuffed a bid by the host of reality series “Whale Wars” to jettison a $3 million defamation suit over his claim that the owner of a ship that sank on the show is an animal killer.

  • January 22, 2015

    NJ High Court Boosts Towns In Enviro Zoning Fights

    A New Jersey Supreme Court decision on Thursday that backed a municipality's ability to designate property as environmentally sensitive to restrict higher-density development could empower more towns to make such zoning changes and make it tougher for landowners to fight them, attorneys said.

  • January 22, 2015

    Industry Groups Fire Back At EPA Over Small Boiler Rules

    A coalition of industry groups on Wednesday countered the Environmental Protection Agency’s defense of new rules limiting toxic emissions from small-sized boilers, telling the D.C. Circuit that two key elements of the regulations lack a basis in the Clean Air Act and should be thrown out.

  • January 22, 2015

    Feds Highlight Economic Harm To Gulf In BP Penalty Trial

    The federal government on Thursday hammered away at BP Exploration and Production Inc. for the economic harm caused by the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and tried to establish that parent company BP PLC should be on the hook for any penalty.

  • January 22, 2015

    Insurers Say Chemtura Can't Tap Predecessors' Policies

    A London market insurance company group sued Chemtura Corp., its affiliates and insurers in New York state court Thursday, disclaiming responsibility for environmental remediation costs and food industry employee suits relating to dangerous chemical exposure.

  • January 22, 2015

    Ex-Im Bank Escapes Enviro Suit Over $90M Export Guarantee

    A Washington, D.C., federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a challenge to a $90 million guarantee issued by the Export-Import Bank of the United States for an Xcoal Energy & Resources LLC coal export loan, ruling the environmental groups challenging the guarantee lacked standing for their suit.

  • January 22, 2015

    DOE Unveils $56M In Electric Car Development Loans

    U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz announced Thursday that the U.S. Department of Energy has opened up $56 million in loans to develop fuel- and cost-efficient technologies in cars and trucks, saying the program will help propel the “electrification” of the American automobile landscape.

  • January 22, 2015

    Corps Can't Stop PortMiami Dredging Suit, Enviros Say

    Several environmental organizations Wednesday slammed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ bid to toss a lawsuit critical of the dredging of PortMiami, insisting a 2012 settlement amending the project permit to protect staghorn coral doesn’t preclude further legal action against the Corps.

  • January 22, 2015

    5 Ways Technology Is Driving Real Estate Development

    Changing online shopping preferences, heightened attention to energy conservation and a proliferation of smartphone uses are affecting where new real estate projects are happening and how they are being designed, as developers react to marked changes in technology and consumer behavior. Here, Law360 looks at five ways technology is impacting real estate development.

  • January 22, 2015

    Hess Drains Well Pollution Suit After Excluding Expert

    Hess Corp. is off the hook for allegations that it polluted a competitor's well in the Eagle Ford Shale, causing $1.7 million in damages, after a Texas federal judge ruled Wednesday that expert testimony provided by the competitors was not persuasive.

  • January 22, 2015

    Wolf's DEP Pick Heralds Uptick In Pa. Drilling Enforcement

    With a new sheriff in town to head Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection under the state’s newly inaugurated Democratic governor, experts say the natural gas industry should brace for scrutiny as priorities shift toward increased enforcement and greater environmental stewardship.

  • January 22, 2015

    Weil Reps Centerbridge In $1.2B Deal For Wind Turbine Co.

    Private equity group Centerbridge Partners LP said Thursday it would acquire German wind turbine manufacturing company Senvion SE for €1 billion ($1.15 million) in an all-cash deal guided by Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP.

  • January 22, 2015

    River Shipper Liable For $23M Oil Spill Cleanup, Judge Says

    A Louisiana federal judge on Wednesday found American Commercial Lines LLC liable to the U.S. government for $23.1 million of cleanup costs from a 2008 oil barge collision that spilled nearly 300,000 gallons of oil into the Mississippi River.

  • January 22, 2015

    Pa. Oil And Gas Royalty Bills Clear Senate Committee

    A Pennsylvania state legislative committee gave approval on Wednesday to a pair of bills aimed at increasing protections for landowners locked in lease deals with oil and gas drillers.

  • January 21, 2015

    Miami-Dade Officials Accelerate Response To Sea Level Rise

    Miami-Dade County commissioners on Wednesday approved a package of resolutions instructing County Mayor Carlos Gimenez to accelerate the area's response to sea level rise, tasking him to work with other local, state and federal agencies as well as the insurance industry to generate reports on the threat.

  • January 21, 2015

    Gasco, US Say Enviros Unharmed By Drilling Project

    Gasco Energy Inc. and the Bureau of Land Management on Tuesday urged a Utah federal court to dismiss a suit brought by several environmental groups over the BLM's approval of 1,300 Gasco natural gas wells, saying the groups haven’t alleged harm to their members.

  • January 21, 2015

    US Urges High Court Not To Review Oil Lease Dispute

    The federal government urged the U.S. Supreme Court not to take up a case challenging the U.S. Department of the Interior's guidance amending oil spill response requirements for offshore drilling leases, arguing the guidance was validly issued pursuant to existing regulations at the time of the lease was executed. 

  • January 21, 2015

    BP Downplays Deepwater Spill's Effects, Say Gov't Witnesses

    Federal government witnesses testifying Wednesday on the Deepwater Horizon disaster's ecological and toxicological impacts said the event definitely harmed wildlife and criticized BP Exploration & Production Inc.’s science experts for downplaying the effects, in a trial to determine how much BP will pay for the spill.

  • January 21, 2015

    SunEdison Nabs $106M Funding For UK Solar Farms

    Solar technology company SunEdison Inc. scored $106 million in project financing to build five large-scale solar farms in the United Kingdom, the company said Wednesday.

Expert Analysis

  • Notice Period Doesn't Cause 9th Circ. To Pause On ESA

    Benjamin Rubin

    The Ninth Circuit's decision in Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. U.S. Department of Agriculture permitting plaintiffs to amend a complaint to add claims under the Endangered Species Act after sending a notice of intent to sue and waiting the requisite 60 days represents a significant shift in the law — federal courts have prohibited such amendments in the past, say attorneys at Nossaman LLP.

  • What Lawyer-Novelists Learned From Being Lawyers

    Michael H. Rubin

    The consensus that emerged from my discussions with several lawyers who have become best-selling novelists is that the traits it takes to be a great lawyer are invaluable in crafting first-rate mysteries and thrillers. Both thriller authors and lawyers possess a concentrated attention to detail that allows them to create a logical framework for their story, brief or courtroom presentation, says Michael Rubin of McGlinchey Stafford PLLC.

  • Ralls May Give Foreign Investors More Leverage With CFIUS

    Stewart Baker

    The D.C. Circuit's opinion in Ralls Corp. v. Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. triggered a lot of commentary, much of which has focused on the constitutional due process headline regarding the presidential order. But another holding may be of more import — that Ralls can attack the validity of two orders issued by CFIUS prior to the presidential order, say Stewart Baker and Stephen Heifetz of Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

  • 2014 Fracking Year In Review: California Edition

    Jeffrey Dintzer

    2014 was another active year concerning hydraulic fracturing in California, with local lawmakers seeking to ban fracking and other well-stimulation techniques conducted by oil and gas operators and environmental groups challenging state regulatory agencies over such practices, say attorneys at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

  • Do Fracking Bans Trigger Civil Authority Coverage?

    Micah Skidmore

    Civil authority coverage may be available in the context of municipal hydraulic fracturing bans, such as those recently passed in Texas and California, as the issue is judicially untested — depending on the specific terms of the policy and given the stated purpose of the ballot measure a fracking ban may trigger coverage in the commercial property policies of affected lessees, says Micah Skidmore of Haynes and Boone LLP.

  • After 101 Years, A Calif. 'Water War' May Be Over

    Edward Casey

    While it is not unusual for cases involving water rights to last far longer than other types of civil litigation, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District's historic agreement will hopefully end an intractable conflict over the environmental consequences from the LADWP’s diversion of water from the Owens River in the Eastern Sierras, says Edward Casey of Alston & Bird LLP.

  • A Tale Of 2 Circ. Court Whistleblower Cases

    Alexis H. Ronickher

    While Halliburton Co. v. Administrative Review Board continues the clear trend of compensatory damages being available in Sarbanes-Oxley Act and False Claims Act cases, Vander Boegh v. EnergySolutions Inc. stands in sharp contrast and limits the legal protections to whistleblowers who suffer retaliation when applying for jobs, say Alexis Ronickher and Debra Katz of Katz Marshall & Banks LLP.

  • Los Angeles Should Block Its Own Ban On Fracking

    Jeffrey D. Dintzer

    Whether the Los Angeles City Council acknowledges its action or not, its motion back in February on well-stimulation activity amounts to a de facto ban on any well-stimulation or injection operations, which among other things will rob businesses and royalty owners of revenue and adversely impact property tax assessments, say Jeffrey Dintzer and Nathaniel Johnson of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

  • California Supreme Court Divided In Key CEQA Case

    Arthur F. Coon

    The California Supreme Court presided over a spirited oral argument session in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley — a California Environmental Quality Act case with far-reaching consequences for regulators, project developers and courts — and it appears that the high court justices are divided on details of the appropriate legal standards of review for exceptions to the CEQA’s categorical exemptions, says Arthur Coo... (continued)

  • Looking At Supplementary Compensation For Nuclear Damage

    Stephen L. Markus

    The impending entry into force of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage will mark a significant milestone in international efforts to promote a global nuclear liability and compensation regime, say James Glasgow and Stephen Markus of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.