• November 19, 2015

    Black Elk, Contractors Indicted For Roles In 2012 Oil Blast

    Black Elk Energy and contractor Grand Isle Shipyard were hit with manslaughter charges for allegedly failing to follow safety protocols leading up to a 2012 oil production platform explosion, which killed three workers and spilled oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday.

  • November 19, 2015

    Florida Commission OKs Plan To Take Water From Rivers

    A Florida commission has dismissed a challenge brought by an environmental organization against a water-supply plan involving withdrawals from the St. Johns and Ocklawaha rivers, ruling that the plan was in line with statutory requirements.

  • November 19, 2015

    Sierra Club Tells EPA US Sugar's Fla. Fields Ducking Law

    The Sierra Club on Thursday petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to revoke an operating permit for a United States Sugar Corp. facility in Florida, alleging the company is ducking Clean Air Act regulation and burning thousands of acres of sugar cane in its fields.

  • November 19, 2015

    NJ Appeals Court Says Local Landfill Rules Trump State Law

    A New Jersey landfill operator accused of allowing a noxious gas to settle over Roxbury Township is still on the hook for a $52,000 fine after the New Jersey Appellate Division rejected its argument that the town’s odor rules were preempted by state environmental law.

  • November 19, 2015

    Pa. Justices Will Weigh Enviro Challenges To Gas Leasing

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to wade into a dispute over the leasing of public forestland for natural gas drilling as it weighs how judges should approach government decisions challenged under the so-called Environmental Rights Amendment of the state's constitution.

  • November 19, 2015

    Wash. Urges 9th Circ. To Overturn Water Pollution Order

    The Washington state Department of Ecology on Wednesday asked the Ninth Circuit to reverse a district judge’s finding that it abused its discretion in approving a task force to study pollution in the Spokane River rather than setting concrete water quality standards.

  • November 19, 2015

    Engineered Salmon Is 1st Animal To Win FDA Food Approval

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved the first genetically engineered animal meant to be consumed as food by greenlighting AquaBounty Technologies' AquAdvantage salmon, amid criticism by consumer groups that the agency did not sufficiently consider its potential environmental impact. 

  • November 19, 2015

    FERC Greenlights $81M Ky. Natural Gas Pipeline

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday granted preliminary approval to Texas Gas Transmission LLC’s $81 million plan to build a 22.5-mile natural gas pipeline across Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, saying that the project would have no significant environmental impact despite its potential harm to two endangered native bat species.

  • November 19, 2015

    FERC Nixes Challenge To Formula Used For Power Auctions

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday shot down a bid to force grid operator PJM Interconnection LLC to lower its peak electric load projections used for its power capacity auctions, a move states including Pennsylvania and New Jersey said would have saved customers $600 million.

  • November 19, 2015

    Enviros Ask 11th Circ. To Look Again At Corps Coal Permits

    Environmental groups urged the Eleventh Circuit on Wednesday to revive a dispute appearing before the court for a second time over a controversial U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit authorizing the dumping of material from surface coal mining into streams and wetlands.

  • November 19, 2015

    ATP To Pay $41M To Settle Gulf Of Mexico Pollution Claims

    Bankrupt energy player ATP Oil & Gas Corp. on Thursday agreed to a $41 million settlement that will end the federal government’s lawsuit against the company over its alleged unauthorized discharges of oil and chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico.

  • November 19, 2015

    Blankenship Jury Must Break Impasse In Conspiracy Trial

    The judge overseeing former West Virginia coal baron Don Blankenship's trial over safety at a mine where 29 workers died in an explosion ordered jurors on Thursday to continue mulling the criminal charges against Blankenship, after the jury told her they couldn't unite on a verdict after fewer than two days of deliberations.

  • November 19, 2015

    Sierra Club Lawyer Vows Multifront War On Climate Change

    The Sierra Club is ramping up its efforts to fight climate change by seeking to curb the use of all fossil fuels and taking on opponents in policy and legal battles at local, state and federal levels, the environmental group's top lawyer told Law360 in an exclusive interview.

  • November 18, 2015

    Blankenship Jury Asks Judge For Office Phone Recordings

    Jurors deliberating in the trial of former coal magnate Don Blankenship will hear his corner-office audio recordings on Thursday morning, a federal judge has ruled, as they try to decide whether he’s guilty of driving safety violations at a Massey Energy Co. mine where an explosion killed 29 people in 2010.

  • November 18, 2015

    House Dems Urge DOJ To Prevent BP Spill Tax Deduction

    House Democrats on Wednesday urged Attorney General Loretta Lynch to prevent BP from claiming a major portion of its $20 billion Deepwater Horizon disaster settlement as a business expense, expressing concern that the oil giant could secure a sizable tax windfall.

  • November 18, 2015

    VW Wants Emissions Fraud Suits In Texas Consolidated

    Volkswagen on Tuesday urged Texas’ state court overseeing multidistrict litigation to consolidate dozens of fraud suits that drivers filed in the Lone Star State after the automaker admitted that its supposedly environmentally friendly cars were designed to cheat emissions standards.

  • November 18, 2015

    Relator Blasts PNC's Sanctions Bid In Bailout FCA Suit

    A would-be whistleblower told a Michigan federal judge Tuesday he's done nothing to warrant sanctions sought by PNC Financial Services Group Inc. for what it says is his frivolous False Claims Act suit alleging the bank didn't disclose environmental contamination liability when applying for federal bailout funds.

  • November 18, 2015

    Ex-PTAB Chief Judge Joins Ecolab As Top IP Counsel

    A former chief judge of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board who recently stepped down after leading the board through the implementation of the America Invents Act has been named the new chief intellectual property counsel at Ecolab, a Fortune 500 environmental services and sustainability company.

  • November 18, 2015

    Pilgrim Seeks NY Approval For $1B Bakken Oil Pipeline

    Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings LLC has formally asked New York state to approve a proposed $1 billion pipeline that would ship crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken Shale and refined petroleum products through New York and New Jersey, a project that environmentalists and New Jersey lawmakers have vowed to fight.

  • November 18, 2015

    Bill Would Extend Green Energy Tax Breaks, End Oil Benefits

    A bill introduced Tuesday by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., would extend several expired tax credits for alternative energy, such as the production tax credit, and would repeal tax incentives for oil and gas production, such as the expensing of intangible drilling costs.

Expert Analysis

  • 2nd Circ. Case Highlights Complexities Of Ballast Water Regs

    Jonathan Benner

    A possible bright spot in the Second Circuit’s recent decision critiquing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ballast water standards is its attention to shoreside treatment facilities, says Jonathan Benner, a partner at Thompson Coburn LLP and former general counsel of the Federal Maritime Commission.

  • Unfair Trade Practice? Prove It Under Section 337

    Beau Jackson

    Although Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 is best known as an intellectual property enforcement mechanism, the statute exists to protect U.S. industries and the American public from a range of unfair acts. Labor unions and public interest groups that fear the Trans-Pacific Partnership's potentially negative effects may want to consider it, say Beau Jackson of Adduci Mastriani & Schaumberg LLP and Michael Buckler of Village X Inc.

  • 4 Reasons To Use Electronic Deposition Exhibits

    Sadaf R. Abdullah

    When a court-reporting agency introduced me to a vendor offering electronic service for deposition exhibits, I was skeptical — the possibilities of technical interruptions, confidentiality breaches and general confusion ran through my mind. However, after learning about the software and receiving training, I realized that it had the potential to save loads of litigants’ resources, says Sadaf Abdullah of Skiermont Puckett LLP.

  • Removing Threat Of Retroactive Liability In Enviro Cases

    Thomas A. Manakides

    In order to prevent a jury verdict based on impermissible theories of retroactive liability in environmental tort cases, a trial court must exercise its gatekeeping function to exclude any evidence — expert or otherwise — that would impose an unconstitutional, hindsight-based standard of care on a defendant in a negligence action, say Thomas Manakides and Joseph Edmonds of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

  • Thoughts On Calif. Drought And Its Impact On Energy

    David L. Huard

    One would hope that California's initial efforts at combating the state's four-year drought reflect a permanent shift in managing increasingly scarce water resources and an understanding of the drought's implications for the energy sector. But we must realistically assume that the impact of state policies to combat the drought will, even if productive, lag this year or even throughout the next, say David Huard and Lilly McKenna of ... (continued)

  • OPINION: The Bitter Pill Of Competition Within Large Law

    Bernays T. (Buz) Barclay

    Damaging competition among partners and other lawyers within law firms is rarely spoken of, let alone written about. It is unseemly — "anti-partnerly." But it does exist. The kind of internal competition we are talking about is not strategic. It is personal and competitive, and inherently unfair, and it undermines teamwork as well as trust in the firm’s compensation system, say Bernays Barclay and Michael Moradzadeh of Rimon PC.

  • In Congress: Highway Funding, Debt Ceiling, Clinton

    Richard Hertling

    Congress returns to Capitol Hill after a week off, with the House of Representatives still wondering who the next Speaker of the House will be and with several major deadlines on the horizon. But the high-profile event of the week will be former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential front-runner Hilary Clinton’s testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, say Richard Hertling and Kaitlyn McClure of Covington & Burling LLP.

  • Summer Decisions Shape ESA-FIFRA Battlefield: Part 2

    David B. Weinberg

    A second risk the agricultural community faced this summer stemmed from new Endangered Species Act challenges to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's previous registration actions under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act and ongoing use of products, many of which were first registered several years ago, say Steven Richardson and David Weinberg of Wiley Rein LLP.

  • Metadata 101 For Lawyers: A 2-Minute Primer

    Christian Dodd

    Metadata is a word that evokes a visceral reaction among many lawyers. Indeed, a discussion of the various types and locations of “data” alone — along with its sheer volume — can be daunting at times. But lawyers do not have to be technologically savvy to acquire a basic understanding of metadata and the best practices that come with it, says Christian Dodd of Hickey Smith LLP.

  • Untangling 'Waters Of The US' Web In 6th Circ.

    Kimberly L. Bick

    While resolution of the dispute over the "waters of the United States" rule is likely to be long, beginning with the jurisdictional question of whether the challenge should be heard by a court of appeals or district court, it is likely that the Sixth Circuit will rule that WOTUS is inconsistent with the law of the land, as defined by the U.S. Supreme Court in Rapanos v. United States, says Kimberly Bick of Bick Law Group.