Environmental

  • October 16, 2014

    5th Circ. Declines To Hear $50M Sinkhole Coverage Battle

    The Fifth Circuit on Thursday dismissed Texas Brine Co. LLC’s appeal seeking a stay in a $50 million coverage battle over claims arising from a class action that accused the salt producer and an oil and gas company of causing a sinkhole, ruling the court does not have jurisdiction to hear the challenge.

  • October 16, 2014

    Kirkland Snags Lead BP Deepwater Litigation Trial Counsel

    Kirkland & Ellis LLP has added two trial lawyers with experience in product liability, life sciences and competition matters — including the lead trial counsel for BP PLC in the Deepwater Horizon litigation — as partners in its Washington, D.C., office, the firm announced Thursday.

  • October 16, 2014

    NY High Court Denies Rehearing On Local Fracking Ban

    New York’s highest court on Thursday denied a request to rehear its June decision upholding local bans on shale gas drilling, ensuring that for now, state oil and gas mining law does not trump town zoning laws enacted to prohibit fracking.

  • October 16, 2014

    Yahoo Strikes Deal To Buy Wind Energy From Kansas Farm

    Yahoo Inc. bolstered its investment in renewable energy Thursday, signing a 15-year agreement to purchase power from wind-farm developer OwnEnergy that will supply the technology giant with power to offset much of its energy usage in the Great Plains.

  • October 16, 2014

    IFC Scores Jordan $208M For Huge Private-Led Solar Venture

    The International Finance Corp. and a consortium of banks and funds on Wednesday put together a $207.5 million debt package to finance seven new photovoltaic plants in Jordan, the largest private-led solar enterprise in the Middle East and North Africa to date.

  • October 16, 2014

    Enviros Challenge FERC's Cove Point LNG Approval

    Environmentalists on Wednesday asked the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to withdraw its approval of a $3.8 billion liquefied natural gas export facility in Maryland, arguing the project will contribute to global warming, harm the Chesapeake Bay and endanger certain whales.

  • October 16, 2014

    Pa.'s Stricter Gas Driller Reporting Bill Heads To Gov.

    The Pennsylvania General Assembly approved a bill Wednesday that would require drillers operating in the state’s Marcellus Shale play to file more regular reports with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection on the amount of natural gas being produced by its wells, sending the legislation on to the governor.

  • October 16, 2014

    Alterra Power, Fiera Score $157M For BC Hydro Project

    Alterra Power Corp. and Fiera Axium Infrastructure Inc. have received CA$176.5 million ($157 million) in financing for a British Columbia hydroelectric project from a group of life insurance lenders led by Manulife Financial Corp. subsidiary Manufacturers Life Insurance Co., Alterra and Fiera said Thursday.

  • October 16, 2014

    Gibson Dunn Thwarts Con Ed DQ Attempt In Pollution Case

    A New York federal judge on Thursday refused to remove Gibson Dunn lawyers Randy M. Mastro and Jennifer H. Rearden as litigation counsel for property owners seeking environmental cleanup costs from Consolidated Edison Co. of New York Inc. because of their firm's work with the utility's board.

  • October 16, 2014

    EPA Defends Power Plant Mercury Rule To Supreme Court

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday urged the U.S. Supreme Court not to take up a review of its rule limiting mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants, arguing it adequately considered the costs associated with the regulation.

  • October 16, 2014

    Pa. Senate OKs Bill For Legislative Approval Of CO2 Plan

    Pennsylvania’s state Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would require the General Assembly to approve the state’s plan to regulate carbon dioxide emissions before it is submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, leaving the measure in the hands of Gov. Tom Corbett.

  • October 16, 2014

    NM, Neb. Join Endangered Species Classification Brawl

    The states of Nebraska and New Mexico on Wednesday filed intervening complaints in Oklahoma federal court in an oil and gas group’s suit accusing the feds of using “sue-and-settle” tactics to secretly change endangered species regulations, saying the settlements are overly burdensome to the states.

  • October 15, 2014

    Court Recused Over 'Corrupt' Sierra Wildfire Prosecution

    A California federal judge on Wednesday recused himself and all other judges from his district from Sierra Pacific Industries Inc.’s attempt to rewind a $122.5 million wildfire settlement after Sierra accused prosecutors of having perpetrated a fraud on the court by engaging in a “corrupt and tainted prosecution.”

  • October 15, 2014

    NJ Bill Would Fund Roadwork With Alt-Fuel Vehicle Tax

    A New Jersey assemblyman on Tuesday announced plans to introduce legislation that would divert tax revenues from the sale of alternative-fuel vehicles to the state's Transportation Trust Fund, a bill aimed at replenishing the depleted funds.

  • October 15, 2014

    EPA Agrees To Calif., Alaska Soot Pollution Plan Deadlines

    A California federal court on Tuesday approved a settlement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and an environmental group establishing deadlines for determining whether plans to limit pollution from soot in Alaska and California meet federal standards.

  • October 15, 2014

    Calif. High Court Won't Hear High-Speed Rail Dispute

    The California Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to hear an appeal challenging the funding plans for the state’s $68.4 billion high-speed rail project, lifting a hitch in the rail’s development over its planned bond financing.

  • October 15, 2014

    Deepwater Plaintiffs Pan BP Bid To DQ Claims Administrator

    Class counsel in the Deepwater Horizon litigation on Wednesday responded to BP PLC’s bid to oust the claims administrator overseeing settlement payments, saying the company knew of his work for the state of Louisiana — which BP characterized as a conflict of interest — before he was chosen.

  • October 15, 2014

    Chemical, Oil Groups Want Say In CERCLA Finance Suit

    Chemical and petroleum industry groups on Monday asked the D.C. Circuit to stop environmentalists’ effort to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to issue rules to ensure that industries that handle hazardous substances will have the financial means to clean up any inadvertent releases.

  • October 15, 2014

    Colo. Town, Oil Industry Group End Fight Over Drilling Regs

    The Colorado Oil & Gas Association said Tuesday that it’s dropped a challenge of a city’s drilling regulations that it claims are preempted by state law, though the legal fight between the industry group and the town over its hydraulic fracturing ban remains a live issue.

  • October 15, 2014

    EPA Clears Controversial Dow Herbicide For GMO Crops

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday approved a Dow Chemical Co. unit’s controversial herbicide for use with genetically modified corn and soybean plants, prompting an immediate appeal from a conservation group alleging the weed killer threatens both human health and monarch butterfly populations.

Expert Analysis

  • Bermuda Form: Retroactive Integrated Occurrences

    James R. Murray

    Two potential risks in retroactively declaring an integrated occurrence and moving a claim to a subsequent year is that other unknown claims may fall in the same policy year and that the policy year of the integrated occurrence contains exclusions subject to continuity dates, say attorneys at Dickstein Shapiro LLP.

  • Initial Impressions From Deepwater Horizon Ruling

    B.D. Daniel

    At first blush, Halliburton Co.'s recent $1.1 billion settlement looks like a complete victory for the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee as the ruling shifts any remaining actual damage liability from Halliburton to BP Exploration and Production Inc., thus relieving Halliburton of any liability for punitive damages — it is hard to see where it now has any further exposure, says B.D. Daniel of Beck Redden LLP.

  • Greater Guidance Comes To Calif. For Land Appraisals

    Bradford B. Kuhn

    San Diego Gas & Electric Company v. Schmidt provides considerable guidance for California parties involved in the valuation of land containing natural resources — appraisers can avoid relying on comparable sales and instead focus on an income approach to value, say Bradford Kuhn and Alex Suarez of Nossaman LLP.

  • Texas High Court Sets High Bar For Evidentiary Standards

    B.D. Daniel

    The Supreme Court of Texas' ruling in Houston Unlimited Inc. Metal Processing v. Mel Acres Ranch appears to erect heightened standards for establishing the reliability of evidentiary bases and evidentiary assumptions underlying damage opinions in environmental contamination cases, says B.D. Daniel of Beck Redden LLP.

  • Conducting A Braintrust Review Of The Complex Case

    David H. Dolkas

    The job of the Pixar "Braintrust" is to provide feedback on a film in production to assist the director in taking the film from "suck to not-suck." Let’s be honest. The same basic truth applies to complex cases. Early on, most briefs and opening or closing arguments are not good, say Dave Dolkas of McDermott Will & Emery LLP and Larry Collins of CaseSight Inc.

  • Navigating The 'Twilight' Of 2 CERCLA Sections

    Janet L. McQuaid

    In light of Hobart Corporation v. Waste Management of Ohio Inc., it may be important in some situations for potentially responsible parties pursuing or defending cost recovery to review any action-forcing document in order to determine if it is sufficient to state a cause of action under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, say Janet McQuaid and Joshua Snyder of Norton Rose Fulbright.

  • Tax Clarification Should Clear The Way For Renewables

    Arnold E. Grant

    A recent notice from the Internal Revenue Service on production and investment tax credits provides welcome clarity that can only encourage tax equity investors who have been on the sidelines due to prior uncertainty over renewable energy projects, say attorneys at Reed Smith LLP.

  • Calif. Anti-Fracking Ordinances On Shaky Legal Ground

    Jeffrey D. Dintzer

    Compton’s hydraulic fracturing ban may implicate the Takings Clause of the U.S. and California Constitutions since fracking is meant to access energy resources that cannot otherwise be extracted from the underlying property — the ban could constitute a taking of private property without just compensation, say Jeffrey Dintzer and Nathaniel Johnson of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

  • 5 Reasons Large Companies Are Turning To Boutique Firms

    David M. Levine

    The departure of attorneys from large firms is a trend that has increased as a result of the Great Recession and its aftermath, and boutique firm partners who previously worked at large firms understand the potential large-firm pitfalls, say attorneys with Levine Kellogg Lehman Schneider & Grossman LLP.

  • Tracking Fracking: Where Is Ill. 1 Year Later?

    Lawrence W. Falbe

    While final hydraulic fracturing regulations in Illinois can reasonably expect approval by mid-October, the rules may be challenged on the basis that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources did not properly consider all public comments and revise them accordingly, say Lawrence Falbe and Sanford Stein of Quarles & Brady LLP.