Environmental

  • March 19, 2015

    Solar Industry Players Target China, Taiwan Panel Duties

    A trio of solar power industry participants on Thursday hit the U.S. with separate suits targeting anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission on solar panels from China and Taiwan.

  • March 19, 2015

    Developer, Tribe, City Reach Deal For $650M Casino Resort

    New Bedford, Massachusetts, on Thursday announced a deal with developer KG Urban Enterprises LLC and Foxwoods Resorts for a $650 million waterfront casino that would include a $50 million environmental cleanup.

  • March 19, 2015

    Competitors Stole 'Holy Grail' Of Biofuel Tech, Andritz Says

    A group of Italy-based biofuel companies misled plant engineering group Andritz Inc. and stole a proprietary system for converting biomass into a “holy grail” of biofuel, Andritz alleged in a federal lawsuit.

  • March 19, 2015

    Ohio Wind Farm Defeats Suit Over Endangered Bats

    A D.C. federal judge on Wednesday dismissed with prejudice a suit brought by a group opposing an Ohio wind farm, saying the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service properly issued the developers an incidental take permit for an endangered bat species.

  • March 19, 2015

    6th Circ. Scraps EPA's Clean Air Status For Cincinnati Area

    The Sixth Circuit on Wednesday shot down a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ruling that parts of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky met Clean Air Act standards, finding that two of the states hadn’t done enough to reduce particulate levels.

  • March 19, 2015

    NJ Lawmakers Scrutinize $225M Exxon Deal

    A New Jersey Assembly committee reacting to the state's $225 million settlement with Exxon Mobil Corp. cleared new notice and budget requirements for such deals on Thursday as its chairman argued that the payout doesn't gel with nearly $9 billion in natural resource damages that the state had sought.

  • March 19, 2015

    CORRECTED: EPA Can Approve Pollution Fee Alternative, 9th Circ. Says

    The Ninth Circuit ruled Wednesday that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to allow a Los Angeles area air quality district to change how it collects pollution fees because the change does not relax pollution control standards established under the federal Clean Air Act. Correction: An earlier headline and version of this story conflated the facts of this case with an unrelated case. The error has been corrected.

  • March 19, 2015

    Oil, Gas Groups Sue EPA Over Renewable Fuel Standard Delay

    Oil and gas industry groups on Wednesday sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to force the establishment of renewable fuel volume standards for 2014 and 2015, saying the EPA’s delay is hurting their members’ bottom lines.

  • March 19, 2015

    Akron Cannot Modify $1.4B Deal Over CWA Violations

    An Ohio federal judge on Wednesday denied the city of Akron’s bid to modify a 2009 decree ordering the city to undertake a now-estimated $1.4 billion project to improve its sewer system over Clean Water Act violations.

  • March 19, 2015

    Obama Orders Gov't To Use More Clean Energy And Cut GHGs

    President Barack Obama on Thursday signed an executive order directing the federal government to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 2008 levels over the next decade and draw 30 percent of the electricity it uses from renewable sources.

  • March 19, 2015

    JinkoSolar Plans $100M Factory In Malaysia

    Chinese solar manufacturer JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd. said Thursday that it will build a $100 million solar cell and module manufacturing facility in Malaysia, the company’s sixth plant and first overseas solar cell plant.

  • March 18, 2015

    Oracle Follows Texas City In Exide Bankruptcy Objections

    Oracle Corp. and the city of Frisco, Texas, have added their names to the list of entities objecting to aspects of Exide Technologies Inc.'s Chapter 11 plan stemming from the battery manufacturing giant's 2013 bankruptcy.

  • March 18, 2015

    Exide Expects To Face Challenges To Ch. 11 Plan

    Exide Technologies Inc. told a Delaware bankruptcy judge Wednesday that it expects to present a “largely consensual” Chapter 11 plan next week, but is prepared to fend off challenges from retail noteholders and a group of environmental tort claims connected to its Vernon, California, plant.

  • March 18, 2015

    NextEra Unit Sues Feds For $6M Over Unpaid Stimulus Work

    A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources LLC on Tuesday sued the U.S. Treasury Department in federal claims court, claiming it owes the company nearly $6 million in tax credits for a Southern California solar plant it built as part of the 2009 economic stimulus package.

  • March 18, 2015

    American Indians Fail In Bid To Block Mining Land Sale

    A Michigan federal judge on Tuesday denied a bid by a proposed class of American Indians to block the potential sale of public lands for mining in the state's Upper Peninsula, ruling the plaintiffs failed to give proper notice to the state government.

  • March 18, 2015

    Wis. High Court Puts Chartis On Hook In Gas Explosion Case

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday put Chartis Specialty Insurance Co. back on the hook for defense costs and indemnity fees incurred by a construction company in four lawsuits over injuries and property damage caused by a gas explosion, finding that the claims stemmed from a gas leak that was covered under its policy.

  • March 18, 2015

    2 Ex-Freedom Workers Plead Guilty Over W.Va. Chemical Spill

    Two former Freedom Industries Inc. employees pled guilty in West Virginia federal court Wednesday to pollution charges stemming from a massive January 2014 chemical spill that temporarily left 300,000 people without usable water.

  • March 18, 2015

    Minn. Tells 8th Circ. To Revive Power Plant Emissions Law

    Minnesota’s attorney general on Tuesday urged the Eighth Circuit to reinstate an emissions law that neighboring North Dakota and business groups claim illegally bars the use of electricity from new coal-fired power plants, arguing that the statute’s opponents can’t prove they have been injured.

  • March 18, 2015

    NJ Supreme Court Snubs DEP's Bid To Seize Landfill

    The New Jersey Supreme Court has declined to take up an appeal by state environmental regulators seeking authority to seize control of a landfill that has been deemed an air pollution hazard, handing another legal victory to landfill owner Strategic Environmental Partners LLC.

  • March 18, 2015

    EPA Chem Safety Head Coy On TSCA Reform Bill

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s chemical safety division leader on Wednesday told a Senate committee that President Barack Obama’s administration has no position on a proposed effort to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act, but said the bill meets many of the administration’s priorities.

Expert Analysis

  • LNG Facilities Outside NYC? Not So Fast

    Ruth E. Leistensnider

    While the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's new rules create a regulatory framework for new liquefied natural gas facilities outside New York City, applicants should be aware of long time frames given the State Environmental Quality Review Act process and possibility of public opposition to such facilities after the state's ban on hydraulic fracturing, say Ruth Leistensnider and Peter Trimarchi of Nixon Peabody LLP.

  • Proposed Rail Rule Seems On Track To Cover Safety Issues

    Sara E. Peters

    Recent high-profile derailments of crude-carrying trains have prompted the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to address safety concerns by revisiting technical standards for rail tank cars used to transport flammable liquids on high-hazard flammable trains and requirements for shippers to properly test and classify crude oil prior to transportation, says Sara Peters of King & Spalding LLP.

  • High Court Ensures Split Over Gatekeeping Role Persists

    Christopher D. Barraza

    The U.S. Supreme Court's recent denial of certiorari in SQM North America Corp. v. City of Pomona missed a prime opportunity to resolve a circuit split over the gatekeeping role trial courts play. As a result, there will continue to be no uniform rule to follow when evaluating faults in an expert’s methodology and factual assumptions at the Daubert stage, says Christopher Barraza of Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP.

  • The Case For Professionalizing Pro Bono Services

    David A. Lash

    A recent survey shows that lawyers at firms with a pro bono coordinator recorded approximately 50 percent more pro bono hours than did firms without. This "professionalization" of the practice has enabled the legal community to better meet pro bono demand — as it did, for example, when Vice President Joe Biden spoke urgently about the need to address the influx of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, say members of APBCo.

  • Yieldcos Show Promise For Renewable Energy

    Andrea L. Nicolas

    Since the IPO of NextEra Energy Partners in July 2014, several transactions have followed a similar hybrid approach, blending the master limited partnership incentive structure with the yieldco model. Ultimately, such transactions may make a substantial contribution to the development of U.S. renewable energy infrastructure, say Andrea Nicholas and Michael Hong of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP.

  • Contracts Are Still King After Pa. Oil Drilling Case

    Mimi S. Dennis

    Ely v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. affirms the importance of thorough factual support for fraud-related claims to survive summary judgment. Critics of the natural gas industry may be disappointed by the decision, but the court’s reliance on the plain language of the lease agreement underscores Pennsylvania’s commitment to the integrity of the written contract, says Mimi Dennis of Sedgwick LLP.

  • Proposed Prop 65 Rules Won't Please Calif. Businesses

    Robert L. Falk

    Recently proposed changes from California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to Proposition 65's product warning and website-related regulations are less predictable and more difficult for manufacturers and retailers to comply with and will significantly increase the potential for and cost of litigation, say Michele Corash and Robert Falk of Morrison & Foerster LLP.

  • The State Of Play In 2015: Year Of The Regulator

    Wm. Randolph Smith

    The federal branch is grabbing all of the levers, every tool at its disposal, to achieve its policy objectives. Supporters of the Obama administration’s policies may applaud, but for businesses, this new use of executive power requires a more sophisticated understanding of the new regulatory paradigms, say attorneys with Crowell & Moring LLP.

  • Keystone XL Will Shape Energy Debate For 114th Congress

    Andrew R. Wheeler

    While only one actionable amendment to the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act was approved, many of the issues that were raised during the bill’s consideration will continue to command the 114th Congress' attention. If President Obama vetoes the legislation then expect Democrats to keep raising the issue of anthropogenic climate change as the 2016 elections approach, say attorneys at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

  • Calif. Seems Set To Solve Split On Oil Rail Shipments

    Thomas A. Henry

    While controversy over the transportation of crude oil by rail continues nationwide, the California Supreme Court has decided to resolve a split among lower state courts in Friends of the Eel River v. North Coast Railroad Authority over whether state law regulating such transportation is preempted by federal law, says Thomas Henry of Stoel Rives LLP.