Environmental

  • December 8, 2014

    Texas City Fights Ranch's Bid To Halt Water Well Drilling

    A Texas city on Friday told the state Supreme Court that it should reject a ranch owner's attempt to apply the accommodation doctrine — an integral part of oil and gas law — to a dispute with the city over whether it can drill water wells to reach a severed groundwater estate.

  • December 8, 2014

    New Mexico Fines DOE $54M For Radioactive Waste Violations

    New Mexico on Saturday fined the U.S. Department of Energy $54 million for allegedly mishandling nuclear waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory and another facility and contributing to an underground radiation discharge and a fire earlier this year.

  • December 8, 2014

    Hanwha Solar Inks $1.2B Deal To Merge US, German Units

    South Korea-based Hanwha Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. said on Monday that it is merging its U.S.-listed SolarOne and Germany's Q Cells businesses through a $1.2 billion all-stock deal that will be partially funded through new shares, creating a new solar giant it says will command better global scale with potential to expand.

  • December 8, 2014

    High Court Snuffs Youths' Public Trust Suit Over GHGs

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a case filed by youth activists who claimed the federal government is required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because the atmosphere should be protected as a public trust for future generations.

  • December 8, 2014

    Senate Finance Chief Makes Bid For Hefty Solar Cell Duties

    Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on Monday issued a forceful call for the U.S. trade officials to set stringent duties on imports of solar panels from China and Taiwan, which he claimed have badly damaged the domestic solar energy industry's bottom line.

  • December 8, 2014

    BP Fails To Win High Court Review Of Deepwater Settlement

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to review BP PLC’s challenge of its $9.2 billion Deepwater Horizon settlement, a deal the energy giant claims allows people who weren't injured by the spill to collect payments.

  • December 5, 2014

    Shell Rethinks $90M Waste Harm Deal After Secrecy Nixed

    Shell Oil Co. on Friday told a California judge that it is reconsidering a previously agreed-upon $90 million settlement of personal injury claims brought by Los Angeles area residents allegedly harmed by buried waste oil, saying the court’s refusal to grant the agreement confidentiality left it unsettled.

  • December 5, 2014

    Levin Wants Bigger Congressional Role In TPP Deliberations

    As optimism swells around the White House's ability to cooperate on trade policy with a Republican-controlled Congress next year, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee continued to express skepticism Friday over the nation's most imminent trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

  • December 5, 2014

    Bill Would Allow States Carbon Taxes To Meet CPP Targets

    A House Democrat on Friday introduced a bill that would allow states to tax carbon dioxide-emitting industries in order to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan greenhouse gas standards for existing power plants.

  • December 5, 2014

    Environmental MVP: Hunton & Williams' F. William Brownell

    Fighting off a Clean Air Act suit for DTE Energy Co. and convincing the U.S. Supreme Court to limit the government's authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions are among the highlights that landed Hunton & Williams LLP’s Bill Brownell a spot among Law360’s 2014 Environmental MVPs.

  • December 5, 2014

    Tribe Decries Approval Of $1.13B Calif. Solar Project

    A Native American tribe on Thursday accused the federal government in California federal court of neglecting to follow proper protocol in fast-tracking the planned $1.13 billion Blythe Solar Power Project, saying the project violates federal laws by infringing on their land and traditions.

  • December 5, 2014

    Solar Co. SPI To Acquire, Build NJ Solar Farm

    Renewable energy developer Solar Power Inc. said Friday it has acquired and will develop Beaver Run Solar Farm in Lafayette, New Jersey, a 9.9-megawatt solar project that has already gained construction approvals, beefing up its portfolio.

  • December 5, 2014

    Mining Group Sues FWS Over ESA Settlement, Sage-Grouse

    A group of mining industry organizations and Nevada counties on Thursday sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to set aside a 2011 settlement they say prevents the service from properly considering whether to list a controversial bird as a threatened or endangered species.

  • December 5, 2014

    Texas Justices Snub Plant Operator's Immunity Challenge

    The Texas high court on Friday said it won't review an appeals court decision to grant the city of Houston immunity in a contract dispute brought by Downstream Environmental LLC over a wastewater plant that allegedly discharged hazardous waste into the city's sewer system.

  • December 5, 2014

    EPA Slams Maine Claims In Tribal Water Dispute

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday asked a federal judge to toss part of Maine’s lawsuit seeking to establish its authority over all waters inside state borders, including those within tribal territories, arguing the court has limited authority in the matter.

  • December 5, 2014

    Minority Powerbrokers Q&A: Shell's Donny Ching

    I tell my lawyers not to keep trying to impress their bosses and advance their careers. It's much more powerful and gratifying to become a role model to the many people seeking leadership and guidance. These are the best leaders and role models for firms, says Donny Ching, legal director of Royal Dutch Shell PLC and the first Asian member of its eight-person executive committee.

  • December 5, 2014

    Coast Guard, EPA Agree To Update Spill Responses

    A New York federal judge on Thursday dismissed the Center for Biological Diversity’s suit against the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for allegedly failing to update the oil-spill-response plans for New York and New Jersey, saying the defendants agreed to rectify the transgressions.

  • December 4, 2014

    Endangered Frog Not Welcome On Private Land, 5th Circ. Told

    Landowners led by timber giant Weyerhaeuser Co. urged the Fifth Circuit on Wednesday to quash the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s effort to use 1,600 acres of their property as a refuge for the endangered dusky gopher frog, arguing the land isn’t a suitable habitat and that the move will cost them millions.

  • December 4, 2014

    Enviros Seek To Intervene In Texas City's Fracking Row

    Environmentalists on Thursday asked a judge for permission to wade into a high-profile fracking law case that has pitted the citizens of a Texas city sitting atop the Barnett Shale — who voted to ban the practice — against the energy lobby and state regulators.

  • December 4, 2014

    House Passes $585B Natural Resources-Laden Defense Bill

    The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a $585 billion defense spending bill, which also includes several unrelated provisions that the energy industry praised for opening federal land up to oil and gas exploration.

Expert Analysis

  • Looking At RCRA Liability Post-Closure Care Period

    Megan R. Galey

    After years of treating concerns about the post-closure care period under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act as a low priority, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken steps to address long-term post-closure concerns, which may ultimately include requirements on industry after the 30-year post-closure period, say Charles Merrill and Megan Galey of Husch Blackwell LLP.

  • 11th Circ. Message: Be Careful With Lone Pine Orders

    Michael K. Murphy

    While the Eleventh Circuit in Adinolfe v. United Technologies Corp. did not pass judgment on the underlying efficacy of Lone Pine orders or on the type of information they can require of plaintiffs, it did restrict the use of such orders before a court determines whether a plaintiff has stated a claim adequately in accordance with Iqbal/Twombly, say Michael Murphy and David Fotouhi of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

  • Seismic Events Shake Up Texas Rules On Injection Wells

    Barclay Nicholson

    While regulators in Texas have not gone as far as those in other states in claiming a link between injection wells and increased seismic activity, recently proposed rules impose new requirements for injection well permit applications and give the Texas Railroad Commission new monitoring and corrective authorities, say Barclay Nicholson and Jim Hartle of Norton Rose Fulbright.

  • Justices Smell Something 'Fishy' In Anti-Shredding Case

    Diana Lloyd

    In Yates v. U.S., the U.S. Supreme Court is tackling the bizarre facts surrounding the criminal conviction of a commercial fisherman for violation of the Sarbanes-Oxley “anti-shredding” provision. While the case might seem trivial at first blush, Wednesday's oral arguments revealed that it raises important questions about governmental overcriminalization, say Diana Lloyd and Kevin Ma of Choate Hall & Stewart LLP.

  • Don't Undervalue Environmental Due Diligence

    Dan Schmitt

    Environmental due diligence for commercial and industrial sites to obtain liability protection is not a widget to buy or a box to check. Meaningful due diligence includes, among other things, consideration of future site development and post-acquisition obligations, say Dan Schmitt and Sam Ross at CSX Transportation Inc. and Aaron Getchell at AMEC PLC.

  • 5 Ways To Uncover Bias During Jury Selection

    Joshua Dubin

    Failing to identify and elicit suppressed biases hinders practitioners’ ability to de-select prospective jurors during jury selection. Five strategies can help mitigate the effects of prospective jurors’ tendency to “self-enhance,” says Joshua Dubin, principal of Dubin Research & Consulting.

  • How Senate Without Filibuster-Proof Majority Avoids Gridlock

    William R. Nordwind

    Even without a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, it is likely to be a very active session for the Republican Congress next year — especially if they take advantage of some key legislative tools available to a congressional majority, say former congressional counsel now with Venable LLP.

  • Injury And Irony In BLM's Public Land Bidding Process

    Paul B. Smyth

    The irony in the Bureau of Land Management's proposed competitive bidding process for public land is that renewable energy firms most likely to assume greater risk in structuring a bid are placing themselves at a greater financial risk of being unable to complete the project successfully, says Paul Smyth of Perkins Coie LLP.

  • Energy Support Schemes Buoyed By EU State Aid Decision

    James H. Searles

    The European Commission's assent to the implementation of an energy capacity market scheme in the U.K. confirms that such schemes may fall under the scrutiny of EU state aid law, providing practical guidance on the requirements for their implementation, say James Searles and Eike Helbig of Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

  • Important O&G Regulatory Developments Come To Pa.

    Tad MacFarlan

    The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's recent insight into enforcement protocols for the oil and gas industry reaffirms procedures for issuing and resolving notices of violation, establishes a new process for resolving water supply contamination incidents and updates well-inspection policies, say Timothy Weston and Tad MacFarlan of K&L Gates LLP.