Environmental

  • November 13, 2014

    Koch Unit, BP Escape Suit Over Chicago Coal Dust

    An Illinois federal judge on Wednesday dismissed Koch unit KM Railways LLC and BP Products North America Inc. from a class action suit brought by Chicago residents alleging clouds of coal dust blow onto their properties from facilities owned by BP and others.

  • November 12, 2014

    US-China Deal Ups Ante For EPA In Battle Over GHG Rules

    A groundbreaking agreement between the U.S. and China to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions raises the stakes on President Barack Obama’s go-it-alone approach to climate initiatives, as the deal and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency programs behind it will soon be tested by newly empowered Senate Republicans.

  • November 12, 2014

    NJ Settles Suit Over PSE&G Nuke Plant's Enviro Review

    A coalition of environmental groups on Monday announced the settlement of a suit against New Jersey's environmental regulator after the agency set a deadline for evaluating the ecological effects of a Public Service Electric & Gas Co. and Exelon Corp. nuclear facility on the Delaware River's wildlife population.

  • November 12, 2014

    US Chamber Leads Trade Groups Opposing EPA Water Rule

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, backed by trade groups nationwide, is lobbying the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw a controversial proposal expanding federal authority under the Clean Water Act, calling it an overreach that would devastate business and local rights.

  • November 12, 2014

    Ill. Residents, Enviros Sue State Over Fracking Rules

    Several landowners and an environmental group have filed suit to block controversial fracking regulations approved last week by Illinois lawmakers, saying a state agency disregarded a host of standard rule-making procedures.

  • November 12, 2014

    Railroads Contribute To $10.5M Superfund Cleanup Settlement

    Two railroad companies, an electrical contractor and the city of Ashland, Wisconsin, agreed on Tuesday to pay $10.5 million to the United States and Northern States Power Co. to settle allegations related to the cleanup of the Ashland Lakefront Superfund site.

  • November 12, 2014

    Shell Can't Preemptively Sue Enviros Over Drilling: 9th Circ.

    The Ninth Circuit on Wednesday remanded Shell Gulf Oil of Mexico Inc.’s preemptive suit against several environmental groups seeking to protect Department of the Interior approvals for Arctic offshore drilling, saying that the oil company couldn’t prove it had a legal controversy with the groups.

  • November 12, 2014

    NJ High Court Told To Uphold Town's Environmental Rezoning

    An attorney for Ocean Township, New Jersey, urged the state's Supreme Court on Wednesday to allow the municipality to rezone a residential farmland area as environmentally sensitive, telling the court its ordinance reasonably promotes open space and is not tantamount to an eminent domain taking.

  • November 12, 2014

    Citic, KKR Make $930M Bid For Singapore Water Treatment Co.

    A unit of state-owned Chinese firm Citic Ltd. and U.S. private equity giant KKR & Co. are teaming up to buy Singapore waste water treatment company United Envirotech Ltd. for about S$1.2 billion ($930 million) in a private placement, the bidders said Wednesday.

  • November 12, 2014

    Enerkem, AkzoNobel Plot European Waste-To-Chemical Plants

    Canada-headquartered Enerkem Inc. has agreed to license its technology that converts waste into biofuels and renewable chemicals to Netherlands-based AkzoNobel NV, the companies said Wednesday, and the two are teaming up to explore the development of waste-to-chemicals facilities in Europe.

  • November 12, 2014

    2nd Circ. Orders Beefed-Up Sentence For Asbestos Fraudster

    The Second Circuit on Wednesday ordered the resentencing of an asbestos worker convicted of misleading his clients about air quality after so-called rip and run abatement operations, finding federal sentencing guidelines require a harsher punishment for the organizer or leader of criminal activity than a district court imposed. 

  • November 12, 2014

    US, China Strike Major Climate Change Agreement

    The United States and China agreed on Wednesday to a climate change agreement that promises to be challenging for both countries to honor but lays the foundation for a broader, worldwide agreement at a climate conference in Paris next year.

  • November 12, 2014

    Circuit Courts Split In 9/11 CERCLA Case, High Court Told

    A developer recently told the U.S. Supreme Court that a circuit panel’s decision to nix its indemnification claims from damage from the 9/11 attacks is a significant split from another circuit ruling on the standard for sole cause under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.

  • November 12, 2014

    Enviros Threaten TVA With CWA Suit Over Coal Ash Ponds

    Three environmental groups have threatened to sue the Tennessee Valley Authority for violating the Clean Water Act, claiming coal ash from a power plant is contaminating the Cumberland River, which provides drinking water to 1.2 million people.

  • November 10, 2014

    Record $5B Anadarko Cleanup Deal Clears Final Hurdle

    A record $5.2 billion nuclear pollution cleanup deal cleared a final hurdle Monday when Anadarko Petroleum Corp. won a New York federal judge’s approval despite objections the oil company was being let off easy.

  • November 10, 2014

    Chartis, Tesoro Dispute Unit’s Coverage In $30M Cleanup Row

    Chartis Specialty Insurance Co. and Tesoro Corp. fired off dueling motions for summary judgment in Texas federal court, both asking the court to determine whether a policy Chartis assigned to the oil refiner in 2002 applies to a subsidiary seeking coverage of $29.6 million in environmental cleanup costs at a California refinery.

  • November 10, 2014

    Sinopec's Canadian Unit Fined For Creek Contamination

    A Canadian court fined Sinopec Corp's Canadian unit for spilling nearly 2,500 barrels of water contaminated by a natural gas well into a creek in northern Alberta, according to a Monday announcement from the provincial government.

  • November 10, 2014

    Enviros Say FWS Drilling Rule Harms Alaska Walruses

    Several environmental groups sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday over a rule allowing oil companies to participate in drilling activities off the northern coast of Alaska, which they say endangers the local Pacific walrus population.

  • November 10, 2014

    BP Can't Get Admin For Deepwater Claims Axed

    A Louisiana federal judge Monday rejected BP PLC’s attempt to oust the claims administrator in charge of paying out claims to individuals and businesses from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill $9.2 billion settlement, saying that a claims administrator isn’t subject to the same recusal rules as a federal judge.

  • November 10, 2014

    EPA Didn't Plot With Groups To Kill Alaska Mine, Judge Told

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday urged an Alaska federal judge to toss a suit accusing the agency of scheming with outside groups to block a proposed massive Alaska copper mine, saying the mine developer’s claim can’t be sustained.

Expert Analysis

  • Putting Calif.'s $1.4B Fine Against PG&E In Perspective

    Michael C. Dotten

    What constitutes an excessive fine has been articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court as a proportionality test, and, as Pacific Gas & Electric Co. argued in its brief before the California Public Utilities Commission, courts sometimes measure excessiveness in penalties by reference to fines levied in other, like circumstances, says Michael Dotten of Marten Law PLLC.

  • What Litigators Can Learn From Novelists

    Michael H. Rubin

    Many legal briefs are written in impenetrable jargon and begin with an introduction telling the court what it already knows, using words that stem from the 18th century, such as “hereinafter.” Instead, we should approach briefs the way novelists approach their writing, says Michael Rubin of McGlinchey Stafford PLLC.

  • Work Plan Signals Expanded Calif. Green Chemistry Program

    Joshua A. Bloom

    California's Safer Consumer Products Regulation will be closely watched given the potential for its broad application — indeed, following its enactment, Congress attempted to develop nationwide green chemistry initiatives, say Joshua Bloom and Christopher Jensen of Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp LLP.

  • Information Governance: A Missed Opportunity For Lawyers

    Ann Snyder

    Today, information intersects every practice area, making all lawyers effectively information governance practitioners in one way or another. The issue is whether you will consciously embrace this emerging discipline — and capitalize on it to the benefit of your clients and your practice, says Ann Snyder of the Information Governance Initiative.

  • CAFA Removal Procedure At Center Stage In Dart Cherokee

    Archis A. Parasharami

    If Public Citizen's amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. v. Owens is correct in arguing that an appellate court can insulate questions arising under the Class Action Fairness Act from Supreme Court review by denying leave to appeal then that will create perverse incentives for lower courts and may hamper the development of uniform rules governing CAFA removals, says Archis Parasharami of Mayer Brown LLP.

  • RCRA Citizen Suits No Longer Option In Regulating Diesel

    Kirsten L. Nathanson

    The Ninth Circuit's ruling in Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice v. BNSF Railway Co. has potentially broad implications for all diesel exhaust emitters — it may even serve to foreclose future Resource Conservation and Recovery Act citizen suit challenges to air emissions beyond diesel, say attorneys at Crowell & Moring LLP.

  • E&P Wetlands Compliance Strategy: Nationwide Permits

    Robert E. Holden

    Despite being confusing — and violations expensive — the exploration and production industry should utilize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' nationwide permitting program as a way to streamline and simplify wetlands permit requirements when seeking approval of on-shore activities, say Robert Holden and Lesley Pietras of Liskow & Lewis.

  • A Primer On 'Bad Faith' In Federal Removal Jurisdiction

    Ugo Colella

    The Federal Courts Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification Act grants a federal district court discretion to permit removal after the one-year period if it finds a plaintiff has “acted in bad faith” to prevent removal, but it didn’t come with a clear definition of "bad faith." Recent case law offers some minimal guidance on how the exception should be interpreted, say Ugo Colella and Todd Seaman of Thompson Hine LLP.

  • Crowdfunding Models Proliferate For Clean Energy Projects

    Kristen Young

    Solar and distributed generation offer asset attributes and capital investment profiles that are well-suited to crowdfunding. Important regulatory pronouncements over the coming months, however, could enhance or hinder the crowdfunding marketplace, say Jim Wrathall and Kristen Young of Sullivan & Worcester LLP.

  • NJ Courts Continue To Grapple With Allocation Issue

    Scott M. Seaman

    The New Jersey Supreme Court's recent decision in IMO Industries Inc. v. Transamerica Corp. underscores the continued applicability of the court's observation on environmental coverage law with respect to allocation — just as one important issue is resolved at least two new issues rise to take its place, says Scott Seaman of Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson LLP.