Environmental

  • July 18, 2016

    Gunster Bolsters Land Use Practice With New Hire In Orlando

    Florida law firm Gunster has added a new shareholder in its Orlando office who joins the firm's environmental and land use practice and will lead the land use practice in central Florida.

  • July 18, 2016

    DOE Greenlights Cameron LNG Gas Export Expansion

    The U.S. Department of Energy has approved the expansion of a Sempra LNG unit’s proposed $10 billion liquefied natural gas export facility in Louisiana, allowing for an additional 1.41 billion cubic feet of natural gas to be exported, Sempra announced Monday.

  • July 18, 2016

    NextEra Kills $4.3B Hawaii Utility Merger After Rejection

    Clean energy-focused NextEra Energy Inc. and Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. announced Monday that the two companies are abandoning their proposed $4.3 billion merger after state regulators refused to sign off on the deal.

  • July 15, 2016

    Feds Sues Eversource Over Cable In Boston Harbor

    The U.S. government hit New England-based energy supplier Eversource Energy with a lawsuit in Massachusetts federal court on Friday, claiming the company’s predecessor laid a cable too shallow underneath Boston Harbor in violation of federal environmental laws and interfering with a $310 million dredging project.

  • July 15, 2016

    Pa. Township Atty Cops To Theft Of Energy Project Funds

    A former solicitor for a Pennsylvania township pled guilty Thursday to charges in federal court that he embezzled funds placed temporarily in his escrow account as a security deposit for a federally funded green energy project, U.S. Attorney Peter Smith announced.

  • July 15, 2016

    Feds, Navajo Nation Extend Uranium Mine Cleanup Deal

    The federal government and the Navajo Nation have reached a deal to continue funding the cleanup of abandoned uranium mines on the tribe's land under the joint oversight of each government's Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice said Friday.

  • July 15, 2016

    US Trustee Opposes Late Counsel Hire In Cal Dive Ch. 11

    The United States Trustee’s representative Benjamin Hackman on Friday objected to an attempt by bankrupt offshore services company Cal Dive International Inc. to pay a New Orleans law firm for years of representation in a suit arising from the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

  • July 15, 2016

    Navy Sonar Permit Flouts Marine Life Protection Law: 9th Circ.

    The Ninth Circuit in a precedential ruling Friday concluded that the federal government did not comply with a law meant to protect marine mammals when authorizing the U.S. Navy’s use of sonar during peacetime.

  • July 15, 2016

    EPA's Texas Haze Plan Stayed By 5th Circ.

    The Fifth Circuit on Friday stayed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to require improved visibility at national parks and wilderness areas in Texas through pollution controls at certain power plants.

  • July 15, 2016

    Paccar Engine Suit In Need Of Repair, Judge Says

    A California federal judge on Friday put the brakes on a proposed class action accusing Paccar Inc. of installing old engines in new trucks despite knowing the motors would have to be replaced to comply with new emissions standards, finding the claims lacked specifics but could be amended.

  • July 15, 2016

    Judge Will Rethink Part Of Coverage Ruling On Leak Suits

    A California federal judge on Friday agreed to rethink whether an insurance policy’s deductible applies to defense costs but upheld the rest of his decision that a group of insurers owe coverage for lawsuits against Technichem Inc. stemming from a leak of hazardous dry-cleaning materials.

  • July 15, 2016

    Industry, Green Groups Slam EPA's Defense Of Coal Ash Rule

    A coalition of electric utilities and coal and concrete companies on Thursday urged the D.C. Circuit to alter a provision in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s coal ash rule they say improperly regulates toxic material at power plants’ inactive storage sites, while environmental groups continued their challenge that the rule will not do enough.

  • July 15, 2016

    Calif. Officials Propose Safety Regs For Oil Refineries

    California officials proposed new regulations Thursday aimed at strengthening environmental and workplace safety at oil refineries, including beefing up company accountability for equipment, in the wake of the 2012 Chevron Corp. refinery fire.

  • July 15, 2016

    Colo. Court Revives Gas Co.'s Leak Coverage Claim

    MarkWest Energy Partners saw its $3 million claim for coverage against Zurich American Insurance Co. related to litigation arising from contamination after a chemical leak revived in a Colorado appeals court Thursday.

  • July 15, 2016

    DynCorp Chem Spray Suit Given Second Wind

    A D.C. federal judge gave some much-needed lifeblood to two lawsuits against DynCorp over an anti-drug herbicide operation in Colombia, saying Friday she was not buying the defense contractor’s argument that rulings against 20 plaintiffs apply to the roughly 2,000-strong class allegedly exposed to the chemical.

  • July 15, 2016

    Okla. Tribe Blasts 'Desperation' Bid To Keep Land Row Alive

    The Wichita and Affiliated Tribes continued to press an Oklahoma federal court Thursday to reject the Caddo Nation’s challenge to the construction of a history center on disputed lands, saying the Caddo Nation was advancing contradictory arguments in “desperation” to keep its suit alive.

  • July 15, 2016

    Deals Rumor Mill: Enbridge, Williams Cos., Walgreens

    Enbridge and Macquarie Group are fighting for a stake in a German wind project, The Williams Cos. could sell a Canadian unit for $2 billion in the wake of its failed merger with Energy Transfer Equity, and Walgreens may yet win antitrust approval of its $17 billion bid to buy Rite Aid.

  • July 15, 2016

    BP Hikes Deepwater Horizon Spill Bill To $62B

    BP PLC on Thursday said that it's racked up an additional $5.2 billion in costs stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, hiking the energy giant's final bill from the disaster to $61.6 billion.

  • July 15, 2016

    Wildfire Ruling 'Eviscerates' Policy Distinctions, Insurer Says

    Finding an umbrella insurer owes Sierra Pacific Industries a primary defense in lawsuits over a 2007 California wildfire “eviscerates the distinction between umbrella and primary insurance,” the insurer said Thursday, urging a California federal judge to reconsider his ruling.

  • July 15, 2016

    DC Circ. Nixes Enviros' Challenge To Cove Point LNG Project

    The D.C. Circuit on Friday rejected environmentalists' challenge to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's approval of Dominion Resources Inc.'s $3.5 billion Cove Point liquefied natural gas export project in Maryland, sticking to earlier conclusions that the commission wasn't required to evaluate the indirect impacts of increased gas drilling and exports.

Expert Analysis

  • The High Court's Logical Approach To CWA Jurisdiction

    Joshua A. Bloom

    The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes has taken a small yet significant step in adding some clarity to the process of determining whether a water is subject to Clean Water Act jurisdiction. Ultimately, the court’s consideration of the matter was one of pragmatism and signals that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's and Corps’ authority under the CWA will continue to be highly scrutinized, ... (continued)

  • NMFS Faces Formidable Challenge In Columbia River Analysis

    Douglas W. MacDougal

    In rejecting the National Marine Fisheries Service’s latest biological opinion for the operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System, the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon has presented a daunting challenge. The clear admonition from the court is for action agencies to consider drastic alternatives that might create a more realistic likelihood for survival and recovery of salmonid species, says Douglas MacDougal... (continued)

  • PETA's Push To Expand Limits Of Worker Safety Laws

    Wayne J. D'Angelo

    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has stretched the boundaries of “workplace hazards” to request specific and targeted regulations for industries that utilize or display animals. Such efforts have resulted in a profound regulatory mismatch and an unfortunate distraction from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s worker protection mission, say attorneys at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.

  • In-House Counsel Beware: TSCA Reform Impacts Everyone

    Lynn L. Bergeson

    The rules of engagement in the chemical world as we know it are set to change dramatically and imminently with the forthcoming revisions to the Toxic Substances Control Act. In-house counsel who may be under the impression that the rule only applies to “chemical producers” and not to their companies are gravely mistaken, says Lynn Bergeson at Bergeson & Campbell PC.

  • OPINION: Don't Throw Away The 'Key To The Courthouse'

    Mark R. Thierman

    For more than 200 years, contingency fee lawyers have charged one-third of any recovery. There is nothing magic about the number but it has worked well for all this time, and there is no strong scientific or statistical evidence any other number works better. Why should the court compel a different result? asks Mark Thierman, founding partner of Thierman Buck LLP.

  • 6 Factors Every Law Firm's Gender Diversity Initiative Needs

    Robyn Forman Pollack

    It's no secret that law firms are generally thought of as having one of the lowest commitments to diversity among industry groups. But that perception is juxtaposed against the fact that many have gender diversity initiatives. So why is there so little progress? The answer is complex, but bridging the disconnect lies in ensuring that certain elements of a gender diversity and inclusion initiative are firmly in place, says Robyn Pol... (continued)

  • A New Management Model For Calif. Groundwater Regulations

    Diane C. De Felice

    In rejecting all challenges to the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project, the California Court of Appeal affirmed the discretion of local agencies to tailor groundwater regulation to meet the unique nature of each aquifer. The project is a hopeful prospect in drought-stricken California and will serve as a model for basin management throughout the state, say Diane De Felice and Amy Steinfeld at Brownstein Hy... (continued)

  • Securities: The Next Hot Topic In Environmental Law

    Aaron R. Crane

    At least for lawyers whose clients face enforcement hearings before an administrative law judge at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, securities could be the next point of focus in environmental law. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is facing repeated attacks on the constitutionality of its own ALJs, and the logic of those attacks might well apply to the EPA’s own ALJs, say attorneys at Hogan Lovells.

  • In-House Teams Are Voting With Their Feet — And Then Some

    MarkACohen.jpg

    The real threat to law firms comes from in-house legal departments, which have increased in size, prestige, management responsibility, and attractiveness to top legal talent. But it’s not just labor arbitrage that accounts for the shift from outsourcing work to doing it in-house, says Mark A. Cohen, founder of Legal Mosaic LLC.

  • Coal Projects Founder On Shoals Of Tribal Fishing Rights

    Richard H. Allan

    A recent decision from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a previous decision from the Oregon Department of State Lands denying permits for coal export terminals show that tribal fishing and treaty rights can be added to the substantial list of obstacles for companies seeking to export coal from the Pacific Northwest, says Richard Allan at Marten Law PLLC.