Environmental

  • August 28, 2015

    ArcelorMittal Moves To Nix Noxious Odors Suit

    One of ArcelorMittal USA Inc.’s factories in Pennsylvania on Thursday retaliated against a proposed class of residents accusing the steel manufacturer of polluting their environment with noxious odors and air particulates, saying that the proposed class failed to demonstrate that the alleged emissions actually originated from its facility.

  • August 28, 2015

    Alaska Natives Want Legal Fees In Lost Drilling Permit Row

    A group of Alaskan natives demanded attorneys' fees and costs Thursday in a case they lost to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, saying their legal challenge forced the Corps to justify granting a drilling permit to ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc. and eventually granted them victory.

  • August 27, 2015

    Injunction Denied In States' Suit Over Clean Water Act

    A Georgia federal judge on Thursday denied Florida and 10 other states' preliminary injunction bid in a suit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new rule clarifying the scope of the Clean Water Act, saying only an appellate court can hear the rule challenge.

  • August 27, 2015

    5th Circ. Urged To Consult Texas Court On Insurance Penalty

    The Texas Supreme Court should determine whether any violation of a state insurance law triggers penalty interest, a group of defense attorneys told the Fifth Circuit on Wednesday, backing an insurer fighting a policyholder’s $25.4 million win in a Hurricane Katrina coverage suit.

  • August 27, 2015

    Rivers Less Toxic But Threat From Mine Leak Remains: EPA

    The Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday that although concentrations of poisonous heavy metals in the Animas and San Juan rivers are down, it is concerned about the long-term effects of the metals settling into the rivers' sediment after agency workers accidentally unleashed 3 million gallons of toxic water from a Colorado mine.

  • August 27, 2015

    8th Circ. Upholds $2.3M CWA Penalty Against STABL

    Nebraska-based animal products processor STABL Inc. will have to face a $2.3 million penalty after the Eighth Circuit on Thursday affirmed a trial court’s ruling in the government’s favor in a suit alleging the processor had violated the Clean Water Act for years.

  • August 27, 2015

    Enviros Appeal Seattle Judge’s Shell Arctic Fleet Ruling

    Environmental groups appealed Thursday a Washington court ruling that the Port of Seattle did not need to conduct an environmental review before allowing Royal Dutch Shell PLC's Arctic drilling fleet to call the city home.

  • August 27, 2015

    10 Years After Katrina, Legal Fallout Continues

    In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, lawyers throughout the Gulf region have worked hard to recover and dig into the multitude of legal issues that washed up with the storm, and some of those questions — such as whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may be held liable for any damages and how to help adversely affected communities — have not yet been resolved.

  • August 27, 2015

    Taylor Energy Settles Decade-Old Gulf Oil Spill Dispute

    Taylor Energy Co. LLC has settled with three environmental groups in Louisiana federal court over a decade-old Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the company said Thursday, though the exact terms of the yet-to-be-finalized deal were unavailable.

  • August 27, 2015

    $225M Exxon Deal Offers Blueprint For Pollution Review

    ExxonMobil Corp.’s $225 million pollution settlement with state environmental authorities, approved by a New Jersey judge this week, is notable not only for its size and the level of public scrutiny it endured, but also the guidance it provides companies facing similar claims for natural resource damages, attorneys say.

  • August 27, 2015

    Conrail Sheds Some Claims Over Paulsboro Train Derailment

    At least 18 plaintiffs have agreed to drop claims in New Jersey federal court against Consolidated Railroad Corp. over a 2012 train derailment and chemical spill in Paulsboro, according to documents filed Thursday following a series of court decisions that trimmed the litigation.

  • August 27, 2015

    Navajos Back DOI Uranium Mining Ban Near Grand Canyon

    The Navajo Nation has urged the Ninth Circuit to keep more than 1 million protected acres around the Grand Canyon off limits to uranium mining, saying the tribe's "long and sordid" history with uranium mining backs the government's decision to err on the side of environmental protection.

  • August 27, 2015

    Clean Power Plan Casts Shadow Over Utility Deals

    Southern Co.'s admission that the Clean Power Plan influenced its $8 billion move to acquire gas infrastructure utility AGL Resources is a sign that coal-heavy utilities may look to cut deals with their gas-focused counterparts to handle the plan's stiff carbon emissions reduction targets.

  • August 27, 2015

    EPA's Clean Water Rule Halted In 13 States

    A North Dakota federal judge on Thursday blocked the implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' rule clarifying the jurisdictional scope of the Clean Water Act in 13 states just one day before the rule was to go into effect, calling the measure "exceptionally expansive." 

  • August 27, 2015

    Sunoco Pipelines Face New Challenge In Pa. Court

    The Clean Air Council on Thursday renewed its push to stop a Sunoco Inc. subsidiary’s ongoing Mariner East pipeline project from crossing Pennsylvania, alleging in a state court lawsuit that the two pipelines are in interstate commerce and do not entitle the company to eminent domain rights.

  • August 27, 2015

    DOE Program Awards $24M To Develop Efficient Solar Tech

    The U.S. Department of Energy this week handed out $24 million in the form of 11 competitive grants to solar technology companies and research institutions as part of a program to encourage a new generation of higher-efficiency solar modules.

  • August 27, 2015

    EPA Tells DC Circ. Not To Rehear Solid Waste Disposal Row

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday urged the full D.C. Circuit to reject environmental groups’ petition to rehear a dispute over solid waste disposal regulations that include exemptions for tires, used oil and construction materials, arguing the groups have only rehashed dismissed arguments.

  • August 27, 2015

    Murray's W.Va. CWA Challenge Goes Up In Smoke

    Murray Energy Corp.'s challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's new rule clarifying the scope of the Clean Water Act belongs in the Sixth Circuit, a West Virginia federal judge said when she dismissed the suit Wednesday.

  • August 26, 2015

    Sen. Panel To Grill EPA On Colo. Mine Spill's Tribal Impact

    The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a hearing next month to demand answers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the impact of a spill of 3 million gallons of heavy-metal-laden water after agency workers caused a blowout at a Colorado mine, the committee chairman said Wednesday.

  • August 26, 2015

    Textron Toxic Tort Experts Deserved Boot, 7th Circ. Says

    The Seventh Circuit supported a lower court's exclusion of expert testimony in a toxic tort case against defense contracting conglomerate Textron Inc., which ultimately killed the suit, finding Wednesday that the expert doctors relied too heavily on leaps of faith to form their opinions.

Expert Analysis

  • Texas Takes Firm Stance Toward Local Environmental Fines

    Gerald J. Pels

    Texas' cap on local fines and penalties from environmental litigation is one of the first in the country. While H.B. 1794 does not limit the state’s authority to bring actions, recover penalties or limit any authority — state or local — to pursue criminal actions for environmental infractions, it will provide predictability in enforcement and will often lead to greater compliance, says Gerald Pels of Locke Lord LLP.

  • REBUTTAL: The Problem With 3rd-Party Litigation Financing

    Lisa Rickard

    Manipulating gender disparity in the service of hawking a flawed investment product does nothing but trivialize a serious and important issue. The tortured logic in Burford Capital LLC’s recent plug for third-party litigation financing is nothing more than a marketing ploy to boost revenues, says Lisa Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.

  • Drought In Calif. Is Changing The Real Estate Landscape

    Ian T. O’Banion

    With California farmers and at least one celebrity fined for stealing water, water suppliers and users alike are in the process of developing strategies for compliance amid dwindling supplies. For the real estate industry, these challenges serve as an opportunity to develop creative cross-disciplinary efficiency measures that could serve as a model for responding to severe droughts in other parts of the world, say Ian O’Banion and ... (continued)

  • Fla. Will Go With The Flow On EPA 'Waters Of The US' Rule

    Gregory M. Munson

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's changes to the scope of "waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act will be mitigated in Florida given the state’s already sweeping definition of "waters of the state," which even includes groundwater, unlike the new federal rule, says Gunster's Gregory Munson, former general counsel and deputy secretary for water policy at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

  • Ex Ante Vs. Ex Post: Janis Joplin’s Yearbook Revisited

    Paul E. Godek

    Fisher and Romaine’s well-known article, “Janis Joplin’s Yearbook and the Theory of Damages,” argues that commercial damages should be measured as of the time the challenged act occurred, an approach that has generally been favored. However, their argument is somewhat contrived, says Paul Godek, principal at MiCRA and a former economic adviser at the Federal Trade Commission.

  • Drilling Down On DOI's Oil And Gas Regulatory Agenda

    Sara K. Orr

    The Obama administration’s energy regulatory agenda is vast and ambitious and comes at a time of oil price decline. Overall, its regulations and proposed regulations, if and when they are issued, will expand the reach of the U.S. Department of the Interior and, in many cases, impose more stringent rules and significant costs on oil and gas operations on public lands, say Sara Orr and Benjamin Lawless of Latham & Watkins LLP.

  • Enter The EPA's New Stormwater General Permit Program

    Meline G. MacCurdy

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's changes to the multisector general permit under the Clean Water Act governing stormwater discharges from industry are aimed at streamlining compliance, reducing burdens associated with duplicative obligations to some sectors and increasing transparency regarding discharges from specific facilities, says Meline MacCurdy of Marten Law PLLC.

  • Bees Getting Stung: Law And Science Uncertain, Food At Risk

    Telisport W. Putsavage

    With a new U.S. national strategy to promote the health of pollinator species such as bees, it will be important to compare it to the EU strategy, both in the attainment of goals to be reached and the mitigation of negative impact to the agricultural industry, says Telisport Putsavage, counsel with Sullivan & Worcester LLP and former assistant attorney general at the Maryland Department of the Environment.

  • DaRosa Makes Life Easier For Massachusetts Gov't Lawyers

    Robert M. Buchanan Jr.

    Although the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court fixed a problem of its own creation by taking the work product of government attorneys out from under the microscope, the decision in DaRosa v. City of New Bedford did not improve the situation for “Kovel” arrangements, says Robert Buchanan Jr. of Choate Hall & Stewart LLP.

  • California Land Use Stories To Watch In 2015

    Tim Paone

    The notion of California as a trendsetter in social, environmental and legal arenas could well be tested once again in 2015. This may become another year that will be seen as a game changer in land use with California addressing affordable housing, climate change, sea level rise projections and drought, attorneys at Cox Castle & Nicholson LLP.