Environmental

  • February 25, 2015

    High Court SOX Fish Ruling Cuts Hole In Prosecutors’ Net

    With the dramatic reversal of a fisherman’s felony conviction under a provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday sent a clear message to overzealous prosecutors that the law doesn’t give them carte blanche to pursue defendants outside the act’s corporate context.

  • February 25, 2015

    BP Rips 'New' Evidence In $266B Atlantis FCA Suit

    BP PLC told a Texas federal court Wednesday that the introduction of structural engineers’ reports by whistleblowers was a flimsy attempt to get the court to reconsider assertions it has already rejected in a $266 billion False Claims Act suit involving BP’s Gulf of Mexico-based Atlantis facility.

  • February 25, 2015

    GOP Reintroduces Bills Overhauling EPA Board, Data Use

    Congressional Republicans on Tuesday reintroduced two bills to overhaul the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board and the use of scientific data in crafting regulations, measures strongly opposed by the White House that sponsors say will shine more light on EPA activities.

  • February 25, 2015

    ACA Backers Take Heart In High Court's SOX Ruling

    Affordable Care Act supporters seized on a U.S. Supreme Court decision Wednesday interpreting the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to assert that justices in a looming case will interpret the ACA as allowing universal tax credits, but experts cautioned against assuming that one ruling tips the court's hand.

  • February 25, 2015

    PennEast's $1B Pipeline Plan Has Big Enviro Costs, FERC Told

    The New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club sent a letter Wednesday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voicing opposition to PennEast Pipeline's proposed $1 billion project, urging FERC to issue a thorough environmental impact statement that will demonstrate environmental degradation for the purpose of profiteering.

  • February 25, 2015

    Calif. Appeals Court Backs State Cap-And-Trade Rules

    A California appeals court has shut down two environmental groups’ objections to cap-and-trade rules put in place by California's Air Resources Board, finding that the group’s interpretation of a law that created the program would hamstring its enactment altogether.

  • February 25, 2015

    Enbridge Joins USFS In Mich. Pipeline Review Suit

    A Michigan federal judge on Wednesday granted Enbridge Energy LP’s unopposed motion to intervene in a suit alleging the U.S. Forest Service bypassed the environmental review process for one of the company’s pipelines.

  • February 25, 2015

    Scarinci Hollenbeck Lures Ex-Wolff & Samson Enviro Atty

    Scarinci Hollenbeck LLC bolstered its environmental law practice with the addition of a former Wolff & Samson PC attorney who has more than two decades of experience in the environmental field to its office in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, the firm said Wednesday.

  • February 25, 2015

    DC Circ. Hears Texas-Led ‘Good Neighbor’ Air Rule Challenge

    Texas led a group of industry-backed states Wednesday in their challenge to key pieces of the Environmental Protection Agency’s revived cross-state pollution rule, telling the D.C. Circuit that Texas’ emission budget requirements under the rule are unfairly strict.

  • February 25, 2015

    DC Circ. Nixes Enviros' Bid To Revive EPA Ammo Suit

    The D.C. Circuit on Tuesday said it will not rehear a bid by environmentalists to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate used lead bullets and shot under the Toxic Substances Control Act, denying the groups’ request for an en banc hearing.

  • February 25, 2015

    Katrina Example Negates Freedom Industries' DQ Bid, US Says

    West Virginia prosecutors on Tuesday pushed back against a bid by two Freedom Industries Inc. executives who want the prosecutors removed because they were affected by a chemical spill that gave rise to criminal negligence charges, citing the example of a New Orleans federal judge who didn't have to remove himself from litigation related to Hurricane Katrina.

  • February 25, 2015

    Justices Say SOX Shredding Provision Doesn't Apply To Fish

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that an anti-shredding provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act does not cover all physical evidence, overturning the conviction of a Florida fisherman who allegedly dumped three undersized fish.

  • February 24, 2015

    Ultra Resources Dodges Suit Over 'Adjacent' Fracking Sites

    An environmental group suing Ultra Resources Inc. over nitrogen oxide released from fracking operations couldn’t show the company’s facilities should have been treated as a single source of emissions for permitting purposes because they aren't interrelated or “adjacent,” a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Monday.

  • February 24, 2015

    Feds Look To Buck Wyoming's Wild Horse Management Claims

    The U.S. Department of the Interior asked a Wyoming federal court Monday to dismiss a petition from the state calling for a review of the Bureau of Land Management’s refusal to comply with a request that the agency reduce the state’s wild horse population under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

  • February 24, 2015

    EPA Updates Fuel Rating Testing Standards For Vehicles

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday issued a new set of guidelines to automakers over fuel economy testing, tightening up guidance issued more than 10 years ago.

  • February 24, 2015

    2nd Circ. Says Amtrak Too Late In NY Eminent Domain Suit

    The Second Circuit said on Tuesday that Amtrak cannot challenge New York state’s condemnation by eminent domain of some of its property for a park, because the train company brought its federal claims more than six years after they accrued.

  • February 24, 2015

    Calif.'s Plastic Bag Ban Suspended Amid Ballot Referendum

    California's blanket ban on single-use plastic bags — the first of its kind in the U.S. — is on hold after a plastic bag manufacturing trade group collected enough signatures for a voter referendum to qualify for the November 2016 ballot, a state official confirmed Tuesday.

  • February 24, 2015

    4 Hurdles Real Estate Developers Face In California

    California is one of the most difficult and costly states in which to do real estate development, thanks largely to the state's environmental act and other bits of red tape, but the state’s Supreme Court taking up several cases related to the act could provide some clarity — and possibly relief — to developers. Here, Law360 looks at four challenges for developers.

  • February 24, 2015

    Pa. Judge Axes EQT's $1.2M Fracking Spill Fine Challenge

    A Pennsylvania state judge has ruled that an EQT Corp. unit cannot sue the state’s Department of Environmental Protection in a bid to nix a $1.2 million fine the company is facing over a fracking wastewater spill in Tioga County in 2012.

  • February 24, 2015

    Enviros Sue EPA Over Soot Emissions From Coal Plants, Cars

    The Center for Biological Diversity on Tuesday sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for allegedly failing to enforce air quality standards that limit pollution from coal-fired power plants, cars and other sources in Iowa, Puerto Rico and Washington.

Expert Analysis

  • EPA Methane Strategy May Sit On Policy Back Burner

    Cynthia AM Stroman

    While it remains to be seen whether Congress will act to disapprove the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's methane emissions reduction strategy, at a surficial level, its limitation to “new” sources might place it lower on Capitol Hill’s priority list, says Cynthia Stroman of King & Spalding LLP.

  • Wis. High Court Case Will Impact Farm Insurance Policies

    Cameron F. Field

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court's ruling in Wilson Mutual Insurance Co. v. Falk, which holds that manure contaminating a well is a “pollutant” and is not covered under a farm's general liability insurance policy, should prompt policyholders to understand how a policy defines pollutant. The case may be informative in states that have yet to hear a similar case, say attorneys at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP.

  • Fracking Bans May Trigger Civil Authority Coverage After All

    Walter J. Andrews

    A recent Law360 guest article suggests a number of reasons why civil authority coverage will not be implicated by local fracking bans. The article does not, however, fully address three important issues that will impact the question of whether civil authority coverage is, in fact, triggered, say attorneys with Hunton & Williams LLP.

  • Changes To Japan's Feed-In Tariff Scheme Are Coming

    Joshua R. Isenberg

    While the proposed amendments to Japan's feed-in tariff scheme remain subject to public comment, policymakers are sympathetic to change and the risk of reduction to a previously secured rate may be increasing for solar projects that are not presently, or likely to soon be, shovel-ready, say attorneys at Paul Hastings LLP.

  • Whirlpool Case Is Instructive Of Rule 23(a) Requirements

    Ruben F. Reyna

    Day v. Whirlpool Corp. underscores the importance of Rule 23(a) criteria for class certification and the rigorous analysis district courts will undertake when certification is sought for settlement. Since movants made short shrift of numerosity and adequate representation, they failed to satisfy Rule 23(a) requirements, says Ruben Reyna of Sedgwick LLP.

  • Fukushima Case May Impact Global Nuclear Liability Law

    Lynn K. McKay

    Although laws addressing nuclear risk in both Japan and the U.S. provide for liability channeling and consolidation of claims in the court where a nuclear incident occurs, the ruling in Cooper v. Tokyo Electric Power Company leaves open the possibility that the lawsuit could be tried outside the country under state common law instead of nuclear liability law, say Lynn McKay and Scott Greer of King & Spalding LLP.

  • A Shift In Discoverability Of Litigation Hold Notices?

    Mathieu J. Shapiro

    There is no one-size-fits-all litigation hold notice and no magic language that will ensure the notice is covered by the attorney-client privilege or work product doctrine. But in light of the D.C. District Court’s new, relaxed approach to the discoverability of such notices, be sure your next one does not include confidential company information that you would regret sharing, say attorneys with Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP.

  • House Report May Taper Hopes For Clean Power Plan

    George O. Wilkinson Jr.

    The House Energy and Commerce Committee's recent report on the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan foreshadows the legal and political difficulties it may face in meeting international pledges and suggests that the White House may have to scale back some of its more ambitious commitments to limit emissions, say George Wilkinson Jr. and Corinne Snow of Vinson & Elkins LLP.

  • Law Schools Are (Finally) Teaching 'The Biz' Of Lawyering

    Howard Breuer

    Educators across the country say law schools are now more aggressively teaching the business side of being a lawyer — spurred on by a shifting market that continues to provide fewer and fewer associate opportunities for recent grads, and feedback from students and new lawyers eager to learn how to bring in clients once they hang out a shingle, according to legal industry consultant and journalist Howard Breuer.

  • EPA Coal Ash Rules May Hasten Power Plant Closures

    Libby Ford

    Due to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's new coal combustion residual rules containing reduced closure requirements for surface impoundments that are “inactive,” coal-fired power plants that were already planning to shut down in late 2015 or 2016 may do so sooner, say Libby Ford and Scott Turner of Nixon Peabody LLP.