Environmental

  • June 05, 2020

    PG&E's Share Terms For Fire Survivors Unfair, Judge Told

    Wildfire survivors on Friday urged a California federal judge overseeing Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s $59 billion chapter 11 reorganization plan to ensure that they don't have to wait years to liquidate the PG&E stock in their wildfire liability settlement, saying PG&E can't give other shareholders better terms.

  • June 05, 2020

    Trump Powerless To Undo Obama's Drilling Ban, 9th Circ. Told

    A group of environmental organizations urged the Ninth Circuit on Friday to uphold a lower court's ruling that the Trump administration cannot reverse an Obama-era block on fossil fuel drilling in areas of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, saying the statute former President Barack Obama acted under only allows Congress to reverse the ban.

  • June 05, 2020

    Calif. Trial To Decide Risk Of Fluoride In Drinking Water

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will square off at trial Monday in California federal court against groups seeking to force the EPA to ban the addition of fluoride to drinking water, in a closely watched case that could affect nearly 200 million Americans who drink fluoridated water.

  • June 05, 2020

    Split 6th Circ. Backs Approval Of Enbridge Pipeline Spill Plan

    A split Sixth Circuit panel ruled on Thursday that the U.S. Department of Transportation properly approved Enbridge Energy's oil spill response plans for a Wisconsin-to-Ontario pipeline, while the dissenting judge said a lower court had been right to disagree.

  • June 05, 2020

    5th Circ. Says Homeowners Can't Sue Entergy For Floods

    Entergy Corp. units don't have to face Lone Star State homeowners' claims that their faulty operation of a dam caused flooding because Texas precedent bans private entities from being held liable for property damages caused by floodwaters, the Fifth Circuit has ruled.

  • June 05, 2020

    Senate Approves Navajo Utah Water Rights Bill

    The U.S. Senate has passed legislation to settle years of negotiations between the Navajo Nation, the federal government and Utah over water rights for the tribe, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, announced Thursday.

  • June 05, 2020

    2nd Circ. Tosses EPA Mercury Reporting Exemption

    The Second Circuit on Friday vacated the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision to exempt importers of products that have mercury-containing components from reporting requirements, saying there's no other way for the agency to obtain the information.

  • June 05, 2020

    Trump Lifts Obama's Fishing Restrictions In Marine Monument

    President Donald Trump on Friday rescinded a fishing ban in a New England marine monument established by former President Barack Obama and also threatened to put a tariff on cars imported from Europe and other goods from China if they don't drop tariffs on U.S. lobsters.

  • June 05, 2020

    DC Circ. Told NRC Shouldn't Review Illegal Nuke Storage Plan

    An environmental group is urging the D.C. Circuit to force the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to stop considering an application to build a nuclear waste storage facility in New Mexico that the group says requires a license forbidden by energy law.

  • June 05, 2020

    Dow Chemical, Others Must Face 24 Contaminated Water Suits

    A New York federal judge has ruled that Dow Chemical Co., Ferro Corp. and Vulcan Materials Corp. must face claims from two dozen New York water authorities and municipalities alleging they allowed a toxic chemical to get into their groundwater.

  • June 05, 2020

    Contractor Renews Immunity Bid In Coal Worker Injury Suit

    Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. is arguing a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision upended a Tennessee federal judge's prior refusal to grant the contractor immunity from claims it failed to protect workers during a coal ash spill cleanup in Tennessee.

  • June 04, 2020

    Trump Signs Executive Order To Speed Up Project Approvals

    President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday instructing agency heads to use "emergency authorities" to sidestep environmental laws and quickly approve major projects like highways, saying the COVID-19 pandemic created a situation that required quick action to stimulate economic growth.

  • June 04, 2020

    PG&E Bankruptcy Plan Is 'House Of Cards,' Objectors Warn

    Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s $59 billion Chapter 11 reorganization plan does not adequately mitigate wildfire risks or prioritize wildfire survivors, challengers to the plan told a U.S. bankruptcy judge during a bench trial Thursday, calling the plan a "house of cards" that should not be confirmed.

  • June 04, 2020

    Ariz. Utility Asks High Court Not To Revive Navajo Coal Case

    An environmental challenge to a coal-fired power plant on Navajo land shouldn't be taken up by the Supreme Court because two lower courts were right to dismiss the case based on the tribe's sovereign immunity, Arizona's largest utility said Thursday.

  • June 04, 2020

    EPA Proposes New Clean Air Act Cost-Benefit Process

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed a new rule that for the first time would establish "best practices" for how costs and benefits are used in Clean Air Act rulemakings and would sideline a popular benefits accounting method favored by the Obama administration.

  • June 04, 2020

    Mooring Co. Sues Wind Energy Biz Over Unpaid $7M Bill

    Mooring and offshore construction company InterMoor on Wednesday filed a suit against Baltimore-based offshore wind energy company U.S. Wind in New York federal court, claiming it refused to pay a more than $7 million bill for work on a Maryland offshore wind farm.

  • June 04, 2020

    Kids Say 6th Circ. Flint Ruling Supports Their Climate Case

    The kids suing the federal government for endangering their future by failing to curb climate change have told the Ninth Circuit that a Sixth Circuit ruling that Michigan officials must face Flint water crisis claims bolsters their effort to revive their own case.

  • June 04, 2020

    Spencer Fane Snags Environmental Litigator From Polsinelli

    Spencer Fane LLP has hired an environmental attorney from Polsinelli PC who brings decades of experience handling enforcement and litigation matters.

  • June 04, 2020

    1st Circ. Nixes Permit For Enbridge Unit Pipeline Facility

    The First Circuit has vacated an air pollution permit for a Massachusetts facility that is part of the $1 billion Atlantic Bridge pipeline project operated by a unit of an Enbridge Inc. subsidiary, saying it was improperly approved by state regulators.

  • June 04, 2020

    4th Circ. Says Feds Immune From Army Dam Breach Cases

    The Fourth Circuit has affirmed a lower court and said the federal government is immune from lawsuits brought by residents and businesses that were damaged when two dams breached in 2015 at a military base in Columbia, South Carolina, after a heavy rainstorm.

  • June 03, 2020

    PG&E Warns Of 'Draconian' Results If Bankruptcy Plan Denied

    Pacific Gas and Electric Co. urged a U.S. bankruptcy judge to confirm its $58 billion reorganization plan during a bench trial Wednesday, slamming an objector's allegations of a potential conflict of interest as "absolutely preposterous" and warning of "draconian" results for wildfire victims if the plan is not confirmed.

  • June 03, 2020

    9th Circ. Nixes EPA Approval Of Dicamba Herbicides

    The Ninth Circuit on Wednesday vacated a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decision allowing the herbicide dicamba to be used on cotton and soybean crops, saying the regulator "substantially understated" the risks associated with the weedkiller produced by several major agrochemical companies.

  • June 03, 2020

    DC Judge Weighs Stopping Grizzly Kills Under Grazing Plan

    A D.C. federal judge on Wednesday asked whether environmentalists' request for an injunction blocking a federal plan allowing the killing of grizzlies in the Yellowstone ecosystem to protect cattle was overbroad and would make little change in the number of grizzlies that die.

  • June 03, 2020

    Mine Owned By W.Va Gov. Can't Escape Water Pollution Suit

    A settlement agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency doesn't bar a coalition of environmental groups' suit against a West Virginia coal company run by the state's governor, a federal court ruled Wednesday.

  • June 03, 2020

    Philly Refinery Gets OK On Ch. 11 Deal To Cap EPA Claims

    The operator of a sprawling Philadelphia oil refinery received approval Wednesday from a Delaware bankruptcy judge for a settlement that will cap its obligations related to environmental regulatory rules at $10 million, down from the $35 million asserted by the federal government.

Expert Analysis

  • Law Firms Must Beware Risks In Nontraditional Financing

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    Law firms in today's financial crisis may be looking at nontraditional arrangements such as portfolio funding or factoring to provide liquidity and cash support, but firms must first consider lawsuits brought against Pierce Bainbridge and other recent developments, says Katherine Toomey at Lewis Baach.

  • Calif. Vapor Intrusion Guidance Promises More Consistency

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    The draft guidance on vapor intrusion released recently by a group of California environmental agencies should help address confusion resulting from varying approaches to vapor investigation and remediation used by different state regulators, says Laurie Berger at Environmental General Counsel.

  • 'The Government Said I Could' As A Defense During COVID-19

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    Pursuant to long-recognized due process principles, litigants should be entitled to reasonably rely on governmental directives related to COVID-19, and, in appropriate cases, assert it as complete defense to civil liability, say attorneys at Butler Snow.

  • Ruling Loosens Regs On Pa. Renewable Customer-Generators

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    The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court's recent ruling in Hommrich v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission may narrow the regulator's role in overseeing interconnection and net metering of renewable energy customer-generators, and loosen customer-generator eligibility standards, say John Povilaitis and Alan Seltzer at Buchanan Ingersoll.

  • The EPA's Action Plan On PFAS, One Year Later

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    While little progress has been made in the year since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its action plan on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, stakeholders should anticipate how their interests and liabilities will shift when PFAS are designated as hazardous substances, say attorneys at Kelley Drye.

  • 2 Tested Alternatives To Unavoidable Court Delays

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    Those seeking resolution in commercial disputes that are stuck in an unavoidable but lengthy court backlog due to the pandemic must consider the advantages of arbitration and mediation over court proceedings, says former U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin now at Stroock.

  • Opinion

    Minn. Ruling Represents Sensible Stance On Legal Finance

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    The Minnesota Supreme Court's Maslowski v. Prospect Funding Partners decision this week reaffirms that the doctrine of champerty is archaic, impedes important litigation finance activity, and should be abolished in the handful of states where it remains alive, says Andrew Cohen at Burford Capital.

  • Best Practices For A Paperless Law Practice

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    A significant challenge in practicing law remotely is the use and handling of documents without paper, because common digital tools such as email or even secure file transfer applications are problematic, say attorneys at Baker McKenzie.

  • How To Avoid A Legal Mess When Disinfecting Workplaces

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    As companies plan for increased cleaning and disinfection to prevent outbreaks of COVID-19 in the workplace, they must make sure their product usage is consistent with both federal and local rules and guidance, say attorneys at Orrick.

  • Opinion

    Lawyers Must Address Racial Injustice With Radical Candor

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    The legal industry is uniquely positioned, and indeed obligated, to respond to the racial disparities made clear by the recent killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, but lawyers must be willing to be uncomfortable, says Tiffani Lee at Holland & Knight.

  • Studying The Post-Pandemic Juror By Generation

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    A close look at the life experiences unique to baby boomers, Generation X, millennials and others can offer valuable insight into how the pandemic could shape jurors' opinions in very different ways depending on their birth cohort, say trial consultants at JuryScope.

  • How Lawyers Can Network Better, Virtually And In Person

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    The current decrease in formality and increase in common ground due to the work-from-home environment can make it easier to have a networking conversation, says Megan Burke Roudebush at Keepwith.

  • Practical Tips For Presenting Your Case To Litigation Funders

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    One mistake that attorneys commonly make when presenting a case to a third-party funder is focusing almost exclusively on liability and giving short shrift to the damages analysis — resulting in an aspirational damages estimate that falls apart under scrutiny, say Cindy Ahn and Justin Maleson at Longford Capital and Casey Grabenstein at Saul Ewing.

  • Avoiding Inadvertent Privilege Waivers In E-Communications

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    Attorneys at WilmerHale highlight recent developments in privilege law, the significant challenges raised by nontraditional working arrangements popularized during the pandemic, and ways to avoid waiving attorney-client privilege when using electronic communications.

  • How Energy Co. Buyers Can Limit Environmental Liability Risk

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    As potential buyers look to purchase assets of energy companies driven into bankruptcy by the coronavirus pandemic, there are a number of precautionary steps they should take to reduce the risk of liability for the seller's environmental obligations, say Jacob Hollinger and Darren Azman of McDermott.

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