Environmental

  • February 22, 2017

    9th Circ. Won't Reconsider Decision To Arctic Protect Seal

    The Ninth Circuit on Wednesday denied a request from oil and gas interests, Alaskan local governments, and Native American tribes to reconsider a panel’s decision that the National Marine Fisheries Service reasonably relied on climate change projections to determine that an Arctic seal population would be endangered by the end of the century.

  • February 22, 2017

    Tribes Tell 8th Circ. Sanctions Unwarranted In Pipeline Row

    Officials for the Three Affiliated Tribes asked the Eighth Circuit on Tuesday not to sanction them for bringing a second appeal in Paradigm Energy Partners LLC’s lawsuit seeking to block them from interfering with the construction of a pair of pipelines underneath a lake on their land in North Dakota, saying their request for a review is not frivilous.

  • February 22, 2017

    10th Circ. Says Congress Diminished Tribes' Reservation

    In a precedential ruling Wednesday, the Tenth Circuit held that Congress diminished the boundaries of a Wyoming reservation shared by two Native American tribes in 1905, despite the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's determination to the contrary.

  • February 22, 2017

    A Hobbled FERC No Disaster For Energy Cos., For Now

    While the electricity and natural gas industries aren't panicking yet over the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's recent loss of a quorum and lack of commissioner nominees on the horizon, experts say serious problems will arise if FERC's impotence isn't rectified before the end of this summer.

  • February 22, 2017

    Fla. Dealt Blow In Water Rights Tussle, But Options Remain

    Florida suffered a major setback last week from a U.S. Supreme Court-appointed special master in its long-running dispute with Georgia over water rights, but experts say it's not the end of the road for the state, which still has options both in court and in Congress to cap Georgia’s water usage and divert more freshwater to Apalachicola Bay to revive the fishing industry there.

  • February 22, 2017

    Automakers Push EPA To Withdraw Obama Emissions Standards

    The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers on Tuesday urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw a final rule governing greenhouse gas emissions standards for 2022 through 2025 model year cars and light trucks, arguing the agency improperly rushed to take action before President Donald Trump took office.

  • February 22, 2017

    Feds, Dakota Access Fight Religious Opposition To Pipeline

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Dakota Access LLC both urged a D.C. federal judge on Tuesday to reject a bid by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe to block construction of the company's pipeline based on claims the project violates the tribe's exercise of religion, saying the tribe waited too long to raise the claims.

  • February 22, 2017

    Enviro Group Sues To Halt Boston Luxury Condos

    An environmental group has filed suit in Massachusetts state court to block the development of a luxury condo project in Boston’s bustling Seaport district, arguing that the project will benefit private parties at the expense of the public.

  • February 22, 2017

    Exxon Rushed Refinery Repairs Before $537M Sale, Suit Says

    ExxonMobil Corp. is facing a proposed class action in California state court accusing the oil giant of hazardously operating a refinery in the run-up to an explosion that released harmful pollutants into the air, and then rushing shoddy repairs in the aftermath of the blast to push through a half-billion-dollar sale.

  • February 22, 2017

    Lear Tells Del. Judge It Isn’t Blocking $60M Escrow Fund

    Auto parts company Lear Corp. urged a Delaware federal judge Wednesday to throw out a lawsuit from ESG Holdings LLC, which claims Lear is holding up the $60 million environmental escrow fund from its purchase of a car seat maker from ESG in 2014, arguing ESG is misreading the deal.

  • February 22, 2017

    Gov't Trims Land O'Lakes' Defenses In $23M Cleanup Spat

    An Oklahoma federal judge dealt a blow to Land O’Lakes Inc. in the federal government’s suit seeking $23.4 million for the cleanup of an oil refinery previously owned by the dairy company, agreeing Wednesday that a number of its affirmative defenses and a pair of counterclaims don’t hold up.

  • February 22, 2017

    Pa. DEP Urges State Justices To Deny Drilling Rule Challenge

    State environmental regulators urged Pennsylvania's highest court Tuesday to affirm a decision recognizing their authority to demand drillers outline the potential environmental impacts of proposed oil and gas wells despite a landmark ruling three years ago suggesting the requirement, part of a controversial law known as Act 13, was void.

  • February 22, 2017

    Pruitt Emails Show Ties With Fossil Fuel Players

    As Oklahoma’s attorney general, recently confirmed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt worked closely with fossil fuel industry groups and similarly minded academics and political organizations to fight federal government environmental and energy regulations and policies, according to thousands of pages of emails released Wednesday.

  • February 22, 2017

    Tribe Has No Basis For Water Rights Suit, Well Owners Say

    Arizona groundwater well owners further urged an Arizona federal judge in several briefs Tuesday to toss a suit by the Havasupai Tribe accusing them of illegally depleting an aquifer that provides water to the tribe, with some saying the suit is unprecedented and can’t proceed.

  • February 22, 2017

    CPSC Agrees To Issue Toy Safety Regs After 2-Year Delay

    The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Natural Resources Defense Council have reached an agreement in principle for the federal agency to ban from children’s products five chemicals that may cause reproductive harm — more than two years after the CPSC was supposed to promulgate the rules, attorneys told a federal judge in New York Wednesday.

  • February 22, 2017

    Ex-Locke Lord Privacy Head, 3 Others Join Reed Smith

    A pair of seasoned environmental and privacy litigators, including the former leader of Locke Lord’s cybersecurity practice, and two experienced associates have landed at Reed Smith LLP, bolstering the firm’s already deep 60-attorney office in Houston, according to an announcement on Tuesday.

  • February 21, 2017

    DOI Had Power To Release Water For Salmon, 9th Circ. Says

    The Ninth Circuit on Tuesday partly overturned and partly affirmed a lower court ruling that dismissed a challenge to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s decisions to release water from a dam to help preserve a Native American fishing ground, saying the department had broader power than the lower court recognized to protect fish and wildlife in a California river.

  • February 21, 2017

    GOP Reps Ask EPA To Extend Mining Rule Comment Period

    A trio of Republican committee chairmen in the House asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday to extend the comment period on a proposed rule that would require participants in the hardrock mining industry to show they can cover the costs of environmental hazards stemming from their operations.

  • February 21, 2017

    Texas Defends Enviro Review Of Austin Highway Project

    The Texas Department of Transportation on Monday told a Texas federal judge a highway expansion project outside of Austin, Texas, had gone through proper environmental screening, firing back against claims from project opponents that the project should be halted.

  • February 21, 2017

    VW Says 470K Diesel Cars In UK Now Fixed

    A Volkswagen executive in the U.K. told lawmakers there on Monday that the automaker has fixed nearly half a million diesel vehicles out of the 1.2 million cars in the country caught up in the emissions scandal and that British customers weren’t misled about emissions.

Expert Analysis

  • Opinion

    Calif. Court Gets Automatic Funding Disclosure Right

    Matthew D. Harrison

    Detractors of litigation funding have strained to characterize a recent decision from a California federal court as significant headway in their crusade against the litigation funding industry. However, in truth, this is a victory for both the industry and those in need of capital to bring meritorious claims against wrongdoers in an often prohibitively expensive legal system, say Matthew Harrison and Priya G. Pai of Bentham IMF.

  • Who Would Face Liability For Oroville Dam Management?

    Brett Moore

    The Butte County, California, sheriff recently ordered the evacuation of more than 180,000 people in the communities surrounding the Oroville Dam after officials spotted severe erosion in its emergency spillway. Although other avenues may exist to pursue liability against the agencies involved in management of the facilities, those agencies might avoid state tort liability on preemption grounds, says Brett Moore of Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP.

  • 2-For-1 Executive Order Leaves OMB To Work Out Details

    Laurence Platt

    While President Donald Trump’s recent executive order reducing regulations may seem appealing in its simplicity, the White House has provided agencies with little guidance on its implementation, instructing them to call the Office of Management and Budget with questions. Yet the OMB's ability to provide answers will be impaired by a lack of clear legal standards, say Laurence Platt and Joy Tsai of Mayer Brown LLP.

  • Legal Pot Industry Bugged By Lack Of Pesticide Guidance

    Telisport W. Putsavage

    Marijuana cultivation suffers from the same pest and disease pressure as any large commercial greenhouse operation. However, the circumstance unique to this setting is that any use of a pesticide in the cultivation of marijuana is a violation of federal law, says Telisport Putsavage of Putsavage PLLC.

  • Jurors In Toxic Tort Litigation Take Genetics Seriously

    David Schwartz

    Can jurors grasp the role of genetics in personal injury claims alleged to arise from exposure to specific chemicals? A recent asbestos trial featured a discussion of the plaintiff's genetic mutations as a factor in her mesothelioma. Trial lawyers should be thinking about how juries understand cancer, genetics and disease causation, say David Schwartz of Innovative Science Solutions and Kirk Hartley of LSP Group LLC.

  • Trump’s Enviro Law Impact May Not Be What Many Anticipate

    Lester Sotsky

    Many posit a material decline in environmental enforcement and a retrenchment or reversal of environmental regulatory initiatives in the new Trump administration. We expect three concrete areas where activism and activity will be on the rise during this time, targeting a variety of environmental, public health and liability issues of considerable potential consequences, say Lester Sotsky and Andy Wang of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP.

  • In Retrospect

    Relearning The Lessons Of Korematsu's Case

    Randy Maniloff

    Fred Korematsu’s U.S. Supreme Court case challenging President Franklin Roosevelt’s executive order that led to the incarceration of approximately 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry may sound like ancient history. However, Feb. 19 marks the 75th anniversary of the order's signing, and that it’s celebrating its diamond anniversary now is breathtaking timing, says Randy Maniloff of White and Williams LLP.

  • Individual Defense In The Shadow Of Corporate Guilty Pleas

    Jessica K. Nall

    Corporate guilty pleas can be expected to have serious implications for the individual executives and employees alleged to have been involved in the conduct under scrutiny. But whether their corporate employer pleads guilty or pursues an alternative resolution, there are other factors at play that can make a bigger difference to the eventual outcome for individuals, say Jessica Nall and Janice Reicher of Farella Braun & Martel LLP.

  • How A General Counsel Should Think About AI: Part 2

    Bruce J. Heiman

    General counsels face the challenging task of understanding how companies can navigate the rules surrounding uses of artificial intelligence. To get smart on AI, general counsels must ask the right questions about areas such as human resources, intellectual property, liability and insurance, say Bruce Heiman and Elana Reman of K&L Gates LLP.

  • How A General Counsel Should Think About AI: Part 1

    Bruce J. Heiman

    Though the Trump administration has yet to make an official statement regarding artificial intelligence, support for AI is consistent with its expressed desire to promote American business. As such, general counsel will inevitably have to navigate what big data and AI mean for compliance with current and future laws and regulations, say Bruce Heiman and Elana Reman of K&L Gates LLP.