Environmental

  • August 18, 2017

    Feds Seek 3 Years For Ex-VW Engineer In Emissions Scandal

    Federal prosecutors asked a Michigan federal judge Friday to sentence ex-Volkswagen AG engineer James Liang to three years in prison after he pled guilty to charges stemming from the diesel emissions scandal, while his attorney sought house arrest and community service.

  • August 18, 2017

    Wash. Justices Won't Rethink Pollution Exclusion Ruling

    The Washington Supreme Court on Thursday refused to disturb its holding in April that a pollution exclusion doesn't negate coverage under a commercial general liability policy when negligence is the primary cause of a loss, a ruling that was hailed by policyholders and maligned by insurance companies.

  • August 18, 2017

    Icahn Quits Post As Trump Adviser After Conflict Concerns

    Activist investor and CVR Energy chair Carl Icahn resigned Friday as President Donald Trump’s special regulatory adviser in the wake of conflict of interest questions related to his renewable-fuel market activities and ownership in insurance giant American International Group.

  • August 18, 2017

    Gold King Spill Vows Could Be Fool's Gold For Pruitt

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt's recent promise to take a fresh look at tort claims over the agency's role in the 2015 Gold King Mine disaster may score political points by trashing his predecessors, but the move is likely to backfire if the agency doesn't follow through with compensation or tackle the threat of future spills, attorneys say.

  • August 18, 2017

    US, TransCanada Seek To Trash Keystone Pipeline ESA Claim

    TransCanada and the U.S. government asked a Montana federal judge on Friday to toss a citizen-suit claim brought under the Endangered Species Act in a suit challenging the government’s approval of permits for the Keystone XL pipeline revived by President Donald Trump, saying environmental groups don’t have standing to bring ESA claims in response to presidential action.

  • August 18, 2017

    Trump Infrastructure Order Shows Strategy Without Clear Plan

    The Trump administration's recent executive order seeking to expedite permitting and approvals for infrastructure projects is an encouraging sign the president is curtailing what he views as overregulation and inching toward advancing his promised — yet still unseen — infrastructure investment proposal, experts say.

  • August 18, 2017

    Calif. Logging Project Exempt From NEPA Review, Judge Says

    A California federal judge has ruled that environmentalists can’t block a U.S. Forest Service-approved logging operation they say harms critical California spotted owl habitat in the state’s Tahoe National Forest because the 5.3-million-acre area was exempt from National Environmental Policy Act review.

  • August 18, 2017

    2nd Circ. Denies Constitution’s $683M NY Pipeline Retry

    The Second Circuit on Friday denied Constitution Pipeline Co. LLC’s request to review a decision by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation that denied the company a water permit for a $683 million natural gas pipeline, saying the company hadn't provided the information the department requested.

  • August 18, 2017

    Corps, Dakota Access Say Pipeline Oil Should Keep Flowing

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Energy Transfer Partners unit behind the controversial Dakota Access crude oil pipeline continued to press a D.C. federal judge Thursday to keep oil flowing while the agency works to fix problems he found with an environmental review.

  • August 18, 2017

    Clark Hill Says It Couldn't Foresee Conflict In VW Appeal

    Clark Hill LLP has requested to withdraw as counsel for consumers from a Ninth Circuit case against Volkswagen, saying it unexpectedly inherited the case after a recent merger and had an obvious conflict as it also represents Volkswagen in other matters.

  • August 18, 2017

    EPA Superfund Cleanup Order Paused Over CERCLA Violation

    A Rhode Island federal judge Thursday found the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made decisions that violated the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act in developing a plan to mitigate health and environmental risks at a Superfund site, saying the remedial action can’t move forward until those decisions are addressed.

  • August 18, 2017

    Feds, Tribe Ask 9th Circ. To Affirm Nix Of Casino Challenge

    The federal government and the Enterprise Rancheria told the Ninth Circuit that it should affirm a district court's rejection of a challenge to its casino brought by another tribe, saying that they had complied with all of the relevant environmental and socioeconomic reviews.

  • August 17, 2017

    Farmers' Toxic Advice Suit Against Monsanto Moves Ahead

    A Missouri federal judge on Thursday trimmed a putative class action that claims Monsanto Co. encouraged farmers to use the highly volatile and drift-prone herbicide dicamba on their genetically modified dicamba-resistant soybean and cotton crops, decimating thousands of acres of farmland surrounding the crops.

  • August 17, 2017

    NY Sues EPA Over Long Island Sound Dumping Grounds

    New York’s governor and attorney general teamed up Thursday to lob a lawsuit at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over a policy designating a section of eastern Long Island Sound as a dumping ground, saying the rule was arbitrary and the disposal site isn’t even needed.

  • August 17, 2017

    Ground Rules Set For Amtrak Cleanup Coverage Battle In NY

    A New York federal judge on Thursday laid ground rules for how a jury should determine whether Amtrak is entitled to coverage from scores of insurance companies for environmental cleanup costs and held that, if multiple policies are triggered, the insurers must spread coverage proportionally on a pro rata basis.

  • August 17, 2017

    Zinke Says Gulf Of Mexico Oil & Gas Lease Sale Netted $121M

    Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said an oil and gas lease sale on Wednesday generated $121 million in high bids for tracts in the Gulf of Mexico, adding that the initiative was part of President Donald Trump’s efforts to make the country “energy dominant.”

  • August 17, 2017

    Jones Walker Adds Enviro Lawyers From Curry & Friend

    Jones Walker LLP has beefed up its environmental litigation practice in Louisiana with the addition of two attorneys from the New Orleans firm Curry & Friend PLC.

  • August 17, 2017

    EPA, Corps Extend Comment Period On Waters Rule Rollback

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers are giving the public more time to comment on a proposal to rescind an Obama-era rule defining the federal government’s permitting jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, the agencies announced Wednesday.

  • August 17, 2017

    Manhattan Project Cleanup Contractor Owes $12.7M: 6th Circ.

    The Sixth Circuit on Thursday upheld a $12.7 million award for extra work carried out by a subcontractor that cleaned up the hazardous waste left behind from the Manhattan Project, but remanded the case to recalculate interest.

  • August 17, 2017

    2nd Circ. Won’t Revisit Clean Energy Ruling Favoring Conn.

    The Second Circuit said Thursday it will not revisit its decision upholding Connecticut’s program for soliciting renewable energy projects and its renewable energy standard against a solar company’s challenge that the state’s regulatory efforts infringed on federal powers and were discriminatory.

Expert Analysis

  • CERCLA’s Jurisdictional Bar To Medical Monitoring Claims

    Thomas Manakides

    Medical monitoring claims against the U.S. Navy have recently foundered on the shoals of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act’s jurisdictional rules. If affirmed, Giovanni v. U.S. Department of the Navy, a case currently pending appeal to the Third Circuit, will set the Third Circuit on course to split with the Ninth Circuit, say Thomas Manakides and Alexander Swanson of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

  • 5 Tips For A Successful Legal Blog

    David Coale

    David Coale, leader of the appellate practice at Lynn Pinker Cox & Hurst LLP, shares his insights into what works — and what does not — when setting up and maintaining a legal blog.

  • Opinion

    It’s Time To Fix FIFRA Preemption

    Lawrence Ebner

    Pesticides, like drugs and other products whose safe use is heavily regulated by the federal government, simply should not be subject to the whims of local government officials. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act is long overdue for an amendment that would expressly and unequivocally preempt all local regulation of pesticide sale and use, says Lawrence Ebner of Capital Appellate Advocacy PLLC.

  • Series

    Judging A Book: Kopf Reviews Posner's 'Federal Judiciary'

    Judge Richard Kopf

    There is a wonderful sketch of Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner dressed in a black robe with arms outstretched as if they were the billowing wings of a lean vulture. He is kicking a human brain down a hallway and wearing a half-smile that looks for all the world like a sneer. That sketch is the perfect metaphor for both Judge Posner and his new book, "The Federal Judiciary: Strengths and Weaknesses," says U.S. District Judge Ri... (continued)

  • A Closer Look At EPA's Approach To CPP Rollback

    Paul Tanaka

    While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken steps toward withdrawing the Clean Power Plan, the question remains whether and how the EPA will regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in its place. Attorneys with Kirkland & Ellis LLP discuss various options and their potential impact.

  • The Use Of Special Masters In Complex Cases

    Shira Scheindlin

    Special master appointments can be very beneficial in resolving disputes quickly, streamlining discovery, handling delicate settlement negotiations, and — somewhat surprisingly — reducing cost and delay, says retired U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin, now with JAMS.

  • Defining ESA's 'Distinct Population Segment' At DC Circ.

    Patrick Parenteau

    The D.C. Circuit's recent decision in Humane Society of the United States v. Zinke marks the fourth time the courts have blocked attempts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist separate populations of wolves under the so-called distinct population segment policy. The ruling is sure to inflame controversy surrounding the Endangered Species Act, says Patrick Parenteau, senior counsel and professor at Vermont Law School.

  • A Plaintiff’s Guide To Discovery Proportionality: Part 2

    Max Kennerly

    Proportionality is often a question of whether discovery production has reached a point of diminishing returns, and about the marginal utility of additional discovery once the core discovery in the case has been completed. In other words, proportionality is a method to avoid going in circles or getting sidetracked, not an excuse for cutting corners, says Max Kennerly of Kennerly Loutey LLC.

  • Roundup

    Notes From A Law Firm Chief Privacy Officer

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    As more law firms become the targets of major cyberattacks, more firms may consider appointing a chief privacy officer. In this series, CPOs at four firms discuss various aspects of this new role.

  • Zero Emissions Credit Litigation: The Road Ahead

    Gordon Coffee

    Last month, federal courts dismissed challenges to zero emissions credit programs in Illinois and New York. But as the plaintiffs appeal, an issue with broad consequences for the energy industry looms: whether anyone other than the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission can ask a federal court to declare that state programs affecting wholesale energy markets are preempted, say Gordon Coffee and Tyson Smith of Winston & Strawn LLP.