Environmental

  • February 24, 2017

    States Look To NEPA Review Power To Spur New Projects

    As states wait for President Donald Trump to unveil a plan to increase investment in the nation’s infrastructure, they could look to leverage a little-known program that expands their authority under the National Environmental Policy Act to expedite highway and other surface transportation improvement projects, experts say.

  • February 24, 2017

    Battery Maker Says DOE Loan Denial Row Belongs In DC Circ.

    A car battery maker continued to press the D.C. Circuit Friday to undo a decision remanding a $15 million loan dispute back to the U.S. Department of Energy, saying the agency’s argument that the appellate court lacks jurisdiction does not hold weight under scrutiny.

  • February 24, 2017

    Vertellus Ch. 11 Remnants Win Plan Confirmation In Del.

    Wind-up plans for remnants of bankrupt chemical maker Vertellus Specialties Inc. won confirmation from a Delaware bankruptcy judge on Friday, bringing the end closer for a Chapter 11 that opened with more than $650 million in financial liabilities and serious pollution burdens.

  • February 24, 2017

    Ecolab Can’t Get Back Docs, Trade Secrets From Ex-Workers

    A Nevada federal judge on Thursday denied a preliminary injunction bid from Ecolab Inc. seeking to take back documents and trade secrets allegedly stolen by former employees, saying the company hasn’t shown a likelihood of success on claims the ex-workers breached employment agreements.

  • February 24, 2017

    EPA Won't Ban Fluoride In U.S. Drinking Water Supplies

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency denied a petition submitted by health advocates that asked the agency to issue a rule banning the practice of adding fluoride to drinking water, saying that claims the substance is harmful to humans are not based in sound science.

  • February 24, 2017

    Fla. High Court Rejects Nuke Plant Appeal From Gov., FPL

    The Florida Supreme Court on Friday declined to review an appeals court's decision nixing gubernatorial approvals for Florida Power & Light Co.'s plans to build two nuclear generating units and 89 miles of transmission lines in South Florida that were challenged by several local governments.

  • February 24, 2017

    Tribal Casino Opponents Say 9th Circ. Has Dibs On Suit

    An activist group and others opposing the construction of a tribe’s $400 million casino near San Diego told a California federal court Thursday that it must vacate its recent dismissal of one of the group’s claims and let the Ninth Circuit rule on the rest of the claims in the suit.

  • February 24, 2017

    Commission OKs South Jersey Gas Pipeline Amid Protest

    The New Jersey Pinelands Commission on Friday approved South Jersey Gas’ proposal for a 21.6-mile natural gas pipeline that would traverse the state’s environmentally sensitive Pine Barrens despite questions over whether the plan meets the objectives of the region’s management goals.

  • February 24, 2017

    Texas Justices Limit Ranch's Pollution Case Against Exxon

    The Texas Supreme Court on Friday limited a groundwater contamination suit against ExxonMobil Corp., cutting claims based on two abandoned wells on a ranch in West Texas as time-barred, but allowing claims based on wells still operating to move forward.

  • February 24, 2017

    DOI Slams Brakes On Mineral Royalty Rule Amid Court Fight

    The U.S. Department of the Interior recently said it will hold off on implementing the Obama administration's update of how lease royalties for minerals on federal and Native American lands are calculated, until legal challenges to the revisions play out.

  • February 24, 2017

    $150M Atty Fees Slammed In Dow, Boeing Nuke Pollution Case

    A member of a class of residents who reached a $375 million settlement with Dow Chemical Co. and a Boeing Co. unit over exposure to nuclear waste on Thursday said the class’s attorneys don’t deserve the $150 million in fees they’ve asked for.

  • February 24, 2017

    Deal In Calif. Power Plant Emissions Suit Gets Green Light

    A federal judge on Thursday approved a deal that puts to rest Clean Air Act claims asserted by the federal government and the California air quality regulator against the operator of a biomass-fired power plant, despite objections raised by the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe.

  • February 24, 2017

    Chevron Admits Risks Of Climate Change Probes, Litigation

    Chevron Corp. on Thursday acknowledged to investors that increasingly aggressive public efforts to combat climate change could eventually strand its oil and gas resources underground, as well as open the company up to governmental probes and litigation, a fate that has already befallen fellow energy giant ExxonMobil Corp.

  • February 24, 2017

    4th Circ. Won't Take New Look At Ex-Massey CEO’s Conviction

    The Fourth Circuit refused Friday to rehear former Massey Energy Co. CEO Don Blankenship’s appeal of his conviction for conspiring to violate mine safety laws before a 2010 coal mine explosion that killed 29 people, declining to re-examine claims that that the jury was given faulty instructions.

  • February 24, 2017

    Scalpel, Not Sledgehammer, Seen As Pruitt's Best Bet

    While U.S. Environmental Protection Agency boss Scott Pruitt is poised to roll back climate change regulations crafted by the Obama administration, it's not exactly clear how he'll achieve that goal. But experts say narrowing the existing regulations carries fewer legal risks than assailing the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

  • February 24, 2017

    AES, Alberta Investment Pay $853M For Solar Co. sPower

    AES Corp. and Alberta Investment Management Corp. have agreed to pay about $853 million to acquire the largest independent owner, operator and developer of utility-scale solar assets in the U.S. from private equity firm Fir Tree Partners, the companies said Friday.

  • February 24, 2017

    Okla. AG Seeks To Block More Pruitt Email Releases

    The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office on Thursday asked the state Supreme Court to nix an order that it turn over a new trove of documents related to new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s time as AG, saying that a lower court judge violated the office’s due process rights.

  • February 24, 2017

    Hemlock Asks 6th Circ. To Affirm $3.5M Fee In Contract Row

    Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. has told the Sixth Circuit it should affirm a $3.5 million attorneys' fees award in a supply contract dispute with a SolarWorld unit, saying that the awarding district court did not abuse its discretion and that the unit’s objections ring hollow.

  • February 24, 2017

    New Exxon CEO Makes Case For US Carbon Tax

    The new chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil Corp. on Thursday reaffirmed his company's support of a U.S. carbon tax, calling it an effective way to tackle climate change without significantly harming the economy.

  • February 24, 2017

    Trump Orders Agencies To Create Deregulation Task Forces

    Flanked by some of the nation’s top manufacturing executives, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday directing federal agencies to create task forces to identify burdensome regulations ready for the chopping block, promising the end of “an impossible situation” for U.S. companies and new economic growth.

Expert Analysis

  • What Lawyers Can Learn From Kellyanne Conway

    Michelle Samuels

    Presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway's TV appearances provide some examples of what lawyers should and shouldn't do when speaking to the media, says Michelle Samuels, a vice president of public relations at Jaffe.

  • The Uncertain Future Of PURPA, A Key To Renewable Energy

    Larry Eisenstat

    The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act was enacted in 1978 to encourage development of alternative energy resources. But PURPA's opponents want to see it amended or repealed. With the law’s supporters staying relatively quiet, calls for reform may gain traction with the new Congress and the Trump administration, say attorneys from Crowell & Moring LLP.

  • The Mistakes Lawyers Make When Copying And Pasting

    Robert D. Lang

    We all recognize that cutting or copying text from earlier works and pasting it into new documents saves attorneys time. However, with this increase in speed comes an increased risk of making, or not catching, errors, says Robert Lang of D’Amato & Lynch LLP.

  • 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.