The landscape of clean air law is going to change dramatically to take greenhouse gases into account, and this effort is already under way at both the state and federal level, says Rick Rothman, chair of Bingham McCutchen LLP's environmental practice group.
Once companies are required to measure their carbon output and disclose the results, there will be a considerable amount of legal work associated with representing and financing the companies that can track and verify carbon, says Susan Mac Cormac, co-chair of Morrison & Foerster LLP's venture capital/emerging companies group and the cleantech group.
When one government entity decides to pursue a matter, then that entity alone should be required to go forward with that matter, as oftentimes there are multiple parties going after the same company for the same issue but with a different motive, says Gordon R. Alphonso, chairman of McGuireWoods LLP's land use and environmental department.
In the area of environmental permitting, we need to level the playing field. With no significant detriment to appealing a permit through every possible stage provided by law, it's very difficult to have meaningful settlement discussions that might allow a project to go forward with agreeable modifications, says Patricia T. Barmeyer, head of King & Spalding LLP's environmental practice group.
Although it is fashionable to predict a flood of global warming mass tort actions, it is more likely the next wave of litigation will be in the areas of greenhouse gas emission reporting laws, "greenwashing," environmental credit abuse or toxic torts related to permitted air emissions, says Philip Comella, chair of Seyfarth Shaw LLP's environmental, safety & toxic torts practice group.
While not a traditional products case, the six-week criminal clean air act trial in United States v. San Diego Gas & Electric was the most challenging, as well as the most surreal, case of my career, says Robert M. Howard, co-chair of Latham & Watkins LLP's product liability, toxic torts and consumer class actions practice group.
The future likely holds more cases arising out of regulated products such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices and food products, as well as an upswing in environmental, toxic tort and lawsuits brought under the False Claims Act, says Andy Bayman, leader of King & Spalding LLP's tort litigation and environmental practice group.
The environmental permitting process needs streamlining — it's replete with redundancies and overlapping jurisdictions, and costly without commensurate environmental benefits, says Kerri L. Barsh, co-chair of Greenberg Traurig’s global environmental and land development practice.
Five environmental advocacy groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, have filed an amicus brief challenging Indeck Energy Service Inc.'s contention that a regional cap-and-trade system for power plants constitutes a tax that New York state administrative agencies don't have the power to levy.
The Obama administration is sending mixed messages. Clearly it has gone on record supporting comprehensive climate change legislation, yet it has also indicated it might try to regulate carbon emissions under the existing Clean Air Act — an approach few think preferable, says Thomas R. Mounteer, a leader in environmental compliance at Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker LLP.
The latest wave of recently decided U.S. Supreme Court cases have reinforced a long-held view that CERCLA should be updated so that it is clearer and, as a result, more predictable, says Jeffrey D. Dintzer, co-chair of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP's environmental litigation & mass tort practice group.
The stimulus package, along with other legislation relating to energy infrastructure, cap-and-trade, and research and development, and the new priorities of the U.S. Department of Energy, will trigger substantial investment in projects and opportunities similar to the early Internet days, says Sarah Fitts, co-chair of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP's energy & natural resources practice group.
Environmental law has become so extensive and complex that regulations, like enabling legislation, may be written without necessary precision in order to defer tough decisions. We need greater clarity in how environmental regulations are written, interpreted and enforced, says F. William Brownell, chair of Hunton & Williams LLP's environmental practice group.
A group of Wisconsinites has sued the companies that run a milling and ethanol plant in Cambria, Wis., over alleged pollution and violations of the Clean Air Act at the site, which the group argues has had an adverse impact on town residents.
A slew of plaintiffs including Washington state and two Indian tribes have asked a judge to approve a deal settling charges that the operator of an oil waste reclamation facility polluted a bay that the U.S. has spent $2.9 million analyzing for environmental damage.
After a contentious four-day markup session, U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., has scored the first victory for his massive climate change bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., clinching first-ever House committee approval for a bill to regulate carbon dioxide.
Several subsidiaries of American International Group Inc. have asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit by Petroleum Products Inc. and Bulk Plants LLC seeking to recover remediation expenses they incurred after discovering that the soil and groundwater at their property had been contaminated.
The U.S. government has accused Kerr-McGee Corp. and its successor Anadarko Petroleum Corp. of fraudulently avoiding hundreds of millions in environmental liabilities by dumping them on Tronox Inc. before spinning it off in 2006, joining a lawsuit Tronox filed earlier this month.
A green parts-cleaning company has won a skirmish in its long-running patent spat with a rival, as a federal judge tossed the defendants' enablement defense in a case over a bioremediation invention after their own expert sunk their arguments.
A citizens group alleging the city of St. Louis exposed the public to asbestos contamination has disputed the city's contention that the group lacks standing to sue because it hasn't shown that future asbestos violations are imminent.