Environmental

  • 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.

  • August 17, 2017

    NJ Gets OK To Take Beachfront Land For Shore Protection

    A New Jersey state judge said Wednesday that the state could acquire portions of private beachfront properties via eminent domain for shore-protection measures, saying property owners made a compelling argument against the need for the project in their area, but the expertise of state environmental officials deserves “great weight.”

  • August 17, 2017

    Pa. Environmental Regulators To Weigh Limits On Carcinogen

    In the wake of lawsuits from Philadelphia-area residents over alleged water contamination from nearby military facilities, Pennsylvania environmental regulators agreed on Wednesday to study whether to cap the amount of a certain cancer-causing chemical in drinking water supplies.

  • August 17, 2017

    SolarCity Must Face Cogenra's Unfair Competition Suit

    Elon Musk's solar power company SolarCity Corp. can't escape a competitor’s unfair and unlawful competition suit alleging it stole trade secrets after breaking a promise to partner because it’s plausible Cogenra Solar Inc. relied on that promise when it turned down offers from other interested parties, a California federal judge said on Wednesday.

  • August 17, 2017

    Ohio Regulators Affirm $204M FirstEnergy Subsidy

    The Public Utility Commission of Ohio on Wednesday affirmed FirstEnergy's ability to collect a $204 million annual subsidy over at least the next three years, deciding the money will provide the company with capital and enhance its financial health despite objections from environmental groups that called the subsidy unsound.

  • August 16, 2017

    Pa. Landowner Says Rival's Mining Permit Issued In Error

    A Pennsylvania landowner told the state’s Environmental Hearing Board on Wednesday that the Department of Environmental Protection improperly renewed a surface mining permit to a rival in the ash disposal business, saying the company had forfeited its bond for work on the site by failing to comply with previous requirements.

Expert Analysis

  • 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.

  • A Plaintiff’s Guide To Discovery Proportionality: Part 1

    Max Kennerly

    In December 2015, the parts of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure concerning proportionality in discovery were amended. The amendments changed the language defining the scope of relevance, but substantively, this remains the same as it has been for nearly 40 years, says Max Kennerly of Kennerly Loutey LLC.

  • Series

    Notes From A Law Firm Chief Privacy Officer: New Demands

    Phyllis Sumner

    For outside counsel, oftentimes efficiency and responsiveness collide with security measures as clients are increasingly requiring their law firms to comply with third-party risk management programs. To meet these challenges, law firms are focusing more on the roles of chief privacy officer and chief information security officer, says Phyllis Sumner, chief privacy officer for King & Spalding LLP.

  • EPA Report Offers Glimpse Into Future Of Superfund

    Darrin Munoz

    Some of the recommendations in a report recently released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency represent a significant change of direction from the way the EPA has traditionally handled the Superfund program. These changes will be helpful for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s goal of moving sites to completion faster than they have in the past, say Darrin Munoz and Delmar Ehrich of Faegre Baker Daniels.

  • Opinion

    It's Time To Improve Voir Dire In Federal Court

    Lisa Blue

    During the jury selection process, many times parties submit proposed voir dire questions, but the court ultimately chooses the questions to be asked and does all of the questioning of the jury panel. While this approach is judicially efficient, rarely do we learn anything meaningful from the panel members, say Lisa Blue of Baron and Blue and Robert Hirschhorn of Cathy E. Bennett & Associates.

  • When Federal And State Railroad Regulation Collide

    Elizabeth Lake

    A recent California Supreme Court decision held that the California Environmental Quality Act is not categorically preempted by federal law with regard to rail projects in the state. But this ruling directly conflicts with the federal Surface Transportation Board's own determination about its jurisdiction, say Elizabeth Lake and Daniel Golub of Holland & Knight LLP.

  • Series

    Notes From A Law Firm Chief Privacy Officer: Insider Risks

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    As law firms hold sensitive information not only related to the firm but to the firm’s clients, an insider threat — whether it's a "bad actor employee" or inadvertent activity — poses a particular concern. There are steps that privacy officers can initiate to help minimize these threats, says Patricia Wagner, chief privacy officer for Epstein Becker Green.

  • DC Circ. And 4th Circ. Strengthen FCA First-To-File Bar

    John Elwood

    Last month, the D.C. Circuit in Cellco and the Fourth Circuit in Halliburton ruled that the first-to-file bar requires dismissal of False Claims Act actions brought while an earlier-filed action was pending, even if that earlier-filed action was later dismissed. It just became much harder for relators to bring qui tam cases related to earlier FCA actions, say John Elwood and Ralph Mayrell of Vinson & Elkins LLP.