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Environmental

  • September 19, 2018

    NJ Enviro Agency Beats Developer's Suit Over Wetlands

    A New Jersey appeals court on Wednesday sided with the state's Department of Environmental Protection in a challenge to a bar on development for three residential lots, saying the developer could not show how the agency’s designation of the property as wetlands constituted trespass and ejectment.

  • September 19, 2018

    Chevy Drivers Aren't Victims In Emissions Suit, Bosch Says

    A proposed class action against General Motors and electronics engineering firm Robert Bosch LLC alleging the two conspired to design auto systems that eluded emissions test standards fails because it never establishes the consumer as a victim, according to Bosch’s reply brief in support of a motion to dismiss the case.

  • September 19, 2018

    Calif., NM Sue Interior Over Reversal Of Methane Rule

    On the same day the U.S. Department of the Interior finalized a plan to reverse much of an Obama-era rule that sought to reduce methane release from oil and gas operations on federal and tribal lands, California and New Mexico challenged the rollback as harmful and unsupported by facts.

  • September 18, 2018

    Monsanto Fights To Get $289M Verdict Tossed Or A New Trial

    Bayer AG-acquired Monsanto asked a California court Tuesday to set aside a $289 million jury verdict for a man who said its Roundup weed killer caused his cancer, arguing there wasn’t enough evidence to support his claims and asking the court for a ruling in its favor or a new trial.

  • September 18, 2018

    NJ Justices Side With Unpaid Demo Firms In Salvage Suit

    New Jersey’s Supreme Court has sided with unpaid demolition companies in a dispute over a leveled power plant, confirming that the market value of salvaged material can be used to pay what the companies are owed for their work.

  • September 18, 2018

    Consultant Gets 4 Years For Kickback Scheme At NJ Agency

    A New Jersey federal judge on Tuesday slammed a political consultant with a four-year prison term for her role in a kickback scheme at a defunct Newark water agency, saying she was part of the “inner circle of this tremendous fraud" that ultimately brought down the organization.

  • September 18, 2018

    Chevron Wants Donziger Jailed In Fight Over $9.5B Fine

    Chevron Corp. told a New York federal court that attorney Steven Donziger, who helped procure a fraudulent $9.5 billion judgment in Ecuador over pollution in the Amazon, should be jailed if he continues refusing to transfer his interest in the proceeds of that judgment to Chevron.

  • September 18, 2018

    4th Circ. Opinion Curtails Reach Of Clean Water Act

    A recent Fourth Circuit opinion that Dominion Energy Inc.'s coal ash settling ponds aren't considered a "point source" of pollution under the Clean Water Act limits environmental groups in bringing citizen suits to control pollution from similar ponds, experts say.

  • September 18, 2018

    Enviros Threaten To Sue FWS Over Giraffe ESA Protections

    Environmental and animal rights groups on Tuesday threatened to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its alleged failure to respond to a petition to list giraffes as an endangered species.

  • September 18, 2018

    Global Carbon Taxes Still Lag, But There Is Hope, OECD Says

    Worldwide carbon tax rates are still well below estimates of what would be needed to capture the costs of damage to the environment by 2030, though there are reasons for hope, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

  • September 18, 2018

    FWS Asks Justices To Uphold Decision To End Otter Program

    The federal government has asked the U.S. Supreme Court not to take a test of the Chevron deference doctrine in a case brought by California commercial fishing groups arguing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service went beyond its authority in deciding to shutter an experimental program for threatened sea otters.

  • September 18, 2018

    Preemption Lines Blurred In 9th Circ. Hazmat Fee Ruling

    The Ninth Circuit’s recent decision knocking down California's new fee on rail cars transporting hazardous materials but leaving the door open to such a levy if it were "fair" raises new questions on the breadth of federal preemption concerning railroad rates and services, experts say.

  • September 18, 2018

    Interior Finalizes Move On Pulling Back Methane Flaring Rule

    The U.S. Department of the Interior finalized Tuesday a plan to eliminate most of an Obama-era rule aimed at reducing the amount of methane that oil and gas companies release on federal and Native American lands, saying the regulations went far beyond the agency’s authority.

  • September 18, 2018

    Butterball Says Insurer Blatantly Forum-Shopped In $4M Suit

    Turkey giant Butterball LLC came out swinging Monday in a coverage fight with insurer Great American over $4.2 million in pollution cleanup at a Missouri site, saying the insurer sped to sue in North Carolina federal court to avoid the “hell hole” of Missouri courts, where Butterball would rather litigate.

  • September 18, 2018

    EU Probes German Automakers For Emissions Collusion

    Europe’s competition watchdog said Tuesday that it has opened an in-depth investigation into allegations that German automakers Volkswagen AG, BMW AG and Daimler AG colluded to limit the development and implementation of certain emissions control systems.

  • September 18, 2018

    HFC Rule Must Suffer Same Fate As Precursor, DC Circ. Hears

    The D.C. Circuit should nix a 2016 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule that banned the use of hydrofluorocarbons in certain circumstances on the same grounds as it invalidated the agency's 2015 rule limiting HFC use, a pair of chemical companies told the appeals court Monday.

  • September 18, 2018

    Former US Secretaries Back IFC Immunity In High Court Case

    Weighing in on a case brought by a group of Indian nationals over alleged environmental damage from a power plant project, a group of former U.S. secretaries of state and of the Treasury, including John Kerry, has urged the U.S. Supreme Court to continue allowing the International Finance Corp. to be immune from suits, arguing that multilateral development banks are fundamentally different from sovereign states.

  • September 18, 2018

    Drivers Say BMW, Bosch Can't Halt Emissions-Cheating Suit

    Car buyers have told a New Jersey federal judge that BMW of North America LLC and auto parts manufacturer Robert Bosch LLC can't duck allegations that they installed software to cheat emissions testing in diesel model vehicles, saying courts considering similar claims against the likes of Volkswagen AG have held that the conduct is fraud.

  • September 17, 2018

    DC Circ. Delays Voiding Section Of 2008 Ozone Rule

    The D.C. Circuit on Friday agreed to delay until February its voiding of a portion of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2008 ozone standards implementation rule that exempted some areas from transportation-related air quality requirements.

  • September 17, 2018

    EPA Poised To Replace Clean Power Plan, DC Circ. Hears

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday urged the D.C. Circuit to reject a bid by Clean Power Plan supporters to decide the merits of the rule, saying its proposed replacement should be finalized by the first part of 2019.

Expert Analysis

  • The EPA Isn’t Putting Asbestos Back Into Buildings

    Andrew Knudsen

    This summer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sparked public outrage with its proposed "significant new use" rule addressing certain commercial uses of asbestos. But the EPA’s proposed action would actually impose substantial new prohibitions on the listed uses of asbestos — which currently are not regulated by the EPA at all, says Andrew Knudsen of Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP.

  • What The Arkema Indictment Means For Chemical Cos.

    Benjamin Patton

    Last month, a Texas grand jury indicted Arkema Inc., its CEO and a plant manager for allowing a release of air contaminants during Hurricane Harvey. The indictment is legally significant because it represents a criminal prosecution for a safety incident that involved no fatalities or catastrophic environmental harm, say Benjamin Patton and Mary Balaster of Reed Smith LLP.

  • EPA's Clean Energy Proposal: 6 Key Points

    Joel Beauvais

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Affordable Clean Energy rule, released last month, provides states with significant leeway on regulating electric power generation. This would likely mean substantial variations between states and even individual generating units, say Joel Beauvais and Stacey VanBelleghem of Latham & Watkins LLP.

  • Q&A

    Back To School: Widener's Rod Smolla Talks Free Speech

    Rodney Smolla

    In this new series featuring law school luminaries, Widener University Delaware Law School dean Rodney Smolla discusses teaching philosophies, his interest in First Amendment law, and arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court in Virginia v. Black.

  • New Pass-Through Deduction Will Pass Over Many Lawyers

    Evan Morgan

    A few weeks ago, the IRS proposed regulations related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act's 20 percent deduction on qualified business income for pass-through entities. The guidance offers long-awaited clarity, but is mostly bad news for many law firms, says Evan Morgan of Kaufman Rossin PA.

  • How Reckless Judicial Impeachments Threaten Rule Of Law

    Jan van Zyl Smit

    Judicial impeachment fever seems to be spreading through the states, with West Virginia legislators recently voting to remove their state's entire Supreme Court, and lawmakers in Pennsylvania and North Carolina threatening the same. These actions are a serious threat to judicial independence, says Jan van Zyl Smit of the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law.

  • Series

    Judging A Book: Fogel Reviews 'Good Judgment'

    Judge Jeremy Fogel

    In this time of partisan conflict over judicial selection, a new book by Canadian jurist Robert J. Sharpe —​ "Good Judgment" — represents a refreshing, deeply thoughtful departure from binary arguments about how and why judges make decisions, says U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel, director of the Federal Judicial Center.

  • A New Direction For EPA Enforcement Program

    Andrew Stewart

    After two decades, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is overhauling its enforcement framework to shift the focus to nontraditional methods. A push for significant changes in this realm is unsurprising since the agency has much greater running room under the Administrative Procedure Act, say Andrew Stewart and Richard Alonso of Sidley Austin LLP.

  • 10 Ways To Prevent E-Discovery Woes

    Debbie Reynolds

    E-discovery is not easy, but employing these 10 strategies may help minimize future headaches, say Debbie Reynolds and Daryl Gardner of EimerStahl Discovery Solutions LLC.

  • Affordable Clean Energy Rule: A New Path To GHG Reduction

    Jane Montgomery

    The Affordable Clean Energy rule, proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week, is already controversial. Critics focus on limited greenhouse gas reductions from efficiency projects, but the rule works in concert with market forces and existing law, says Jane Montgomery of Schiff Hardin LLP.