Environmental

  • August 15, 2017

    Slawson Exploration Gets OK To Drill During Tribal Row

    A federal judge gave Slawson Exploration Co. Inc. the green light Tuesday to continue drilling operations in North Dakota while the Interior Board of Land Appeals hears a challenge by the Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation.

  • August 15, 2017

    Calif. Farmer To Pay Fine To End Fight Over Wetlands

    A California farmer accused of plowing over protected wetlands in violation of the Clean Water Act reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday just before the start of a trial on damages, agreeing to shell out $1.1 million to cover mitigation and civil penalties.

  • August 15, 2017

    EPA Must Exempt Wyo. Refineries From Biofuel Rules

    The Tenth Circuit on Tuesday reversed an EPA decision that refused to give two small refineries an exemption to the Renewable Fuel Standards portion of the Clean Air Act, saying the agency exceeded its authority by using an extreme definition of when oil operations can skip the fuel requirements.

  • August 15, 2017

    Pa. Court Favors Enviros In Fight Over Consol Coal Mine

    The Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board on Tuesday delivered a victory to environmental groups challenging Consol Energy Inc.'s expansion of the largest underground coal mining operation in North America, rejecting a revised permit that allowed the company to damage a nearby stream.

  • August 15, 2017

    Trump Admin. Cites Progress On NRDC Climate Info Queries

    The Trump administration told a Manhattan federal judge Tuesday that it expects to be able to submit soon a schedule for production of the thousands of unfilled freedom of information requests by the Natural Resources Defense Council by next month as agencies scurry to comply with the past-due requests.

  • August 15, 2017

    ND Floats Deal With Dakota Access In Cultural Site Dispute

    The North Dakota Public Service Commission offered Dakota Access LLC a deal Monday to resolve allegations that it failed to immediately notify the state regulator about the discovery of a cultural site during work on its controversial $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile crude oil pipeline.

  • August 15, 2017

    3rd Circ. Denies NJ Town's Bid To Stay Dune Construction

    The Third Circuit on Tuesday refused a New Jersey beachfront town’s urgent request to temporarily halt a federally funded dune construction project so authorities can address the pools of contaminated water that the work has apparently produced, and left open the question of whether a district judge’s order greenlighting the project can even be appealed. 

  • August 15, 2017

    Judge Blocks Mont. Coal Mine Expansion For Lack Of Study

    A Montana district judge on Monday told the U.S. Office of Surface Mining and Enforcement to revisit its approval of Signal Peak Energy LLC's coal mine expansion plan, saying the office’s environmental assessment of the project didn’t take a hard look at its effect on greenhouse gas emissions.

  • August 14, 2017

    Exxon Scores Nix Of Pipeline Violations At 5th Circ.

    The Fifth Circuit on Monday vacated several violations that were part of a $2.6 million fine levied by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration against ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. over an Arkansas oil spill.

  • August 14, 2017

    EPA To Move Ahead On Power Plant Wastewater Rule Revision

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt told the Fifth Circuit on Monday the agency will start the process of revising portions of an Obama-era rule that established stricter rules for treating wastewater from steam-powered electricity generators.

  • August 14, 2017

    Gas Pipeline Projects Top FERC To-Do List

    Now that its quorum has been restored, one of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's top priorities will be breaking the logjam of natural gas pipeline projects needing approval that built up over the six months since the body was last able to perform its duties.

  • August 14, 2017

    Lear Gets $60M Escrow Fund Suit Tossed

    A Delaware federal judge on Monday dismissed a suit over nearly $60 million placed in escrow for environmental liabilities during the sale of a car upholstery company, saying that the contract was unambiguous and the buyer, Lear Corp., has fulfilled all the criteria to keep it there as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency works on a remediation project.

  • August 14, 2017

    Judge Orders Seawalls Removed So Sea Turtles Can Nest

    A South Carolina federal judge on Monday issued a preliminary injunction to nix experimental seawalls along the beaches of two coastal islands, after the Sierra Club argued that the structures made it dangerous for endangered sea turtles to nest.

  • August 14, 2017

    Slawson Exploration Wants ND Drill Stay Lifted In Tribal Row

    Slawson Exploration Co. Inc. on Friday asked a North Dakota federal court to allow the company to continue drilling while a review of its permits by the Interior Board of Land Appeals is underway, saying the company will suffer significant losses if it’s forced to stop.

  • August 14, 2017

    Enviros Challenge EPA's Chemical Risk Rules In 3 Circuits

    Several leading environmental groups have filed legal challenges to two new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules that they say weaken the revised Toxic Substances Control Act, including a framework for evaluating chemical risks and a method of prioritizing chemicals for review.

  • August 14, 2017

    Sierra Club Sues DOE For Grid Study Info

    The Sierra Club sued the U.S. Department of Energy in California federal court Monday over an allegedly overdue Freedom of Information Act request for details on communications concerning an electric grid study that the environmental group fears could be biased in favor of fossil fuels.

  • August 14, 2017

    Sungevity Pushes For Structured Dismissal Despite Objection

    The bankruptcy estate for rooftop solar firm Sungevity pushed back Monday against the U.S. trustee’s office’s opposition to its proposed structured dismissal, arguing that without the relief, it is forced to choose between two bad choices, neither of which would yield much of a recovery for creditors.

  • August 14, 2017

    EFH, NextEra Units Work Toward Settling Wind Credit Row

    An Energy Future Holdings Corp. unit and a NextEra Energy Inc. subsidiary have a tentative deal in the works to settle a multimillion-dollar dispute over wind farm credits, the companies told a Texas appeals court on Friday.

  • August 14, 2017

    Spain Can't Nix €128M Award Over Green Subsidies, Cos. Say

    Two foreign companies that won a more than €128 million ($150 million) arbitral award against Spain over renewable energy subsidies asked a New York federal judge Friday not to vacate the award, saying the motion should instead be paused pending appeal.

  • August 14, 2017

    Mass. Pair Arrested Over $50M In Energy Grant Applications

    A Massachusetts couple has been arrested over accusations of submitting more than $50 million worth of fraudulent tax-free energy grant applications, of which they received more than $8 million for nonexistent renewable energy spending.

Expert Analysis

  • Cybersecurity Risks In The Courtroom

    Daniel Garrie

    As cybercriminals continue to look for easy targets, the court system will surely enter their crosshairs. If judges and court personnel do not maintain proper data security and cyber hygiene, confidential litigant information can fall into the hands of a wide variety of bad actors, say Daniel Garrie of JAMS, David Cass of IBM Cloud, Joey Johnson of Premise Health Inc. and Richard Rushing of Motorola Mobility LLC.

  • Opinion

    Fossil Fuel Industry’s 'Tobacco Moment' Has Arrived

    Douglas Kysar

    Climate change lawsuits have been filed before, but the recent lawsuits filed against several of the largest oil, gas and coal producers by two California counties and one city are different than earlier efforts for three important reasons, says Douglas Kysar, a professor of law at Yale University.

  • Monthly Column

    Gray Matters: Clients Are Not Really 'Emotional'

    Gray Matters

    When you look at your client through the "survival circuit" lens, what first appeared as an emotional mess is now valuable information about what is important to them, what needs have to be met to settle the case, or what further clarity your client requires before moving forward, say dispute resolution experts Selina Shultz and Robert Creo.

  • Avoiding The Rotten Compromise In Mass Litigation

    Ted Mayer

    Product liability litigation is often resolved through compromise. But not all compromises are equal. If a settlement achieves peace at unknown cost, does not resolve the most serious claims, or permits new claims to be filed for decades into the future, it is a rotten compromise and should be avoided, say Ted Mayer and Robb Patryk of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP.

  • Having A Chief Privacy Officer Reassures Your Firm's Clients

    Rita Heimes

    When a law firm appoints a chief privacy officer, not only does the firm benefit from the crucial operational impact of a well-managed privacy program, but clients see how seriously you take your duties of confidentiality and competence, says Rita Heimes, research director at the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

  • Water Suppliers Litigation Is Making Waves In 2017

    Kelly McTigue

    So far, 2017 has seen some important movement in litigation involving water suppliers across the country. States including California, Georgia and Iowa are seeing pivotal moments in many long-running disputes about water-usage rights and water quality, say attorneys with O'Melveny & Myers LLP.

  • Methane Rule Decision Shows Regulatory Process Is Key

    J. Michael Showalter

    The Trump administration has placed regulatory reform — particularly related to environmental matters — at the forefront of its agenda. But the D.C. Circuit's recent decision on the methane rule demonstrates that the administration’s attempts to roll back regulations in unconventional ways is clashing with the mechanics of how the federal government operates, say J. Michael Showalter and Kaitlin Straker of Schiff Hardin LLP.

  • Weekly Column

    Innovating For Wise Juries: Discussions Before Deliberations

    Richard Lorren Jolly

    To be sure, allowing jurors to discuss evidence before final deliberations proved to be among the least popular of our recommended innovations. But empirical evidence belies these fears, say Stephen Susman, Richard Lorren Jolly and Dr. Roy Futterman of the NYU School of Law Civil Jury Project.

  • 5 Questions Firms Should Ask When Evaluating Litigation AFA

    Gregory Lantier

    Law firm management should understand the client’s reasons for requesting an alternative fee arrangement, and whether approving the fee will help grow the relationship with the client, say attorneys with WilmerHale.

  • For Law Firm Offices, Business Savvy Is The New Cool

    Craig Braham

    Having embraced the notion that the right space can reinforce the right firm culture, law firm leaders have been evaluating real estate primarily for its physical properties. However, it's hard to be collegial, even in the coolest of in-house coffee bars, if your cost structure is untenable, says Craig Braham of Advocate Commercial Real Estate Advisors LLC.