Environmental

  • April 9, 2018

    EPA, Corps Fight Restart Of States' Clean Water Rule Row

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday objected to a recent ruling that resumed a lawsuit with which a North Dakota-led coalition of states is challenging a controversial Obama-era rule defining the Clean Water Act’s reach, saying the case should instead be halted for another year.

  • April 9, 2018

    Court Ruling May Change Pa.'s Enviro Enforcement Approach

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent ruling axing a method used by state environmental regulators to calculate fines for ongoing contamination of waterways may force the agency to use tools other than fines, such as criminal penalties or compliance orders, to address violations, experts say.

  • April 9, 2018

    8th Circ. Revives Mo. City's Pollution Limit Suit Against EPA

    A Missouri city has standing to challenge pollution limits approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a wastewater treatment plant, the Eighth Circuit ruled Monday, reviving a suit aimed at halting guidelines the city said would be costly to implement.

  • April 9, 2018

    ND Police Look To Nix DAPL Protesters' Excessive Force Suit

    Three North Dakota law enforcement officers and their respective jurisdictions urged a federal judge on Friday to nix a group of Dakota Access pipeline protesters’ proposed class action accusing them of using excessive force when responding to protests, saying the group’s constitutional claims are not viable.

  • April 9, 2018

    Pruitt’s Alleged Acts Draw Scrutiny From Ethics Office

    The U.S. Office of Government Ethics voiced concerns about reports that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt rented a condo with lobbyist ties and improperly shuffled staff who questioned his behavior in a letter to the EPA's chief ethics officer on Friday.

  • April 9, 2018

    Kinder Morgan Stops Nonessential Work On Canada Pipeline

    All nonessential work on Kinder Morgan Inc.’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has been brought to a halt, the company said in an announcement Sunday, adding that it would pump no more “shareholder resources” into the project in the face of political opposition.

  • April 9, 2018

    Federal Agency Chiefs Ink Deal To Speed Up Project Reviews

    Several heads of U.S. agencies on Monday inked an agreement to coordinate federal environmental reviews of major infrastructure developments, following through on President Donald Trump's executive order seeking to speed up permitting for pipelines, highways and other projects.

  • April 9, 2018

    PJM Presses FERC To Tackle State Clean Energy Subsidies

    PJM Interconnection LLC on Monday asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to greenlight plans to blunt the effects of state green policies on its wholesale electricity markets, but clean energy advocates claim the regional grid operator's proposed solutions merely tilt the playing field toward traditional power plants.

  • April 9, 2018

    Union Reps Didn't Prejudice Well Water Trial, W.Va. Court Says

    The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia has backed a jury verdict in favor of two coal companies in a suit accusing them of contaminating well water with their mining activity, saying there was no merit to arguments of improper union worker presence during the trial.

  • April 9, 2018

    Pa. Justices Won't Rethink Scope Of Gas Lease Fund Use

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Friday quashed an appeal from a state environmental group in a dispute over the state’s use of payments from gas leases on public lands, ruling that the appeal was premature.

  • April 8, 2018

    Personnel Moves May Expose Pruitt To Whistleblower Claims

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s deregulatory push has spawned a predictable flurry of lawsuits from green groups, but Pruitt may face legal battles on a different and perhaps unexpected front if agency workers who reportedly took flack after raising concerns about his actions decide to file whistleblower claims.

  • April 6, 2018

    Bankrupt NY Solar Co. Blasts Ex-CEO's Bid To Liquidate

    Bankrupt Level Solar Inc. hit back hard on Thursday against a bid by its former CEO to convert its restructuring to a liquidation, calling the request a “litigation tactic” by “someone who expects to be sued” and telling a New York bankruptcy court the reorganization is going swimmingly.

  • April 6, 2018

    Widow Says Mine Safety Agency Breached Duty In Explosion

    The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration should have done more to prevent a deadly 2010 explosion at a West Virginia mine operated by a Massey Energy Co. subsidiary, the widow of one of the 29 coal miners killed in the incident alleged Thursday, on its eight-year anniversary.

  • April 6, 2018

    Enviro Group Seeks Order Forcing EPA To Act On Water Plan

    Northwest Environmental Advocates asked a Washington federal court on Thursday to order the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to either approve or disapprove a plan by Washington state to improve the water quality of the Deschutes river basin, saying the agency’s deadline had come and gone.

  • April 6, 2018

    Relator In FCA 1st-To-File Suit Has Died, Justices Told

    Counsel for the whistleblower leading litigation accusing KBR Inc. and Halliburton Co. of overcharging the military for water purification services wrote to the U.S. Supreme Court to inform the justices that the man has died, saying the case should live on, as he wanted.

  • April 6, 2018

    Travelers Must Pay $7.5M Cleanup Deal, Ill. Court Affirms

    A pair of Travelers units are on the hook for a trucking company's $7.5 million settlement of litigation over environmental contamination cleanup efforts, a split Illinois appellate panel affirmed on Thursday, finding that the insurers unreasonably declined to settle the claim within policy limits.

  • April 6, 2018

    Trump Aims To Simplify Offshore Wind Regs, DOI Sec. Says

    U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told global leaders in the offshore wind sector on Friday that the Trump administration aims to simplify the industry’s regulatory process, given its key role in building the nation’s renewable energy portfolio and independence.

  • April 6, 2018

    Ariz. Senate Passes Bill To Kill 'Chevron Deference'

    The Arizona Senate passed a bill Thursday eliminating "Chevron deference," a legal doctrine that gives state regulatory agencies a crucial advantage in legal fights with businesses, Indian tribes and other regulated entities, in a move that could lead to similar legislation in other states and the federal government.

  • April 6, 2018

    Monsanto Can't Dodge Water Contamination Suit, Judge Says

    An Alabama federal judge on Thursday denied Monsanto Chemical’s bid to toss an Army veteran’s personal injury suit alleging the company caused his leukemia by contaminating drinking water where he was based as a soldier several years ago, disagreeing with Monsanto that the veteran missed the statutory deadline to file.

  • April 5, 2018

    8th Circ. Axes $13M Punitives, Schaeffler From Pollution Suit

    A split Eighth Circuit erased a $13 million punitive damages award Thursday for a woman who said that a Missouri ball bearing maker's factory pollution gave her a serious autoimmune disorder, saying its parent, Schaeffler Group, shouldn't have been included in the trial and the latter's presence had muddied the proceedings.

Expert Analysis

  • Opinion

    Grassley, Feinstein Debate Judicial Vetting, Obstruction

    Sen. Chuck Grassley

    It is undisputed that in his first year in office President Trump was able to confirm a significant number of judges to the federal bench. How it happened — and whether it's a good thing — are debated here by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

  • How Settling With The Gov't Is Costlier Under New Tax Law

    Marvin Kirsner

    A provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act greatly expands the scope of the disallowance of deductions for fines and penalties paid to government agencies. This will make it costlier for a company to settle claims of violation of laws and regulations brought by federal, state or local agencies, or even foreign governments, says Marvin Kirsner of Greenberg Traurig LLP.

  • FERC Has Options If Court Pulls Pipeline Certificates

    Randall Rich

    The D.C. Circuit recently denied petitions for rehearing filed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and a group of pipeline companies, and might soon vacate FERC’s orders authorizing the Florida Southeast Connection pipelines. FERC and the pipeline operators face the question of how and whether the pipelines could keep operating without certificates, says Randall Rich of Pierce Atwood LLP.

  • 3 Lessons From Sinovel's Trade Secret Theft Conviction

    Justus Getty

    One of the key takeaways from a Wisconsin federal court's recent decision in U.S. v. Sinovel Wind Group is that the most serious threats to a company’s trade secrets can often be internal rather than external, says Justus Getty of Duane Morris LLP.

  • Cannabis’ CEQA Challenge

    Tyler Welti

    Regulating cannabis raises California Environmental Quality Act review obligations of unprecedented scale. Focusing primarily on commercial cannabis cultivation, Tyler Welti of Venable LLP looks at some emerging CEQA risks facing both cannabis businesses seeking permits and public agencies seeking to permit or ban commercial cannabis.

  • West Coast 'Super Tort' PCB Suits Have Staying Power

    Gary Smith

    Increasingly, municipalities and states are pursuing public nuisance theories against product manufacturers and distributors. Actions filed by West Coast municipalities and states over the past three years against polychlorinated biphenyl manufacturer Monsanto continue to progress through the courts, say Gary Smith and Casey Clausen of Beveridge & Diamond PC.

  • 10 Tips For Working With IT To Preserve Data

    John Tredennick

    Increasingly, when courts impose a “legal hold” they require legal supervision of the preservation process, meaning lawyers must rely heavily on information technology professionals to execute the mechanics. John Tredennick of Catalyst Repository Systems and Alon Israely of TotalDiscovery offer insights on how legal and IT can work together to make the process more efficient and fulfill the company’s legal obligations.

  • Protecting Privilege In Litigation Financing Negotiations

    Eric Robinson

    Multiple courts have held that discoverable material from negotiations with a litigation funder, when executed properly, can be attorney work product and immune from disclosure in the later litigation. The recent Acceleration Bay decision is indicative of what happens when difficult facts conflict with best practices, says Eric Robinson of Stevens & Lee PC.

  • How Tax Reform Affects Gov't Environmental Enforcement

    Timothy Webster

    The 2017 tax reform law casts into doubt the federal income tax deductibility of costs companies incur in connection with government settlements and court orders. This new provision applies to all settlements of any kind with any government entity, say Timothy Webster and Thomas Yancey of Sidley Austin LLP.

  • TSCA Regulatory Action Raises Retailers' Litigation Risk

    Alexandra Cunningham

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently issued a final rule regulating formaldehyde in consumer products under the Toxic Substances Control Act, and is now evaluating other chemicals. There may be increased litigation after such regulatory action — even in the absence of noncompliance — so manufacturers and retailers should stay alert, say Alexandra Cunningham and Merideth Daly of Hunton & Williams LLP.