Environmental

  • May 12, 2017

    5th Circ. Panel Upholds $1M Deepwater Claim Clawback

    A Fifth Circuit panel on Friday upheld a lower court’s decision ordering a seafood company and its owners to pay back $1 million they received from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill claims program, saying that the business should have known it had failed by the time it made its claim.

  • May 12, 2017

    9th Circ. Won't Lift Block On Oregon Logging Project

    The Ninth Circuit on Thursday tossed an appeal by a logging company and a union seeking to reverse an Oregon federal court's order setting aside authorization for a harvesting project in Roseburg, saying the appeals court doesn’t have jurisdiction.

  • May 12, 2017

    Veteran Commercial Litigator Joins Bryan Cave's NY Office

    Bryan Cave LLP has expanded its New York office’s commercial litigation group with the addition of a new partner who has represented corporate giants like Wal-Mart, Dunkin’ Donuts and Sleepy’s LLC.

  • May 12, 2017

    Maine Judge Grants EPA Stay To Review Tribal Water Rules

    A Maine federal judge on Friday gave the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a 90-day stay in the state’s suit challenging the EPA’s tightening of water quality standards for tribal waters, giving the agency the time it requested to review the policy.

  • May 12, 2017

    Ormat Gets OK For Kids' Part Of $6M Worker Death Deal

    A California federal magistrate judge approved the portion of a $6 million wrongful death settlement that applies to the three children of a 27-year-old hydroblaster who died in 2016 after falling into a pipe at a geothermal plant operated by an Ormat Technologies subsidiary.

  • May 12, 2017

    EPA Lets Pebble Mine Project Move Forward

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday it will allow a massive proposed Alaska copper mine to begin to move through the approval process again, a reversal of the Obama administration’s decision to block the issuance of any permits for the Pebble Mine project while it reviewed environmental impacts.

  • May 11, 2017

    NJ High Court Won't Disturb Waterfront Permit Approval

    The New Jersey Supreme Court has rejected bids by Hoboken, New Jersey, and a residents' group to review an appellate panel opinion in favor of a state environmental permit granted to a developer looking to construct two high-rise residential buildings along the Hudson River.

  • May 11, 2017

    VW 3-Liter Deal Approved As Cheat Tab Hits Record $17.5B

    U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said Thursday he’ll approve a $1.2 billion deal ending claims Volkswagen AG installed emission-cheating software on its pricier 3.0-liter-engine vehicles, the latest in a series of settlements totaling more than $17 billion.

  • May 11, 2017

    2nd Circ. Tosses NY Property Owners' Cleanup Costs Case

    The Second Circuit on Thursday declined to revive a suit in which Long Island property owners sought to recover money spent cleaning up a perchloroethylene spill from a site’s former lessees and occupants, finding that their Comprehensive Environmental Remediation, Compensation and Liability Act claims lacked teeth.

  • May 11, 2017

    Md. Approves Credits For Large Offshore Wind Projects

    The Maryland Public Service Commission on Thursday approved vital credits for two major offshore wind energy projects that together are expected to produce almost 370 megawatts of power, according to a statement from the commission.

  • May 11, 2017

    Calif. Gov. To Add $6.5M To AG's Office For Fighting Trump

    California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday introduced a revised state budget plan that adds $6.5 million to the state’s Department of Justice to fund 31 new positions dedicated to challenging actions from the Trump administration.

  • May 11, 2017

    Wash. Tells DOE To Act After Toxic Storage Tunnel Collapse

    Washington state demanded Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Energy quickly act to assess and remedy tunnels at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation that store mixed radioactive waste after one partially collapsed Tuesday.

  • May 11, 2017

    Fines Can Cover Ongoing Pollution, Enviros Tell Pa. Justices

    Environmental organization the Clean Air Council told the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in a brief Wednesday that the state is authorized to levy penalties for ongoing water pollution, urging the court to endorse a fine of at least $1.2 million for a natural gas well-pad leak.

  • May 11, 2017

    Pruitt Seizes Authority To OK $50M+ Superfund Remedies

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Wednesday said that any remedial action plan for a Superfund site that costs $50 million or more will have to be approved by him.

  • May 11, 2017

    DOT Can't Duck Oil Spill Plan Review Duties, Enviros Say

    The U.S. Secretary of Transportation is shirking her duty to review oil spill response plans for offshore pipelines and hiding behind a rubber-stamping of spill plans for onshore pipelines approved by the DOT, the National Wildlife Federation told a Michigan federal judge Thursday.

  • May 11, 2017

    EPA Sees 9th Circ. Pause Calif. CAA Waiver Case

    The Ninth Circuit on Wednesday paused an industry suit challenging California's emissions standards for certain off-road engines, a win for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which wants to review an Obama-era Clean Air Act waiver it granted to the state.

  • May 11, 2017

    Enviros Hit EPA With FOIA Suit Over Potential Pruitt Conflicts

    The Natural Resources Defense Council wants the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to immediately release records addressing whether or not Scott Pruitt favors industry stakeholders in his role as EPA chief, telling a New York federal court Thursday that the agency has shirked multiple of its Freedom of Information Act requests.

  • May 11, 2017

    Maine Tribes Slam EPA's Bid To Stay Water Quality Suit

    Two tribes in Maine urged a federal judge to reject the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's bid for a 90-day stay in the state’s suit challenging the EPA’s tightening of its water quality standards for tribal waters so it can review the policy, saying pausing the case will harm the tribes for no reason.

  • May 11, 2017

    8th Circ. Won't Revive Landowners’ Exxon Pipeline Spill Suit

    The Eighth Circuit on Thursday backed the dismissal of a class action against ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. over the 2013 rupture of its Pegasus pipeline in Mayflower, Arkansas, saying the lower court correctly decertified the class because landowners' claims were too individualized.

  • May 11, 2017

    Volkswagen US Taps New Compliance Chief From KPMG

    Volkswagen Group of America Inc. announced Thursday that it has hired a new chief compliance officer from KPMG LLP, filling a high-profile position as the embattled automaker continues navigating the fallout from its diesel-emissions scandal.

Expert Analysis

  • A Law Firm’s Guide To Social Media

    Julie Bagdikian

    Bear in mind that the internet seldom forgets and never forgives, and you are just one screen grab from a meme. A law firm's core messages and unique selling points must be clearly determined before embarking on a social media strategy, says Julie Bagdikian of The Pollack PR Marketing Group.

  • Trump's EO: What's Next For Energy, Enviro And Climate?

    Ethan G. Shenkman

    President Trump's recent executive order, “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,” is not limited to climate-related initiatives. Rather, it calls for a sweeping re-examination and potential rebalancing of U.S. policy regarding energy and the environment, say attorneys at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP.

  • Series

    Advocate For An Agency: Ex-CPSC GC Cheryl Falvey

    Cheryl Falvey

    The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is tasked with regulating a wide range of products, while operating with only narrow rulemaking authority and a tight budget. Cheryl Falvey, general counsel of the CPSC from 2008 to 2012, describes how she and agency staff responded creatively to the Chinese drywall crisis and other urgent problems that required coordination across multiple agencies and governments.

  • When Renewable Energy Is An 'Aesthetic Nuisance'

    Walter Wright

    In Myrick v. Peck Electric Co., the Supreme Court of Vermont recently held that a nuisance claim filed over a solar energy array based on aesthetic concerns had no merit. As renewable energy facilities proliferate, potential litigants on both sides should understand the laws around nuisance claims against such installations, says Walter Wright of Mitchell Williams.

  • Series

    Advocate For An Agency: Ex-DOT GC Kathryn Thompson

    Kathryn Thomson

    As general counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation from 2013 to 2017, Kathryn Thomson was the chief legal officer for a department of 55,000 employees, with an annual budget of $78 billion and nine individual operating agencies. In this article, she considers the challenges and rewards of serving as the DOT's GC during a time of major changes to the transportation landscape.

  • Series

    Advocate For An Agency: Ex-FERC GC Cynthia Marlette

    Cynthia Marlette.jpg

    Cynthia Marlette, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's general counsel from 2001 to 2005 and from 2007 to 2009, reflects on how she addressed the job's many responsibilities, including advising the commission on laws and enforcement actions, developing policy, seeking consensus among commissioners, and overseeing defense of agency actions in court, as well as dealing with historic events like the California energy crisis.

  • EU Endocrine Disruptor Fights Could Lead To US Litigation

    David Schwartz.jpg

    A battle is raging in the European Union over the regulatory status of endocrine disrupting substances. This debate could have dramatic implications for U.S. litigation over personal care products, food, household cleaners, agricultural chemicals, pharmaceutical products and other substances. Relevant product manufacturers must be ready for the coming onslaught, says David Schwartz of Innovative Science Solutions LLC.

  • Are Your In-House Lawyers Happy?

    Aric Press

    What is the mood of the nation’s in-house lawyers? Aric Press — a partner at Bernero & Press LLC and former editor-in-chief of The American Lawyer — shares the findings of a recent survey of more than 800 in-house counsel.

  • In Congress: Light Floor Schedule, Heavy On Committees

    Richard Hertling

    Republican leadership in the House and Senate will need to refocus their efforts this week, after a failed attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The lead-up to the canceled vote last week highlighted the divisions within the Republican conference, say Richard Hertling and Kaitlyn McClure of Covington & Burling LLP.

  • Trump's Skinny EPA Budget Could Have Far-Reaching Impacts

    Jim W. Rubin

    A review of President Donald Trump's recent budget proposal suggests that none of his goals for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would be well-served. In fact, the EPA, states, tribes and other federal agencies would all face serious issues in protecting human health and the environment, says Jim Rubin of Dorsey & Whitney LLP.