Environmental

  • October 2, 2017

    Enviros Say Phillips 66 Will End Rail Project Permit Suit

    Environmental groups say Phillips 66 has agreed to drop its challenge to a decision by a local government in California to deny the company’s proposed Rail Spur Project, which would have provided a new avenue for crude to be unloaded at the Santa Maria Refinery.

  • October 2, 2017

    4 Takeaways From Feds' $3.7B Backstop For Ga. Nuke Project

    The Trump administration on Friday handed a $3.7 billion lifeline to the Vogtle nuclear power project in Georgia in the form of conditional loan guarantees to the project's owners. Here are four takeaways from the federal government's continued backing of the only large-scale nuclear project remaining in the U.S. and what it says about the long-term health of the struggling U.S. nuclear industry.

  • October 2, 2017

    9th Circ. Again Supports Feds' Hovercraft Ban In Alaska

    The Ninth Circuit on Monday ruled that the National Park Service had the right to enforce its hovercraft ban on an Alaska river, after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 rejected an earlier circuit court decision backing the ban.

  • October 2, 2017

    Calif. Judge Rejects Bid To Add NEPA Claims To Logging Suit

    A California federal judge has rejected a bid from the Karuk tribe and several environmental groups to add a National Environmental Policy Act claim to their suit challenging a logging project in the Klamath National Forest, according to an order from Friday.

  • October 2, 2017

    High Court Won’t Hear Alaska Challenge To Fishery Ruling

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Alaska’s petition that opposed the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that the National Marine Fisheries Service can’t cede oversight of a part of an Alaskan salmon fishery to the state unless the state produces a fish management plan for the fishery.

  • October 2, 2017

    Supreme Court Turns Down Trio Of Antitrust Appeals

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned down appeals concerning alleged antitrust schemes in the polystyrene container recycling, maritime vehicle shipping, and medical-surgical supply industries, leaving wins in place for the defendants in each case.

  • October 2, 2017

    Statoil Loses Challenge To DOI Royalty Reports Penalty

    A Texas federal judge tossed as premature Friday a Statoil unit’s claims that by issuing the harshest penalties for inadvertent reporting errors, the U.S. Department of the Interior subverted the congressionally approved civil penalty structure for companies that fail their federal oil and gas royalty obligations.

  • October 2, 2017

    Justices Want Feds' Take On Va. Uranium Mining Ban Case

    The U.S. Supreme Court asked for the solicitor general's perspective Monday on a uranium company’s request for the high court to review Virginia’s ban on uranium mining and the company's argument the Fourth Circuit’s backing of the ban conflicts with precedent.

  • September 29, 2017

    After Injury Ruling, Solar Cos. Spar With SEIA Over Remedy

    Two bankrupt solar manufacturers pressed the International Trade Commission this week to recommend that President Donald Trump implement the first industrywide "global safeguard" tariff in 15 years while a trade group warned that trade barriers would devastate the industry.

  • September 29, 2017

    Even Split Of $20M Atty Fee Was Wrong, Judge Says

     A New York federal judge on Friday reversed a bankruptcy judge’s division of a $20 million attorneys’ fee award to four law firms into four equal parts, saying that in the decades-old asbestos-related insurer litigation, there was “no evidence” to support that the four intended an equal split.

  • September 29, 2017

    Gov't Wants Enviros' Suit Over Nuke Facility Moved To Tenn.

    The U.S. Department of Energy asked the D.C. district court on Thursday to transfer to the Eastern District of Tennessee a challenge brought by environmental groups over plans to upgrade a nuclear facility without supplementing an environmental assessment that would take into account new information on earthquake risk.

  • September 29, 2017

    Class Action Over Flint Schools Gets Green Light

    A Michigan federal judge refused Friday to scrap a proposed class action against the state Department of Education and local schools alleging they systematically failed to provide proper services to Flint children with disabilities, students whose health was further jeopardized by longtime exposure to lead in the public water supply.

  • September 29, 2017

    Another Ex-VW Exec Arrested In Germany Over Emissions

    German authorities on Thursday arrested a former high-ranking Volkswagen executive, the first German citizen arrested in the country in relation to the carmaker’s diesel emissions scandal, according to media reports.

  • September 29, 2017

    Perry's FERC Grid Pricing Plan Would Roil Energy Markets

    U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry on Friday asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to devise wholesale electricity market rules that would pay coal-fired and nuclear power plants for contributing to grid reliability, a rare request that experts say could upend the energy market model that's developed over the past two decades.

  • September 29, 2017

    Calif.'s $14M Interest Award On Cleanup Coverage Upheld

    A California appellate court Friday upheld a lower court's holding that a pair of CNA Financial Corp. insurers must pay the state nearly $14 million in prejudgment interest, in a dispute over coverage for cleanup costs at a toxic waste site in Riverside County.

  • September 29, 2017

    Judge Shoots Down Pa. Town's Ban On Fracking Activities

    A Pennsylvania federal judge on Friday gutted a municipality’s “community bill of rights” that aimed to restrict a number of activities connected to fracking, finding that the measure’s provisions were preempted by both federal and state law.

  • September 29, 2017

    Generator Maker Must Face Suit Over Dodging EPA Regs

    A generator maker that converts gas engines to run on alternative fuels must face a competitor’s suit claiming the generator maker has been selling the engines without a certificate required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a Massachusetts federal court said Friday.

  • September 29, 2017

    Cape Wind Project Lease Again Gets Fed. Approval

    More than a year after the D.C. Circuit ruled that more study was needed on the proposed 130-turbine Cape Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts, federal regulators again reached their original conclusion: the $2.6 billion project should move forward.

  • September 29, 2017

    Fed. Judge Backs Tribal Court's Ruling Against Chemical Co.

    An Idaho federal judge on Thursday said that a tribal appellate court had jurisdiction to impose a $20.5 million judgment against chemical maker FMC Corp. over permit fees connected to hazardous waste produced by the company and stored on the Shoshone-Bannock tribes’ reservation land.

  • September 29, 2017

    EPA Must Look For More Docs About Weed Killer, Judge Says

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was ordered Thursday to look for more documents applicable to the Center for Biological Diversity’s request for information about the approval of Dow AgroSciences LLC’s weed killer Enlist Duo after a Washington, D.C., federal judge deemed the agency’s initial searches inadequate.

Expert Analysis

  • 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

    Wagner.jpg

    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.

  • Calif. Could See Increase In Drinking Water Litigation

    André Picciurro

    California recently adopted a regulation setting the country’s strictest permissible level in drinking water for a chemical compound called 1,2,3-Trichloropropane, or TCP. The adoption of this regulation in the midst of the Flint, Michigan, water crisis and growing public distrust about the safety of drinking water will likely usher in a wave of media attention and potential litigation, say attorneys with Gordon & Rees LLP.

  • Series

    Notes From A Law Firm Chief Privacy Officer: Balancing Act

    Kristin Jones

    As the role of law firm chief privacy officer becomes more prevalent and expansive, many CPOs are finding themselves in the midst of a delicate balancing act — weighing compliance with government regulations and client requirements on one side with the needs of firm business on the other, says Kristin Jones, chief privacy officer for Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young LLP.

  • Future Of Calif. Cap-And-Trade Is Up To CARB

    Jerry Bloom

    The California Legislature recently passed Assembly Bill 398 into law, extending the state’s signature climate change policy — the cap-and-trade program — through 2030. Despite the many program changes in AB 398, the California Air Resources Board is left with broad implementation authority, say Jerry Bloom and Andrew Mayer of Winston & Strawn LLP.

  • How The IPad Can Be A Litigator's Best Friend

    Paul Kiesel

    New mobile computing tools — both hardware and applications — are changing the technology paradigm for legal practitioners. In particular, the combination of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil and the LiquidText annotation app can revolutionize both trial preparation and courtroom litigating, says attorney Paul Kiesel, in his latest review of tech trends.

  • Series

    Notes From A Law Firm Chief Privacy Officer: CPO Vs. CISO

    Mark McCreary

    To understand the role of the law firm chief privacy officer — and why that person ought to be a lawyer — it’s important to distinguish the role they fill from that of the chief information security officer, says Mark McCreary, chief privacy officer for Fox Rothschild LLP.

  • How To Transfer Your Water Rights In Nevada

    Michael Van Zandt

    When you transfer your water right in Nevada, you potentially expose your right to attack not only by other water right owners in the vicinity, but also by the Nevada state engineer who may question whether your right is invalid, if it has expired or if it isn't in the quantity that you think it should be, says Michael Van Zandt of Hanson Bridget LLP.

  • 5 Questions To Ask Before Entering Joint-Representation AFA

    Natalie Hanlon Leh

    One growing trend is for clients to enter into alternative fee arrangements in which one law firm represents multiple parties who “share” fees and costs in a related matter. This way parties can more efficiently manage a matter and reduce their individual legal fees. But joint representation is not without its own risks and challenges, say attorneys with WilmerHale.