Environmental

  • June 8, 2017

    Wash. Supreme Court Revives Enviros' Open Meetings Case

    The Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday it was “plainly inappropriate” for a lower court to have partially dismissed an environmentalists' suit that argued several of the Port of Vancouver USA’s executive sessions on a major rail oil export facility should have been conducted in public.

  • June 8, 2017

    Firm Says Fee Referral Deal For BP Oil Spill Cases Illegal

    A law firm accused of breaking an oral agreement with a financial company told a Florida federal court Wednesday that the company’s suit should be thrown out because the alleged agreement, in which the company would receive a 10 percent cut of awards given to Deepwater Horizon clients the company referred, would be illegal.

  • June 8, 2017

    SunEdison Seeks OK For $32M D&O Insurance Deal

    As part of its Chapter 11 exit plan, SunEdison Inc. asked a New York bankruptcy court Wednesday to approve a settlement that will generate $32 million for the company's unsecured creditors in exchange for a release of claims against former and current SunEdison executives.

  • June 8, 2017

    Calif. Judge Says Tribe's Water Suit Can Go To Next Stage

    A California federal judge has allowed a suit from the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians over groundwater rights against two water agencies to move forward, lifting a stay on the litigation despite the agencies’ appeal of a ruling in the first stage of the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • June 8, 2017

    EPA Probing Alleged Collusion Between Ex-Staffer, Monsanto

    The Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general is looking into allegations that an EPA employee colluded with Monsanto to conduct a biased review of the pesticide glyphosate, the agency has said.

  • June 8, 2017

    Companies Say €128M ICSID Award Should Stay In Euros

    Two companies seeking to enforce a more than €128 million arbitral award against Spain in a dispute over renewable energy subsidies urged a New York federal judge Wednesday not to convert the amount into U.S. dollars, saying Second Circuit precedent explicitly allows courts to keep it in euros.

  • June 8, 2017

    JPML Moves Emissions Suit Against Fiat To Calif.

    The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has ordered that a U.S. Justice Department suit over Fiat Chrysler’s alleged use of defeat devices to cheat on emissions tests be moved from Michigan to California federal court, saying the claims are related to multidistrict litigation taking place there.

  • June 8, 2017

    1st Circ. Clears Dam Owners In Atlantic Salmon ESA Case

    The First Circuit on Wednesday said it will not revive a case lodged by environmental groups against several power companies and the government in litigation over dams “taking” endangered Atlantic salmon along the Kennebec River in Maine, telling the groups to take their case up with the D.C. Circuit.

  • June 8, 2017

    Climate Activist Convicted Of Burglary Charge In Wash.

    A Washington state jury on Wednesday convicted an environmental activist of second-degree burglary after a trial over allegations he shut off an emergency pipeline valve in a climate change-related protest, although the jury deadlocked on a second sabotage charge, according to the Climate Disobedience Center.

  • June 7, 2017

    Interior Department To Review Sage-Grouse Agreement

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Wednesday he is ordering his agency to review and possibly modify an Obama-era plan to protect the greater sage-grouse across its 11-state range in the West, citing the Trump administration's push for energy development.

  • June 7, 2017

    CIT Backs Commerce Subsidy Rate For Chinese Solar Panels

    The U.S. Court of International Trade on Wednesday upheld a subsidy rate the U.S. Department of Commerce had calculated for Chinese solar panels, finding the agency had explained why it changed its methodology when reviewing the initial rate.

  • June 7, 2017

    Meet Trump's Picks For The Federal Appellate Bench

    President Donald Trump’s judicial nominations on Wednesday brought three federal appeals candidates into the spotlight, including a member of the president’s shortlist for the U.S. Supreme Court, a judge who oversaw a massive challenge to the Clean Water Act, and one of the lawyers behind the high court’s limitation of laches as an intellectual property defense.

  • June 7, 2017

    Dakota Access Saga Highlights Value Of Tribal Consultations

    A headline-grabbing protest campaign led by Native Americans failed to stop the controversial Dakota Access pipeline from being built and put into service, but experts say the battle over the pipeline shows that energy infrastructure developers would be wise to reach out and try to iron out any potential disputes with tribes before their opposition turns into a cause célèbre.

  • June 7, 2017

    Johnson Controls Pays $3.3M Over Cape Canaveral Cleanup

    Johnson Controls Inc. and another contractor that operated the launch pads at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida agreed Wednesday to pay $3.3 million to settle claims of environmental contamination brought by the Air Force and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

  • June 7, 2017

    US Says CAA Suit Against Plant Operator Not Time-Barred

    The U.S. Department of Justice told the Fifth Circuit on Tuesday that a Texas federal judge erred in finding time-barred its claims that two coal-fired power plants affiliated with Energy Future Holdings Corp. violated the Clean Air Act by undertaking major modifications without following required protocols.

  • June 7, 2017

    Sens. Press Perry Not To Sell Off DOE Transmission Assets

    A bipartisan group of senators told Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Wednesday they oppose a plan to privatize transmission assets used to send power from federally owned dams to utilities and rural co-ops in 34 states, arguing it would needlessly jettison money-making assets and cause rate hikes.

  • June 7, 2017

    Green Bonds Likely To Blossom Despite Paris Accord Fallout

    President Donald Trump’s call to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement won’t dampen the outlook for green bonds, experts say, noting that momentum for this nascent but growing segment of debt capital markets is gaining steam independently of the accord.

  • June 7, 2017

    Calif., China Ink Climate Deal After Trump’s Paris Exit

    China and California signed an agreement Tuesday to work together on reducing emissions and to spur greater clean technology cooperation after President Donald Trump’s announcement that the U.S. will pull out of the Paris climate change agreement.

  • June 7, 2017

    3M, Tyco Want Firefighting Foam Contamination Suit Tossed

    Chemical companies including 3M, United Technologies and Tyco Fire Products LP asked a federal judge in Massachusetts on Wednesday to dismiss a county’s lawsuit over their firefighting foam products, arguing that the county’s contamination allegations are premature and far too vague.

  • June 7, 2017

    EPA Extends Compliance Deadline For Smog Standards

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday said it is extending the deadline by which states must report whether local areas meet ozone standards set in 2015.

Expert Analysis

  • Series

    Counsel To Counsel: A Law Firm GC's Data Protection Duties

    Thomas W. White

    Increasingly, we see companies in all industries seeking to perform various levels of due diligence on our information security defenses. We received three times as many diligence requests from clients and prospective clients in 2016 as we did in 2015. Some clients even conduct their own penetration tests, says Thomas White, general counsel of WilmerHale.

  • 5th Circ. ESA Decision Highlights Deference Discord

    Shawn Welch

    The Fifth Circuit's recent decision in Markle Interests v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the dissent from denial of en banc review, involve a recurring conflict between the extent of judicial review and the proper deference to be given to agency action, says Shawn Welch of Holland & Hart LLP.

  • Series

    Counsel To Counsel: Evaluating Positional Conflicts

    Nicholas A. Gravante Jr.

    What happens when attorneys come to their general counsel’s office with knowledge of a potential positional conflict? While the inquiry will depend on the rules governing the particular jurisdiction, there are a few general questions to consider from both business and legal ethics perspectives, say general counsel Nicholas A. Gravante Jr. and deputy general counsel Ilana R. Miller of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP.

  • Series

    Counsel To Counsel: 5 Challenges For A Law Firm GC

    John Koski

    Regardless of where we live and practice, regardless of whether trade deals succeed or fail, and regardless of whether the movement of people or capital is easy or difficult, our clients will still have needs or problems far away from home, says John Koski, global chief legal officer at Dentons.

  • Lawyers In Flow: Get Out Of Your Head And Into Your Case

    Jennifer Gibbs

    If Time Magazine is correct in that being a lawyer is one of the five worst high-paying jobs, it may be time for the legal profession to pull one from the playbook of musicians and professional athletes and seek to enter a state of “flow,” says Jennifer Gibbs of Zelle LLP.

  • The Evolving Legal Landscape For Connected Products

    Sheila Millar

    As the internet of things continues its rapid expansion into homes, cars and offices, manufacturers must understand how safety, compliance and customer satisfaction depend on the software used to make a product “connect.” But they must also consider rules and regulations affecting the product itself — from physical safety standards to limits on chemical ingredients, says Sheila Millar of Keller and Heckman LLP.

  • Stakeholders Must Stay Aware Of E-Cigarette Science

    Giovanni Ciavarra

    As the quantity of scientific research related to e-cigarettes skyrockets, it is increasingly important for key stakeholders to monitor scientific developments and their impacts on litigation risk. To give readers a sense of current e-cigarette science, Giovanni Ciavarra of Innovative Science Solutions LLC offers high-level summaries of five recent studies that evaluate the safety of e-cigarettes or their ingredients.

  • A Rising Tide Of Proposed Chemical Disclosure Laws

    Thomas A. Manakides

    The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017 was recently introduced in California and is intended to require manufacturers to disclose the ingredients in their cleaning products. The bill contributes to the increasing legislative trend in California — and elsewhere — of consumer product right-to-know initiatives, say Thomas Manakides and Krista deBoer of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

  • Satire

    A Law Firm Ranking Model By 'Fake News & Distorted Reports'

    Alan B. Morrison

    Suffering from law firm ranking fatigue? Bewildered by the methodologies? If so, you're in good company. Alan Morrison, associate dean for public interest and public service law at George Washington University Law School, wonders just how far law firm ranking efforts may go.

  • Attack On Credits For Nuclear Plants Could Hit Renewables

    Gordon Coffee

    New York and Illinois have approved programs providing nuclear power plants with monetary credits for generating electricity without emitting carbon dioxide. Opponents have sued in federal court to nullify the programs. Although the lawsuits are narrowly targeted, an unfortunate consequence could be rulings that also annul renewable portfolio standards and renewable energy credits, says Gordon Coffee of Winston & Strawn LLP.