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Environmental

  • September 25, 2018

    Tribe Says Gov't Action Needed As Coal Plant Closure Looms

    Hopi Tribe officials urged the federal government to take action in light of news that two companies have backed out of talks to take over ownership and operation of the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station, saying moving forward with the facility’s scheduled shutdown next year could lead to an economic crisis for the tribe.

  • September 25, 2018

    Accused $54M Ponzi Schemer Duped Retirees, Pa. Jury Told

    The man known as the deal-closer in a $54 million Ponzi scheme rooted in bogus investments involving land and green energy preyed upon unsophisticated investors, such as widows and retirees, and squandered their money on a lavish lifestyle, a federal prosecutor told a Pennsylvania federal jury on Tuesday.

  • September 25, 2018

    6th Circ. May Push High Court Review Of Groundwater Cases

    The question of whether the Clean Water Act’s reach extends to some groundwater pollution was already a contender for U.S. Supreme Court review, and the Sixth Circuit has improved the odds the high court will weigh in by landing firmly on the opposite side of the Fourth and Ninth circuits on the matter.

  • September 25, 2018

    Mont. Judge Nixes FWS Decision To Delist Yellowstone Grizzly

    A Montana federal judge threw out the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to remove Endangered Species Act protections for the Yellowstone population of grizzly bear, saying the federal government didn’t sufficiently look at the consequences of the move on the bear’s overall population.

  • September 25, 2018

    Standard Chartered Says It Will Stop Funding New Coal Plants

    Standard Chartered PLC announced on Tuesday that it will no longer provide financing for new coal-fired power plants, as the bank joins other lenders and insurers taking steps to move away from fossil fuels in a bid to combat climate change.

  • September 24, 2018

    Roundup MDL Seeks More NorCal Bellwether Cases For Trial

    The California federal judge overseeing multidistrict litigation over consumers’ claims Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller caused their cancer sought Monday to find more potential bellwether cases to bulk up options for trials slated for February and May.

  • September 24, 2018

    In A Circuit Split, 6th Circ. Limits CWA's Reach

    The Sixth Circuit said Monday the Clean Water Act can't be used to regulate pollutants that travel from a source through groundwater before entering navigable waters, in a split from Fourth and Ninth circuit rulings on the law's reach.

  • September 24, 2018

    DC Judge Won't Move National Monument Challenge To Utah

    A D.C. federal judge on Monday denied President Donald Trump’s bid to transfer to Utah two consolidated suits challenging his decision to slash the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, ordering that the government must give 48 hours’ notice before disturbing any ground.

  • September 24, 2018

    BLM Must Revert To Old Oil, Gas Policy In Sage Grouse Areas

    An Idaho federal court has sided with environmental groups that alleged the Bureau of Land Management’s new oil and gas leasing policy likely violated the law, issuing a preliminary injunction that restored previous provisions concerning public participation.

  • September 24, 2018

    Enviros Ramp Up Legal Efforts In Fight Against Trump Agenda

    Environmental groups, buoyed by an increase in donations, new pro bono assistance and staff willing to put in long hours amid the Trump administration's rollbacks of environmental regulations, have leveraged those resources to score victories like information requests that contributed to the resignation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator and blocking controversial rule delays.

  • September 24, 2018

    CIT Nixes Chemical Co.'s Challenge To Duty Refund Denial

    An Alabama chemical company can’t get a refund on import duties paid on shipments from India during a lapse in a U.S. trade preference program that eliminated duties on certain imports from developing nations, the U.S. Court of International Trade found in a Monday decision.

  • September 24, 2018

    Mass. AG Pans Grid Operator's Power Plant Rescue Plan

    Regional grid operator ISO New England's plan to pay struggling power plants in the name of regional fuel security could saddle consumers with more than $1 billion worth of unjust and unreasonable rates if approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Massachusetts attorney general's office said Friday.

  • September 24, 2018

    Dow, Shell Accused Of Polluting Drinking Water With TCP

    The Golden State Water Co. has accused the Dow Chemical Co., Shell Oil Co. and others of product liability violations for contaminating drinking water with unsafe amounts of TCP, a toxic chemical found in agricultural and other products, according to a complaint filed Friday in California federal court.

  • September 21, 2018

    Houston Sued Over Recurring Sewage Overflow Issues

    An environmental group filed suit against the City of Houston on Friday, alleging its sewer system has overflowed thousands of times over the last several years in violation of its Clean Water Act permit, an action that the federal government has moved to block.

  • September 21, 2018

    7th Circ. Panel Mulls Power To Rule On Acid Waste Permits

    Seventh Circuit judges said during oral argument Friday that they would have to “utterly negate” state appellate decisions to provide relief to two Colorado energy companies that want clearance from Illinois to dispose of acid waste in underground injection wells.

  • September 21, 2018

    Barrick Gold Escapes Investor Class Action Over Mine Spill

    A New York federal judge granted Barrick Gold Corp.’s motion to dismiss a class action claiming the company misstated problems that led to a chemical spill at its Veladero mine in Argentina, finding the company’s allegedly misleading public statements were either forward-looking or not inherently false.

  • September 21, 2018

    Medline Agrees On $5M Payment Over Pesticide Claims

    Illinois-based medical supply company Medline Industries Inc. struck an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to pay nearly $5 million over allegations that it distributed isopropyl wipes with claims it would kill germs without registering the product as a pesticide, as it should have been.

  • September 21, 2018

    7th Circ. Got Nuke Subsidy Ruling Wrong, Power Cos. Say

    Independent power producers on Friday said the Seventh Circuit issued a legally flawed decision backing Illinois' program propping up struggling nuclear power plants, but added that they haven't yet decided if they will seek rehearing or will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • September 21, 2018

    Landowner Seeks 10th Circ. Redo Of Okla. Drill Permit Suit

    An Oklahoma landowner has asked the Tenth Circuit to rehear his suit claiming the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs let an energy exploration company drill on his land without an environmental review, saying a circuit panel erred in finding that the statute of limitations barred him from filing suit.

  • September 21, 2018

    Pa. Developer Says Defamation Ruling At Odds With Prior Suit

    A developer asked a Pennsylvania appeals court on Thursday to rehear its suit alleging it was defamed by an environmental group as the two competed over the development of a contaminated industrial site, saying the court's finding that the group’s comments were protected speech is inconsistent with prior rulings.

Expert Analysis

  • DC Circ. Set A Higher Bar For Hydro License Renewal

    Walker Stanovsky

    On July 6, the D.C. Circuit torpedoed a hydroelectric license renewal issued in 2013 because the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not consider environmental damage already caused by the project. In doing so, the court rejected FERC’s long-standing practice of using existing conditions and operations as an environmental baseline, say attorneys at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

  • A Lawyer's Guide To Genomics In Toxic Tort Cases: Part 2

    Kirk Hartley

    The use of genetic testing in tort litigation is relatively new. Such testing may uncover one or more gene variants that help identify individuals at an increased risk of developing a disease. Whole genome sequencing can be the best and most appropriate approach for toxic tort civil litigation, say Kirk Hartley and David Schwartz of ToxicoGenomica.

  • Congressional Forecast: July

    Layth Elhassani

    While Senate hearings on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court will draw much attention during July, Congress remains very busy with fiscal year 2019 appropriations bills. The chambers may go to conference this month on the first of several appropriations "minibuses," says Layth Elhassani of Covington & Burling LLP.

  • What Kavanaugh's Writing Tells Us About His Personality

    Matthew Hall

    People with certain personality traits tend to use certain words. A computer analysis of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s D.C. Circuit opinions reveals that he is highly extraverted, which means that he would be a prominent voice on the U.S. Supreme Court, says Matthew Hall, a professor at the University of Notre Dame.

  • Opinion

    3 Pros, 3 Cons Of Litigation Finance

    Ralph Sutton

    An educated guess puts the number of new litigation funders launched in the past 18 months at 30 — an astonishing number, with more to come. Is this a blessing to our legal system or something more akin to tulip mania? Maybe both, says Ralph Sutton, founder and CEO of litigation funding firm Validity Finance LLC.

  • A Lawyer's Guide To Genomics In Toxic Tort Cases: Part 1

    Kirk Hartley

    Genomic data and technologies can assist both plaintiffs and defendants in toxic tort and personal injury cases in uncovering the underlying causes of disease. In coming years, the influence of genomics in civil law will be even broader than its influence in criminal law, say attorney Kirk Hartley and scientific consultant David Schwartz of ToxicoGenomica.

  • Modern Communication Brings E-Discovery Challenges

    Thomas Bonk

    As new communications platforms displace email, the legal industry is awkwardly grappling with complex e-discovery questions. Fortunately, this environment provides a very fertile ground of incentives for innovation in both e-discovery technology and service offerings, says Thomas Bonk of Epiq.

  • Opinion

    It's Not All About The Benjamins, Baby (Lawyer)

    J.B. Heaton

    Notwithstanding the latest salary war among prominent law firms, I urge my middle-aged and older colleagues to help the recent graduates we know focus on the long term. Even if the salary is the same, there is a big difference between an institutional firm and the relatively younger firms matching BigLaw, says J.B. Heaton, a University of Chicago business law fellow and former partner at Bartlit Beck.

  • Investment Tax Credit Guidance Means Sunny Days For Solar

    Jon Nelsen

    Notice 2018-59, issued last month by the Internal Revenue Service, confirms that standards and safe harbors previously defined for wind energy projects can be used with solar energy projects. Project sponsors can now act with greater certainty in making solar investments, say Jon Nelsen, Michael Didriksen and Peter Farrell of Baker Botts LLP.

  • Asbestos Transparency Laws Can Stop Double Recovery

    Scott Hunsaker

    Some asbestos plaintiffs have obtained full recovery from viable defendants and simultaneously, or later, recovered more money for the same injury from asbestos bankruptcy trusts established by those same entities. Recognizing this problem, more and more states are turning to asbestos transparency laws as a solution, say Scott Hunsaker and Karl Borgsmiller of Tucker Ellis LLP.