Environmental

  • February 5, 2018

    Sunoco Appeals Halt To Pa. Pipeline Construction

    The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection overstepped its authority when it halted construction last month on the controversial Mariner East 2 pipeline, developer Sunoco Pipeline LP charged in an appeal filed Friday before the state’s Environmental Hearing Board.

  • February 2, 2018

    Major Alaska Lease Sale Should Be Quashed, Enviros Say

    A coalition of environmental groups filed suit in Alaska federal court against the U.S. Department of the Interior on Friday alleging it didn’t look closely enough at the environmental consequences of conducting an expanded oil and gas lease sale for the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.

  • February 2, 2018

    FERC Pressed To Keep Fla. Pipeline Running

    A $4 billion natural gas pipeline project asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday to quickly reissue certificates to the companies running the Southeastern U.S. project so they can keep operating when a two-day-old D.C. Circuit ruling takes effect Feb. 7.

  • February 2, 2018

    Eversource Says NH Hydropower Rejection Was Improper

    Northeastern utility provider Eversource believes a New Hampshire regulator acted improperly when it denied the company’s seven-year effort to build power lines and transmission infrastructure through the state to deliver Canadian hydropower energy to Massachusetts.

  • February 2, 2018

    DOE Can't Lift Freeze On Uranium Leasing Program

    A federal judge on Friday refused to lift an injunction on a U.S. Department of Energy uranium mining program in southwestern Colorado, saying the department has first to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on estimates of the likely annual water usage of the mines.

  • February 2, 2018

    Mass. Health Boards Raise Concerns Over Potential Pipelines

    Dozens of Massachusetts health boards pressed Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday to evaluate the impact that any new hydraulic fracturing gas infrastructure in the state would have not just on the environment but on human health.

  • February 2, 2018

    Monsanto Seed Rollout Forced Farmers' Hands, Suit Says

    A North Dakota farm filed a class action against Monsanto Co. in Missouri federal court on Thursday over the rollout of genetically modified seeds whose resistance to the otherwise destructive herbicide dicamba allegedly created a coercive market in which farmers must shop with Monsanto to prevent harm to their crops.

  • February 2, 2018

    High Court Could Rein In ESA's Reach In Frog Habitat Fight

    The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a timber company's challenge to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to designate a swath of private property as "critical habitat" for an endangered frog, a move some experts say could lead to the high court limiting the government's power to protect land under the Endangered Species Act.

  • February 2, 2018

    Feds, Tribe Say DC Circ. Ruling In Similar Case Backs Casino

    The federal government and the Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe of the Enterprise Rancheria told the Ninth Circuit on Thursday that a recent D.C. Circuit decision backs their efforts to defeat a challenge to the tribe’s proposed casino.

  • February 2, 2018

    Exxon Insists It Can Bolster Climate Speech Claims

    ExxonMobil on Thursday told a New York federal judge that it should be allowed to submit additional allegations that the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts conspired to deprive the oil giant of its free speech rights on climate change issues, claiming the prosecutors’ opposition “smacks of pure desperation.”

  • February 2, 2018

    Sunpreme Asks Fed. Circ. To Undo Solar Cell Duties

    Sunpreme has asked the Federal Circuit to overturn a U.S. Court of International Trade ruling on dumping and subsidy duties applied to the solar energy company’s hybrid solar cell imports from China, arguing that its goods fall outside the scope of a 2012 order.

  • February 1, 2018

    BASF, Shell Beat Challenge Over Contaminated NJ Property

    BASF Corp., Shell Oil Co. and related parties scored a victory Thursday when a New Jersey state appeals court upheld a lower court ruling enforcing a settlement that called for them taking ownership of a former landfill site and handling environmental cleanup costs there.

  • February 1, 2018

    Pipeline Developer Can't Take Land Yet, Va. Judge Says

    A Virginia federal judge on Wednesday said Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC can’t act immediately to possess nearly 300 properties in the state for a natural gas pipeline, saying more information on their worth was needed before the company could move forward.

  • February 1, 2018

    NJ Joins Support For Delaware River Fracking Ban

    Continuing his pledge to reverse New Jersey’s prior stance on several environmental issues, Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday announced the state’s newfound support for a proposal that would ban high-volume fracking in the Delaware River Basin.

  • February 1, 2018

    Lloyd's Wins Dismissal Of $25M Pollution Coverage Suit

    Waste collector Republic Services cannot press its claim that Lloyd's of London underwriters breached a $25 million excess policy by failing to pay the company's costs in connection with pollution at a Missouri landfill, an Arizona state judge has ruled, saying the claim is premature because the underlying primary insurance hasn't been exhausted.

  • February 1, 2018

    Feds Fight At 9th Circ. Against Water Release Order

    The federal government and others on Wednesday further urged the Ninth Circuit to overturn a lower court’s determination that the government must boost water releases and monitoring at a series of dams along the Columbia and Snake rivers to protect salmon and steelhead.

  • February 1, 2018

    Counties' VW Diesel Suits Could Spur Copycats, Judge Says

    A California federal judge expressed concerns at a San Francisco hearing Thursday that if he allows two counties in Florida and Utah to proceed with their litigation over Volkswagen AG’s “clean diesel” emissions scandal, it could set off thousands of copycat suits from counties across the country.

  • February 1, 2018

    Herbicide Suits Against Monsanto Consolidated In Mo.

    The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled Thursday that a series of farmers' lawsuits accusing Monsanto Co. and other chemical manufacturers of making a defective crop-damaging herbicide have enough in common to warrant consolidation in the Eastern District of Missouri.

  • February 1, 2018

    9th Circ. Ruling Broadens Reach Of CWA Pollution Liability

    The Ninth Circuit on Thursday said that wastewater injections whose pollution reaches navigable U.S. waters via groundwater are subject to Clean Water Act permitting requirements, a decision experts say expands the scope of CWA liability to potentially ensnare activities ranging from coal ash and pipeline spills to agricultural runoff.

  • February 1, 2018

    Taiwan Requests Consultations Over US Solar Tariffs

    Taiwan has asked to join South Korea in consultations with the U.S. over newly minted U.S. safeguard tariffs on solar energy equipment, according to documents lodged with the World Trade Organization.

Expert Analysis

  • FERC Passive Interest Order May Streamline Approvals

    Seth Lucia

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently clarified that it will not treat certain passive tax equity interests in public utilities as voting securities that require transaction approval pursuant to the Federal Power Act. But firms may continue to file for approval out of an abundance of caution, say attorneys with Bracewell LLP.

  • The Billing Evolution: How Far Along Is Your Firm?

    Sharon Quaintance

    In a recent study, 20 out of 25 law firms surveyed have made billing process improvement a top priority for 2018. Firms can foster consistency and increase efficiency at all stages of their billing cycle by focusing on a few specific procedures, say Sharon Quaintance and Christine Indiano at HBR Consulting.

  • 10 Tips For Effective Practice Before The 5th Circ.

    Justin Woodard

    The Fifth Circuit is among the busiest federal circuit courts in the country. What can you do to increase your chances of reaching oral argument? And if given the opportunity, how can you present a persuasive argument? Former Fifth Circuit clerk Justin Woodard, an associate at Jones Walker LLP, shares some advice.

  • Clarifying CERCLA Allocation For Gov't Contractors

    Thomas Dimond

    Following the Ninth Circuit's recent decision in TDY Holdings v. U.S., government contractors and others whose property and equipment was used to support wartime production should be aware of several factors that could determine whether you obtain significant Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act contribution from the federal government, say Thomas Dimond and Kelsey Weyhing of Ice Miller LLP.

  • Series

    Judging A Book: Saris Reviews 'Locking Up Our Own'

    Judge Patti Saris

    Having just completed a six-year term as chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, I read Yale Law School professor James Forman's new book, "Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America," with particular interest, says Judge Patti Saris, chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

  • Examining End Of EPA's 'Sue And Settle' Practice

    Maureen Mitchell

    With the stated intention of promoting transparency and public participation in the process of resolving lawsuits brought against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Administrator Scott Pruitt recently issued a directive to end the “sue and settle” practices within the agency. But whether the directive will provide relief for the EPA from the policy is debatable, says Maureen Mitchell of Fox Rothschild LLP.

  • Remaining Questions About US Paris Agreement Withdrawal

    Silvia Maciunas

    Last week’s annual meeting of the 23rd Conference of the Parties addressed, among other issues, implementation of the Paris climate change agreement. The U.S. has already submitted a notification of its intention to withdraw from the agreement, but because it has been submitted early, it is unclear whether it will satisfy the withdrawal requirements, says Silvia Maciunas of The Centre for International Governance Innovation.

  • Roundup

    Judging A Book

    Justice and Empathy

    Are the latest books on the judicial system worth reading? Federal judges share their thoughts in this series of book reviews.

  • Don't Waste This Planning Cycle: Year-End Strategies

    Hugh A. Simons

    Law firms are businesses where partners operate with significant autonomy. To see their priorities translate into individual partner action, firm leaders should use a few collaborative strategies, suggests Hugh A. Simons, former senior partner of The Boston Consulting Group and former COO of Ropes & Gray LLP.

  • From Snaps To Tweets: The Craft Of Social Media Discovery

    Matthew Hamilton

    Courts have consistently held that social media accounts are subject to established discovery principles but are reluctant to allow parties to rummage through private social media accounts. Recent case law confirms that narrowly tailored information requests get the best results, say Matthew Hamilton, Donna Fisher and Jessica Bae of Pepper Hamilton LLP.