Environmental

  • January 12, 2017

    Noble Asks Texas Justices To Nix $63M Conoco Indemnity

    Noble Energy Inc. on Thursday told the Texas Supreme Court it’s wrongly on the hook to ConocoPhillips Co. for $63 million in environmental cleanup costs under an indemnity agreement a predecessor company didn't know existed when it bought property.

  • January 12, 2017

    Court Orders EPA To Create Jobs Analysis For Coal Industry

    A West Virginia federal judge on Wednesday slammed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy for her “hostile” attitude toward complying with Clean Air Act requirements to study the effect of the agency’s regulations on jobs, ordering the agency to come up with a study on plant closures and job losses by July.

  • January 12, 2017

    Navajos Say Contractor Can't Escape Gold King Spill Suit

    The Navajo Nation shot back Wednesday at a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency contractor’s attempt to escape a liability suit over the Gold King Mine spill, saying the contractor was directing remediation activities and conducting operations at the site when the disaster occurred.

  • January 12, 2017

    Tribes Can't Wrest Control Of Water Project, Feds Say

    The federal government fought back against an effort by two Native American tribes to halt the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s operation of an irrigation project, telling a California federal court Wednesday the tribes haven’t shown they need such a step to protect the salmon they rely on.

  • January 12, 2017

    Lamorak Tells 2nd Circ. Policy Must Be Read As Written

    Lamorak Insurance Co. told the Second Circuit Thursday that a New York district court judge “rewrote" its contract with Olin Corp., saying the plain language of the policy dictates that the chemical producer must collect on earlier policies with other insurers before Lamorak has to pay out for the cleanup of contaminated sites.

  • January 12, 2017

    Calif. Bracing For Potential EPA, Clean Water Act Changes

    California is bracing for a potential reduction of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Clean Water Act regulation of waters and wetlands by shoring up its own set of regulations ahead of the incoming administration, and developers as a result face uncertainty and potentially higher costs and more regulatory hurdles, lawyers say.

  • January 12, 2017

    EPA Finalizes Nanoscale Chemical Reporting Requirements

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday finalized a rule requiring one-time reporting of existing exposure and health and safety information on nanoscale chemical substances currently in use.

  • January 12, 2017

    Green Groups Fight Route For Fla. Bridge In 11th Circ.

    Environmental groups urged the Eleventh Circuit to revive their challenge to a route for a new bridge in Port St. Lucie, Florida, arguing that the federal government's proposed plan's advantages over alternate routes in terms of community impacts do not outweigh the environmental costs to public parkland.

  • January 12, 2017

    Oil Terminal Projects Can't Duck Wash. Ocean Law, Court Says

    Washington state's top court on Thursday unanimously reversed a lower court's conclusion that a proposed oil terminal expansion wasn't subject to the state's coastal protection law, saying the decision improperly restricts the law's intended ability to protect against the environmental risks of oil and other fossil fuels.

  • January 12, 2017

    Enviros, Chicago Settle Pollution Suit On Eve Of Trial

    The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago has reached an eleventh-hour settlement with environmental groups over allegations of excessive phosphorus pollution, according to court documents filed Wednesday, resolving the need for a trial that was scheduled to begin next week.

  • January 12, 2017

    Greek Shippers To Shell Out $2.7M For Ocean Pollution

    Two Greek shipping companies were ordered Wednesday to pay about $2.7 million in penalties four months after being convicted of obstructing justice, witness tampering, conspiracy and violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, the U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday.

  • January 12, 2017

    EPA Moves To Ban Trichloroethylene In Vapor Degreasing

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday proposed banning the toxic chemical trichloroethylene when it’s used as a vapor degreaser, a move that will affect several industries including petroleum refineries, soap manufacturers and machine shops.

  • January 12, 2017

    Energy Pick Perry Cuts Ties With Dakota Access Companies

    President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for secretary of energy, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, is breaking ties with some energy companies, including stepping down from the boards of two companies developing the Dakota Access pipeline and, should he be confirmed for the role, vowing to shed stock in them.

  • January 12, 2017

    Battery Maker Wants Court, Not DOE, To Rule On Loan Denial

    A car battery maker asked the D.C. Circuit on Wednesday to overturn a decision instructing the company to reapply for a $15 million loan with the U.S. Department of Energy instead of disputing its initial application in the courts, saying political considerations were the reason it was denied.

  • January 12, 2017

    Enviros Claim Ga. Let Coal Plant Pollution Permits Lapse

    Environmental groups on Thursday sued Georgia environmental regulators in state court, accusing them of dragging their feet in updating long-expired wastewater discharge pollution permits for five coal-fired power plants owned by utility giant Southern Co.

  • January 12, 2017

    BC Greenlights Kinder Morgan Canadian Pipeline Project

    The government of British Columbia on Wednesday signed off on Kinder Morgan Inc.'s $5.4 billion Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project, allowing the midstream giant to clear another major regulatory hurdle after the Canadian federal government approved the project in November.

  • January 12, 2017

    EPA Says Fiat Chrysler Used Illegal Engine Emission Software

    Fiat Chrysler installed and failed to disclose engine software that allowed about 100,000 Jeep Cherokee and Dodge Ram trucks to produce excessive emissions of nitrogen oxide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday.

  • January 11, 2017

    Mass. Court Won't Quash AG's Exxon Climate Change Probe

    A Massachusetts state judge on Wednesday shot down Exxon’s challenge to state Attorney General Maura Healey’s climate change investigation, ruling the Texas company couldn’t skip out of Massachusetts court when it does business in the commonwealth.

  • January 11, 2017

    ND Landowners Accuse Dakota Access Of Fraud Over Pipeline

    A group of landowners in a North Dakota county have hit Dakota Access LLC with a $4 million suit in federal court over its controversial pipeline project, alleging the company committed fraud by getting them to accept a much lower price to allow the pipeline to cross their land than other landowners received.

  • January 11, 2017

    House Passes Bill Ending Chevron Deference

    The U.S. House of Representatives passed a package of bills Wednesday aimed at regulatory agencies, which included ending the doctrine of judicial deference to agency legal interpretations, over Democratic objections the law would grind rulemaking to a halt.

Expert Analysis

  • The Future Of DAPL And Tribal Consultations

    Maranda Compton

    Although any judicial decision on Dakota Access’ recent claims that the Army Corps of Engineers attempted to block construction of the Dakota Access pipeline project won't be issued until at least the end of February 2017, the future of the DAPL could hinge not on U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg' decisions, but on actions taken by the next administration, say attorneys at Van Ness Feldman LLP.

  • CPP Rollback May Impact SO2 Emissions Trading Markets

    David Fotouhi

    If the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan is jettisoned or substantially scaled back by the D.C. Circuit or the next administration, then the resulting short-term regulatory uncertainty and the potential tapering of recent declines in sulfur dioxide emissions may affect sulfur dioxide emissions allowance prices, says David Fotouhi of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

  • Are Courts In The Discovery Driver’s Seat?

    Cristin K. Traylor

    I recently asked a panel of four federal court judges whether they expect courts to start taking a more active role in e-discovery. They answered with a resounding yes. However, their responses left me wondering whether courts are actually taking a more active role in discovery since the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure amendments took effect in December 2015, says Cristin Traylor of McGuireWoods LLP.

  • What To Know About The New FWS Mitigation Policy

    Sue Meyer

    The goal of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's recently published mitigation policy is to create flexibility for application across a wide range of geographic scales. The flip side of this flexibility is that the service can choose the geographic scale at which to apply the policy within the context of a given project, say Stephanie Clark and Sue Meyer of Nossaman LLP.

  • A Blockbuster Year For Net Energy Metering Policy

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    It has been a defining year for net energy metering programs across the country. With rooftop solar gaining market share, many states are revisiting their NEM programs as they reach state-imposed caps on capacity. Brian Nese, Emma Fazio and Xiaowan Mao of Stoel Rives LLP review NEM policy debates that occurred across the country in 2016, and look at what to expect in 2017.

  • New EPA Asbestos Review Confronts Old Questions

    J. Michael Showalter

    On Nov. 29, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it will review the hazard and exposure risks caused by asbestos, in response to recent amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act. But as always, asbestos presents unique challenges to regulators, both because it is naturally occurring, and because of disagreements about which minerals fit the definition, says J. Michael Showalter of Schiff Hardin LLP.

  • Rules Of Civil Procedure Updates Affect E-Discovery

    Patrick Reilly

    On Dec. 1, 2016, the annual updates to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure went into effect. Revisions include the end of the three-day “mail rule” extension for electronically served discovery, an amendment regarding service of internationally based corporate defendants, and a technical change regarding venues in maritime law actions, say Patrick Reilly and Eldin Hasic of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

  • The Path To The California Bench

    Judge George F. Bird

    Ever consider applying for a judicial appointment in California? Get the lay of the land from Judge George Bird of the Los Angeles Superior Court and Kimberly Knill, a senior appellate court attorney for the California Court of Appeal. Additionally, hear what several recent appointees to the LA Superior Court thought of the judicial selection process.

  • Act 13 And Pennsylvania Fracking: The Drama Continues

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    Four years ago, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Act 13 of 2012, a comprehensive updating of the Commonwealth's oil and gas development laws. Its passage spurred the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to tighten regulations on hydraulic fracturing. But legal challenges to both Act 13 and the ensuing regulations are advancing at a rapid pace, says Michael Reer of Harris Finley & Bogle PC.

  • 3 Tips To Avoid Being On The Outs With In-House Counsel

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    When trial lawyers fail to recognize the unique challenges faced by in-house counsel, it jeopardizes not only the outcome of the case, but also the opportunities for future representation. These few simple strategies are hardly rocket science, but they are too often neglected, says Matthew Whitley
 of Beck Redden LLP.