Environmental

  • April 11, 2024

    Judge Won't Rethink Ax Of Tribes 'Cultural Resource' Claims

    A Washington federal judge has refused to rethink his dismissal of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation's claims for "tribal service losses" stemming from a smelter's Columbia River pollution, saying the tribes did not meet the standard required for reconsideration.

  • April 11, 2024

    US Sends Mixed Messages In Enbridge Line 5 Pipeline Dispute

    The U.S. government sent mixed messages to the Seventh Circuit in weighing in on Enbridge's controversial Line 5 oil pipeline, saying a lower court was right to determine that the company is trespassing on tribal lands, but recommended that the case be remanded and that a tribe's public nuisance claim be dismissed. 

  • April 10, 2024

    GOP Rep. Calls On SEC To Delay Climate Rule Compliance

    A Republican congressman said Wednesday that he plans to ask the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to push back the compliance timeline for controversial rules governing corporate climate disclosures, indicating that the agency's agreement to temporarily stay the rules' implementation during the course of a legal challenge is not enough.

  • April 10, 2024

    Wash. Tribe Says $1M Fine Not Enough To Settle CWA Claims

    A Washington tribe is opposing a proposed consent decree that would settle Clean Water Act claims against a hydroelectric dam operator, arguing that a $1 million penalty is vastly too low for violations of the law when the damage continues.

  • April 10, 2024

    Landmark PFAS Rule Faces Battles Over Costs And Science

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday issued the first-ever federal drinking water standards for "forever chemicals," something communities, environmental groups and politicians of both major political parties had been clamoring for. However, experts said the novel rulemaking will attract tough legal battles over implementation costs, supporting science and other elements.

  • April 10, 2024

    Emissions Rules' Foes May Be Forced To Yield To Automakers

    Potential challengers of vehicle emissions rules were shown they're not necessarily in the drivers' seat on the issue when the D.C. Circuit upheld California's authority to set its own greenhouse gas emissions standards and run a zero-emission vehicles program while citing the auto industry's peace with the regulations.

  • April 10, 2024

    EPA Files First Admin. Complaint Over Illegal HFC Import

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed an administrative complaint against USA Wholesale Inc. on Wednesday for unlawfully importing hydrofluorocarbons, marking the first time the agency has done so under the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020.

  • April 10, 2024

    Maine Says Lobster Boat Tracking Counts As Legal Search

    Maine's top fisheries' regulator is arguing that newly required electronic location tracking for some lobstering boats is a legal administrative search of commercial premises and has urged a federal judge to toss a lawsuit alleging the rule violates lobster fishers' constitutional rights.

  • April 10, 2024

    Mich. Justices Block Wind Farm's Plan To Expand Near Airport

    The Michigan Supreme Court has upheld a local board's decision to block a commercial wind farm expansion, agreeing with a trial judge that zoning officials had marshaled enough evidence that the windmills posed safety risks to aviators.

  • April 10, 2024

    Paper Companies Still Liable In Superfund Row, Judge Says

    A Michigan federal judge held that International Paper Co. and Weyerhaeuser Co. can still be sued for future cleanup costs of a Michigan superfund site after the Sixth Circuit cut them loose from their portion of a $49 million bill for cleanup costs to date.

  • April 10, 2024

    Botched Herbicide Job Spoiled 'God's Creation,' Ga. Jury Told

    Counsel for a rural Georgia quail hunting operation told an Atlanta federal jury Wednesday that when their client hired a company to thin out the woods on its property with herbicide, it instead brought "death and destruction" to the bucolic retreat.

  • April 10, 2024

    Children Fight Feds' Bid To Dodge Constitutional Climate Suit

    A group of children has fired back at the federal government's attempt to dismiss its California federal court lawsuit alleging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency knowingly allows unsafe levels of climate pollution despite the Constitution guaranteeing "a life-sustaining climate system." 

  • April 10, 2024

    EPA Finalizes First-Ever PFAS Drinking Water Standards

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced the final version of its first-ever regulatory limits on "forever chemicals" in drinking water, a move the EPA said will be accompanied by nearly $1 billion in new funding for implementation.

  • April 09, 2024

    After Uproar, New MDL Rule Advances With Attys Assuaged

    Following years of debate and months of outcry, a judicial panel Tuesday approved the first formal rule aimed at improving efficiency and fairness in the nation's burgeoning realm of multidistrict litigation, earning plaudits from placated lawyers in the defense and plaintiffs bars.

  • April 09, 2024

    Calif. AG Backs Bill To Revamp 'Abysmal' Corporate Penalties

    California Attorney General Rob Bonta gave his full support Tuesday to a state bill that would increase the cap on criminal penalties for corporate malfeasance from the "abysmal penalty" of $10,000 per felony to $25 million, or twice the value of the inflicted loss, and provide all proceeds to California's crime victim services.

  • April 09, 2024

    What's In The Norfolk Southern $600M Derailment Deal

    Last year's fiery Norfolk Southern train derailment and toxic chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio, reached a litigation milestone Tuesday with the disaster's first major settlement, a proposed $600 million deal with nearby residents and businesses, but the rail giant must still contend with a federal investigation and other lawsuits.

  • April 09, 2024

    Venable Snags Trio Of Product Liability Partners From Steptoe

    Three Steptoe LLP product liability and mass torts partners have departed the firm and joined Venable LLP in Chicago and Los Angeles, according to an announcement Tuesday.

  • April 09, 2024

    Hawaiian Electric Brass Hit With Suit Over Wildfire Preparation

    A Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. shareholder has alleged in a derivative suit that the company's executives and directors knew that it was not prepared for last year's deadly Maui wildfire, which caused reputational and financial damage to the company.

  • April 09, 2024

    Navajo, Mine Operator Look To Settle Last Waste Spill Claims

    A New Mexico federal judge has stayed litigation in the Navajo Nation's remaining claims against a Gold King Mine operator stemming from a hazardous waste spill that spurred nearly a decade of litigation after the parties said they reached a settlement in principle.

  • April 09, 2024

    Contractor Says Feds Are Blocking Border Wall Settlement Payout

    A construction contractor wants to intervene in litigation over the Biden administration's diversion of border wall funds, saying the federal government has invoked a recent injunction in the case to stymie the company's attempt to recoup lost construction costs.

  • April 09, 2024

    Nikola Investors' SPAC Fraud Suit Moves Ahead

    Board directors of electric truck maker Nikola Corp. and the blank-check company that took it public for $3.3 billion in 2020 must face shareholders' derivative claims of insider trading, securities fraud and merger-related breaches after Delaware's Court of Chancery on Tuesday denied more than half of the defense's motions to dismiss.

  • April 09, 2024

    Jones Day's FOIA Suit Turning Into Judicial Quagmire

    A Michigan state judge said what he initially thought was a straightforward open-records dispute had turned into a complicated mess, as law firm Jones Day argued Tuesday that a Michigan agency must turn over documents related to its crackdown on the family of toxic chemicals known as PFAS.

  • April 09, 2024

    Equitrans Hit With $1.1M Pollution Penalties In Pennsylvania

    The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection unveiled more than $1.1 million in civil penalties against Equitrans Midstream Partners LP on Tuesday for violations related to the company's uncontrolled gas release from its Rager Mountain natural gas storage field in Cambria County.

  • April 09, 2024

    9th Circ. Open To Reviving Calif. Cannabis Abatement Fight

    A Ninth Circuit panel on Tuesday appeared open to reviving a proposed class action alleging that Humboldt County's abatement fines for unlicensed cannabis growing structures is an unconstitutional "dragnet scheme," with two judges suggesting the magistrate judge inappropriately resolved material factual disputes against the property owners at the pleading stage.

  • April 09, 2024

    4th Circ. Tosses Duty To Defend Case Over Oil Co.'s Objection

    The Fourth Circuit said Tuesday that a West Virginia oil and gas company lacked standing to continue an appeal that was originally brought by a green grower, which had sought coverage from its insurer for an underlying $4 million land use dispute with the extractor.

Expert Analysis

  • How IRA Unlocks Green Energy Investments For Tribes

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    An Inflation Reduction Act provision going into effect May 10 represents a critical juncture for Native American tribes, offering promising economic opportunity in green energy investment, but requiring a proactive and informed approach when taking advantage of newly available tax incentives, say attorneys at Lewis Brisbois.

  • What Nevada 'Superbasin' Ruling Means For Water Users

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    The Nevada Supreme Court's recent decision in Sullivan v. Lincoln County Water District, affirming that the state can manage multiple predesignated water basins as one "superbasin," significantly broadens the scope of water constraints that project developers in Nevada and throughout the West may need to consider, say attorneys at Perkins Coie.

  • Tipsters May Be Key To Financial Regulators' ESG Efforts

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    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission are looking to whistleblowers to assist their climate and ESG task forces, suggesting insider information could be central to the agencies' enforcement efforts against corporate greenwashing, false investment claims and climate disclosure violations, says John Crutchlow at Youman & Caputo.

  • Series

    Serving As A Sheriff's Deputy Made Me A Better Lawyer

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    Skills developed during my work as a reserve deputy — where there was a need to always be prepared, decisive and articulate — transferred to my practice as an intellectual property litigator, and my experience taught me that clients often appreciate and relate to the desire to participate in extracurricular activities, says Michael Friedland at Friedland Cianfrani.

  • Fears About The End Of Chevron Deference Are Overblown

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    While some are concerned about repercussions if the U.S. Supreme Court brings an end to Chevron deference in the Loper and Relentless cases this term, agencies and attorneys would survive just fine under the doctrines that have already begun to replace it, say Daniel Wolff and Henry Leung at Crowell & Moring.

  • Former Minn. Chief Justice Instructs On Writing Better Briefs

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    Former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, now at Greenberg Traurig, offers strategies on writing more effective appellate briefs from her time on the bench.

  • California Shows A Viable Way Forward For PFAS Testing

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    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has no good way of testing for the presence of specific per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances in food packaging — but a widely available test for a range of fluorine compounds that's now being used in California may offer a good solution, says Vineet Dubey at Custodio & Dubey.

  • Stay Interviews Are Key To Retaining Legal Talent

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    Even as the economy shifts and layoffs continue, law firms still want to retain their top attorneys, and so-called stay interviews — informal conversations with employees to identify potential issues before they lead to turnover — can be a crucial tool for improving retention and morale, say Tina Cohen Nicol and Kate Reder Sheikh at Major Lindsey.

  • Ruling In La. May Undercut EPA Enviro Justice Efforts

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    A Louisiana federal court's recent decision in Louisiana v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will likely serve as a template for other states to oppose the EPA's use of disparate impact analyses in Title VI civil rights cases aimed at advancing environmental justice policies and investigations, say Jonathan Brightbill and Joshua Brown at Winston & Strawn.

  • Calif. High Court Ruling Has Lessons For Waiving Jury Trials

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    The California Supreme Court’s recent decision in TriCoast Builders v. Fonnegra, denying relief to a contractor that had waived its right to a jury trial, shows that litigants should always post jury fees as soon as possible, and seek writ review if the court denies relief from a waiver, say Steven Fleischman and Nicolas Sonnenburg at Horvitz & Levy.

  • Take AG James' Suit Over Enviro Claims As A Warning

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    New York Attorney General Letitia James' recent suit against JBS USA Food Co. over allegedly misleading claims about its goal to reach net zero by 2040 indicates that challenges to green claims are likely to continue, and that companies should think twice about ignoring National Advertising Division recommendations, say attorneys at Kelley Drye.

  • 8 Tips As GCs Prep For New SEC Climate Disclosure Rules

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    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's recently adopted rules governing climate-related disclosures represent a major change to the existing public company disclosure regime, so in-house counsel should begin to evaluate existing systems and resources related to emissions data, and identify the changes that will need to be made, say attorneys at Bracewell.

  • What New Waste Management Laws Signal For The Future

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    Several states have enacted extended producer responsibility and recycling labeling laws that will take effect in the next few years and force manufacturers to take responsibility for the end of life of their products, so companies should closely follow compliance timelines and push to innovate in the area, say attorneys at Perkins Coie.

  • Del. Supreme Court Insurance Ruling Aids In Defining 'Claim'

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    The recent Delaware Supreme Court decision in Zurich v. Syngenta, finding that a presuit letter did not constitute a claim for insurance purposes, sets out a three-factor test to help policyholders distinguish when a demand rises to the level of a claim, says Lara Langeneckert at Barnes & Thornburg.

  • Series

    Spray Painting Makes Me A Better Lawyer

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    My experiences as an abstract spray paint artist have made me a better litigator, demonstrating — in more ways than one — how fluidity and flexibility are necessary parts of a successful legal practice, says Erick Sandlin at Bracewell.

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