Environmental Conflict of Laws

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Maui GMO Ban Overturned; Federal Court Remains Consistent on Preemption Analysis

This week, the federal district court in Hawaii struck down a Maui County law imposing a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organisms (GE plants, or GMOs). This decision is the third of three challenges...more

Preliminary Injunction Arguments Pour Into Litigation Against BLM’s Final Fracking Rule

Since our last update on federal litigation in Wyoming challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule to regulate hydraulic fracturing on public lands, the flurry of activity continues in advance of the June 23...more

Cosmetic Safety Legislation Introduced, Again

In what is the latest in a line of Congressional proposals to beef up the federal government’s authority to regulate cosmetics, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), has proposed a bill aimed at dramatically increasing Food and...more

Looks Like Frack is Back, Governor Abbott Signs House Bill 40

Yesterday, Governor Gregg Abbott signed into law House Bill 40, also known as the Denton Fracking Bill, which leaves municipalities with minimal power to regulate the oil and gas industry. The bill takes effect immediately...more

TSCA Reform: Detailed Review of Representative Shimkus' Second Discussion Draft of TSCA Reform Legislation

On May 12, 2015, Representative John Shimkus (R-IL), Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, released a new (second) draft of the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 (TMA2 DD). In April,...more

New Law in Texas Prohibits Local Municipalities from Banning Hydraulic Fracturing

On Monday, May 18, 2015, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott signed House Bill 40 into law, prohibiting cities, towns, and local municipalities in Texas from enacting bans on fracing. The new law provides that “oil and gas operations...more

Court Of Appeals Upholds General Permit Procedures For Storm Water Discharge

The New York State Court of Appeals, in Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation , recently rejected a challenge to the general permit procedures adopted by New York...more

Louisiana Court Rules that Migration of Chemicals from Spill Not a “Continuing Tort”

In a case that may make it more difficult for plaintiffs to maintain years-old toxic tort cases in Louisiana, a state appellate court ruled that a 1983 chemical spill did not constitute a “continuing tort.” ...more

Recent Surface Transportation Board Preemption Decisions of Note

In the last several months, the Surface Transportation Board (STB or Board) has issued a number of decisions further defining the scope of federal preemption. As the primary agency tasked with the economic regulation of the...more

TSCA Reform: Senate Committee Holds Markup and Passes Bipartisan Substitute Bill

On April 28, 2015, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing to consider several bills, including the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697). Prior to the hearing, on...more

Amended Udall-Vitter TSCA Reform Bill Reaches Senate Floor

On April 28, a modified version of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697), also known as the “Udall-Vitter” Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform bill, was approved by the Senate...more

House Subcommittee to Revise Draft TSCA Reform Bill for May 14 Markup

Legislation to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), already introduced in the Senate, has taken a step forward in the House of Representatives as well. ...more

Competing Proposed Bills in U.S. Congress Look to Reform Outdated Toxic Substances Control Act

Earlier in March, two separate bills were introduced in the United States Senate seeking to update the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976. The outdated federal legislation was meant to provide the Environmental...more

California Issues Emergency Regulations Restricting Underground Injection in Connection with Oil and Gas Recovery

The California Department of Conservation (“Department”) proposes to adopt emergency regulations purported to bring California’s underground injection control program into compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act...more

Udall-Vitter TSCA Reform Bill Builds Momentum for Passage; Senators Boxer, Markey Respond with Competing Legislation

On March 10, 2015, Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and David Vitter (R-La.) introduced the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697), to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). ...more

Calif. Appellate Court Endorses Averaging Lead Exposure in Food and Beverage Prop. 65 Disputes

In a rare published decision concerning California’s expansive Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, commonly known as “Prop 65,” the California Court of Appeal on March 17, 2015, dealt companies a victory in...more

Gas Lines to Pipelines: The Case for Comprehensive Federal Energy Legislation

We’ve struggled with the consequences of an insufficient federal energy policy for nearly half a century. From the gas lines of the 1970s to the Keystone XL pipeline controversy of the past several years, the federal and...more

In Cross-Border Contamination Case, Court Holds That CERCLA Displaces Federal Common Law Public Nuisance Claim

In yet another recent case involving the intersection of CERCLA and state law, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington held that CERCLA legislatively displaced federal common law public...more

Court Decisions Halt Momentum on Local Oil and Gas Regulations

Action Item: Oil and gas operators should be aware that courts recently have been paring back on the power of local municipalities to regulate their operations. ...more

Texas Legislature Takes Further Aim at Local/Municipal Fracking Bans

On Tuesday, March 11, 2015, the Texas Legislature’s 84th Session gained another bill directed at combating future local and municipal fracking bans. State Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo), Chairman of the Texas House Energy...more

Washington District Court Holds that CERCLA Displaces Federal Common Law Public Nuisance Claims

A Washington district court has recently held that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) displaces federal common law public nuisance claims for damages. (Anderson v. Teck...more

FedEx Asks Federal Appeals Court to Block California Enforcement Case Alleging Mismanagement of Damaged Products

On February 23, 2015, FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. (“FedEx”) filed an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (“9th Circuit”), seeking to block an enforcement action brought by the State of California...more

California’s Fracking Preemption Battle Moves Forward in San Benito County

Oil company Citadel Exploration, Inc. has reportedly filed a lawsuit against San Benito County, arguing that the County’s voter-sponsored ban on various types of well stimulation—often referred to generally as hydraulic...more

CEQA Update: Three New Court of Appeal Decisions Issued; Key Supreme Court Rulings Expected (and the Sacramento Kings are on a...

2015 is shaping up to be another active year for CEQA judicial review. After taking an extended holiday break, the Courts of Appeal have recently published three decisions, two of which reinforce existing case law on how to...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - February 2015 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus: State Water Board launches investigation into claims of senior water rights - Allen Matkins - Feb 9: On February 4, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board issued an order seeking...more

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