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Environmental Litigation and Toxic Torts Update – Mountain/West Coast Case Law Highlights

Ninth Circuit Finds “Threatened” Designation For Bearded Seals Proper Based On New Long-Term Projections - Alaska Oil and Gas Ass’n et al. v. Pritzker et al., 840 F.3d 671, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19084 (9th Cir. 2016)....more

Can the ‘Long-Ago’ Nature of Conduct Bar Punitive Damages — Even for Recent Injuries?

Does the statute of limitations bar a claim for punitive damages if the conduct occurred outside the limitations period, but the plaintiff’s injuries occurred within it? An Illinois federal judge recently confronted this...more

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Clean Water Rule Case Jurisdictional Challenge

On January 13, 2017, the US Supreme Court granted certiorari for an appeal that will allow the Court to determine the proper jurisdiction for litigation challenging the Clean Water Rule (the Final Rule). The federal Clean...more

Fourth Circuit Upends NPDES Permit Shield

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently upheld a lower court’s determination that a West Virginia mining company was not shielded from liability by its NPDES permit. The mining company’s permit...more

Cap and Trade Auction Credits: Taxes, Regulatory Fees or “Something Else”? California Third District Court of Appeal Hears...

A three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeal for the Third District heard oral argument last week in the longstanding companion cases challenging the legality of AB 32’s cap and trade auctions. California Chamber of...more

Commonwealth Court Rejects DEP’s Interpretation of The Clean Streams Law

On January 11, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania decided the case of EQT Production Company v. Department of Environmental Protection of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and granted EQT Production Company’s (EQT)...more

Wash. Supreme Court Rejects Limited Scope of the Ocean Resources Management Act

On January 12, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington issued a unanimous ruling holding that both the Court of Appeals and the state’s Shorelines Hearing Board (Board) had erroneously interpreted the state’s Ocean...more

District Court Reviews Definition of “Gross Negligence” in Oil Pollution Act Reimbursement Action

On December 22, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion in Water Quality Insurance Syndicate v. U.S., which reversed the Coast Guard’s National Pollution Funds Center’s (NPFC) finding of gross...more

Italian Constitutional Court declares the question of constitutional legitimacy on the “Spalma-Incentivi” Decree ‘groundless’

On December 7, 2016 the Italian Constitutional Court (the “Constitutional Court”) rejected the appeal filed by four solar energy operators against Art. 26, paragraphs 2 and 3 of Italian Law Decree no. 91, dated June 24, 2014,...more

California Sues Federal Government Alleging Inadequate Environmental Review of Offshore Drilling Proposal

In one of her last major legal actions before leaving office as California’s Attorney General, Kamala Harris, along with the California Coastal Commission (jointly the “Attorney General”), filed suit against various federal...more

December 2016: Energy Litigation Update

Update on Clean Power Plan. In August 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) finalized a new set of standards, now known as the Clean Power Plan (the “Plan”), aimed at reducing carbon emissions from fossil-fuel...more

Does MassDEP Have Authority to Regulate Electric Generating Emissions Under Section 3(d) of the GWSA? I’m Not So Sure.

As I have previously noted, I sympathize with the difficulties faced by MassDEP in trying to implement the SJC decision in Kain. However, that does not mean that MassDEP can simply take the easy way out. After rereading...more

EPA Surrenders in the Regional Haze Dispute With Texas

As I noted when the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed EPA’s disapproval of Texas’s regional haze plan, EPA had pretty much no chance of winning. Although the parties then stayed the litigation to talk settlement, EPA...more

Environmental Groups Sue Federal Agencies Again in Unending Legal Battle Over Offshore Oil Development

On November 11, 2016, the Environmental Defense Center (“EDC”) and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper jointly filed suit against several federal agencies including the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and...more

FERC Dismisses Electric Cooperatives’ Maryland Community Solar Program PURPA Case as Premature

On November 15, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order dismissing a petition for declaratory filed by two Maryland electric cooperatives requesting a FERC finding that regulations governing...more

DEP Is Trying to Implement Kain. How Are They Doing?

When the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Kain that § 3(d) of the Global Warming Solutions act requires MassDEP to promulgate emission limits for multiple source categories, requiring declining annual emissions enforceable in...more

Court Awards $206 Million to Alta Wind Projects in Section 1603 Grant Litigation; Smaller Award to Biomass Facility

The US Court of Federal Claims awarded damages of more than $206 million to Plaintiffs/applicants in a case with respect to the cash grant under Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law...more

ICYMI: Energy & Environmental News Round-up

Oil & Gas - New Oil and Gas Emission Control Guidelines Posted - On Thursday, October 20, 2016, EPA published emission control techniques guidelines for the oil and gas industry regarding reducing smog-forming...more

EPA Must Consider Regulatory Impacts on Coal/Utility Industry Jobs and Plant Closure

On October 17, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia granted summary judgment to Murray Energy Corporation and its subsidiary coal companies, including UtahAmerican Energy, Inc. The decision...more

Energy Sector Alert Series: Supreme Court Cases to Watch

In this eight-week alert series, we are providing a broad look at current and emerging issues facing the energy sector. Lawyers from across the firm are discussing issues ranging from cybersecurity, antitrust and intellectual...more

An Update on Pennsylvania's Oil and Gas Law - Act 13 - After Supreme Court Decisions

While many key provisions of Act 13 have now been struck down by the Supreme Court’s two Robinson decisions, much of the Act remains. Act 13 of 2012 represented a major overhaul of Pennsylvania’s oil and gas law and...more

We Meant What We Said: Pa. Supreme Court Issues Latest Decision in Robinson Township

On September 28, 2016, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its latest decision in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth. Link to decision HA Doc. 241394 This latest iteration of Robinson Township (referred to by the Court as...more

Patience and Perseverance Paves the Way for Air-izona

John Quincy Adams is credited with saying: “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” This is certainly apropos for Arizona in light of recent federal actions...more

Pennsylvania Federal Court Decides a Novel CERCLA Issue: When Is the Current Owner Not the Current Owner?

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued a decision on an aspect of CERCLA for which it found almost no prior court precedent – the temporal aspect of the term “current owner or operator” –...more

Clean Power Plan has its day in court - Will the D.C. Circuit uphold EPA’s landmark CO2 regulations?

In a marathon day-long session before a packed courtroom (and a number of overflow rooms) on Tuesday, September 27, 2016, the full US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit heard oral arguments in a litigation challenging the...more

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