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Environmental Civil Procedure Energy & Utilities

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Environmental issues written by leading professionals.

U.S. Fifth Circuit Affirms Application of the Subsequent Purchaser Doctrine in Oilfield Contamination Case, Recognizes “Clear...

by Liskow & Lewis on

In Guilbeau v. Hess Corporation, the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the application of Louisiana’s subsequent purchaser doctrine to bar a plaintiff’s claims for property damage resulting...more

It’s Wise to Make Certain that Contracts Properly Allocate Future Environmental Compliance Costs

Last week, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that AEP, which entered into a consent decree requiring it to install certain pollution controls at its Rockport 1 and 2 power plants, could not force the owner of those...more

California Court Chastises Air Resources Board over LCFS but Preserves 2017 Status Quo

by Latham & Watkins LLP on

In two recent posts, we discussed how California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) had been thrown into a state of potential upheaval by two interrelated legal challenges commonly known as POET I and POET II, including a...more

GHG Allowance Auctions are Not a Tax; Key Element of State’s Cap-and-Trade Program Upheld

California Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. California Air Resources Board, et al., Case No. C075930 (Cal. Ct. App. 3d. Dist., 2017). On April 6, the California Court of Appeal for the Third District issued its...more

Stretching Sovereign Immunity: The New Jersey High Court Immunizes the State from New Jersey Spill Act Liability for Pre-1977...

by Blank Rome LLP on

Action Item: The New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in NL Industries, Inc. v. State of New Jersey will frustrate the equitable allocation of cleanup costs at sites involving pre-1977 discharges where the State would...more

Exxon Case Against AGs Transferred to New York: Judge Kinkeade Fires a Parting Shot

On Wednesday, Judge Ed Kinkeade ordered that Exxon Mobil’s suit against NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey be transferred to the Southern District of New York.  The AGs must...more

DC Circuit Case May Test Continuing Validity of FERC Delegations of Authority to Agency Staff Once Its Quorum Disappeared

by Stinson Leonard Street on

On February 7 and March 7, 2017, we wrote about how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is operating without a legal quorum of three members and how the lack of a quorum might affect the validity of FERC staff...more

California State Court Poised to Destabilize Low Carbon Fuel Standard

by Latham & Watkins LLP on

Big changes appear to be imminent for California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). As discussed in greater detail in our recent post, the LCFS currently is the subject of two interrelated legal challenges commonly known...more

State of Texas Sues Federal Government to Prompt Action on Yucca Mountain

by McDermott Will & Emery on

The state of Texas sued the federal government on March 14, 2017, under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, stating that the executive branch failed to comply with the Act’s mandate that the federal government establish a...more

Court Dismisses Complaint That FERC’s Regulatory Structure Is Biased In Favor Of Pipeline Applicants

On March 22, in the case of Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et al., v. FERC, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint that the statutory requirement that the Federal Regulatory...more

Kern County Judge Grants Injunction, Blocking Blanket Enforcement of Oil Field Aquifer Exemption Regulations

by Stoel Rives LLP on

A reported in a prior blog post, the Western States Petroleum Association (“WSPA”) sued the California Department of Conservation and the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (jointly, the “Department”) in Kern...more

The Conservative Case for Chevron Deference, Chapter 3 (Plus an Auer Bonus!)

The conservative cases in support of Chevron deference keep arriving. This week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed EPA’s federal implementation plan for compliance with its regional haze regulations by the Navajo...more

Twin Challenges to LCFS Advance in California Courts, With Potential Implications for State’s Overall Climate Stabilization...

by Latham & Watkins LLP on

Two related cases, advancing in parallel, have the potential to upend California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), whether via full suspension of the LCFS or carving out diesel fuels from the deficit and crediting...more

Texas Supreme Court Reverses Two Court of Appeals Decisions Involving Environmental Issues

On February 24, the Texas Supreme Court released several decisions, including two rulings involving aspects of environmental law. The cases are ExxonMobil Corporation v. Lazy R Ranch, et al., and ExxonMobil Pipeline Company,...more

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?

by McGuireWoods LLP on

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

by Latham & Watkins LLP on

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

by Williams Mullen on

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...

by Nossaman LLP on

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’

by Latham & Watkins LLP on

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

by Stoel Rives LLP on

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

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