Environmental Energy & Utilities Toxic Torts

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Fourth Circuit Affirms Liability for Selenium Discharges - Rejects Permit Shield Defense

By a published decision released on July 11, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a district court decision out of the Western District of Virginia finding that A & G Coal Corporation (“A & G”)...more

The Clean Water Act - Is groundwater included?

There has been much controversy in the courts as to whether groundwater can be defined as “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act. Courts are split on this decision, with equal numbers of rulings on both sides. One...more

EPA Issues Proposed Rule to Significantly Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Summer has kicked off with a regulatory push by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This alert briefly addresses two recent EPA rulemakings....more

The Complexity Associated with Setting Non-cancer Indoor Air Remediation Goals for Trichloroethylene Based on Short-term Exposure...

Over the last few years, there has been increasing consideration of vapor intrusion in groundwater investigations, groundwater remedy selection, periodic reviews of the continued safety of already implemented groundwater...more

Oil and Gas Companies Ask Colorado Supreme Court to Approve Trial Court Order Requiring Plaintiffs to Present Preliminary Evidence...

On June 18th, Antero Resources Corp., Antero Resources Piceance Corp, Calfrac Well Services Corp, and Frontier Drilling LLC filed their Opening Brief before the Colorado Supreme Court in a “toxic tort” case concerning...more

One Step Closer… Fifth Circuit Affirms BP Loss on CWA Liability Regarding Gulf Spill

The Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico occurred over four years ago, accompanied by numerous stories trumpeting the fact that BP would likely pay as much as $25 billion to the United States in civil penalties...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - June 2014

Environmental and Policy Focus: California is ahead of EPA on climate rules - Los Angeles Times - Jun 5: In 2006, when California adopted AB 32, its landmark global warming law, it acted virtually alone. Now, the state...more

Leach Oil and Mouren-Laurens Oil Sites Add 1,300 New PRPs to Litigation

The Leach Oil Site and the Mouren-Laurens Oil Site are located adjacent to each other in Compton, California. These sites have been the subject of litigation between the current and former owners and operators for almost 15...more

Texas Jury Awards $3 Million in Hydraulic Fracturing Lawsuit

A jury in Dallas County, Texas, awarded nearly $3 million on April 22, 2014, in a suit contending that Aruba Petroleum, Inc., as well as other operators and service providers, had caused “environmental contamination and...more

Oil and Water – How the Galveston Oil Spill Proved The Two Don’t Mix

The Galveston Bay oil spill occurred, coincidentally, on the 25th anniversary of Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The Exxon Valdez oil spill is now considered to be one of the worst environmental...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update

Environmental and Policy Focus -- Court of Appeals upholds determination: Reuters - Mar 14 - The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday rejected a challenge to a determination by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service...more

West Virginia Legislature Passes Comprehensive Aboveground Storage Tank Bill and Amends Public Water Supply Laws

On March 8, 2014, the West Virginia Legislature passed a comprehensive bill, primarily in response to the Jan. 9, 2014 leak of fluid containing 4- Methylcyclohexane Methanol (MCHM) from an aboveground storage tank into the...more

Environmental and Energy: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Issues Draft Environmental Monitoring Services...

On Wednesday, February 12, 2014, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued a draft Commissioner Policy on Environmental Monitoring Services (the Policy). The proposed Policy updates DEC’s...more

D.C. Circuit Dismisses Most Industry Challenges to EPA’s Utility NSPS as Premature, Upholds EPA on Opacity Monitoring and...

In a unanimous decision issued on March 11, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected, on procedural and substantive grounds, a number of industry challenges to EPA’s new source...more

How Many Occurrences? Determining the Number of Occurrences for Fracking-Related Claims in CGL Policies

The controversy surrounding the use of the natural gas drilling process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract oil and gas is well-documented. While proponents argue that fracking presents the opportunity for an...more

Seventh Circuit Highlights Challenges To Class Certification In Environmental Litigation

Property owners in the town of Roxana, Illinois, a small village on the Mississippi River across from St. Louis, filed suit against Shell Oil Company and ConocoPhillips. The property owners alleged that a refinery owned by...more

Coast Guard Issues Proposed Regulations and NVIC Regarding Marine Casualty Reporting on the OCS

In the continuing regulatory response - even more than three years after the fact - to the DEEPWATER HORIZON disaster, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) has led off 2014 with proposed regulations that significantly change...more

Potential Recovery Opportunities Arising From Pollution Claims

Energy production in the United States is at an all-time high. In 2013, an average of 7.5 million barrels of oil were pumped every day, which bested the previous production record (2012) by one million barrels. Domestic oil...more

Litigation Risks in Texas Are Reduced –The Merits of New Trial Orders by Texas Courts Are Now Subject to Appellate Review

Significant oil and gas exploration and development has occurred and continues to occur in South Texas. Whenever an injury, death, or environmental damage results from these operations, a defendant energy company have often...more

Texas Environmental Update - October 2013

We are pleased to provide you with this issue of Bracewell's Texas Environmental Update, offering the latest news about permitting, enforcement, regulatory developments, and other matters of interest to the regulated...more

Lone Pine Orders Called Into Question In Colorado

A Lone Pine order is a case management tool often utilized by courts in complex multi-party toxic tort cases to organize plaintiffs’ claims and to focus the parties on key issues early in the litigation. A Lone Pine order...more

The Seventh Circuit Still Wrong: Bernstein v. Bankert

Late last year I blogged on the dubious decision by the Seventh Circuit in Bernstein v. Blankert which held that a settling CERCLA party did not resolve its liability to the government until it had performed all of its...more

Fifth Circuit Evaluates Application of Civil Penalty Factors for Oil Spills under the Clean Water Act, Holds Economic Benefit is...

On an appeal of a penalty determination in the first oil spill case to be tried under the civil penalty provisions enacted after the Exxon Valdez catastrophe in the Oil Pollution Act of 1991, the Fifth Circuit Court of...more

Colorado Ruling Raises Stakes in Fracking Litigation and Beyond

In an Independence Day gift to plaintiffs, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled in Strudley v. Antero Resources Corp., No. 12CA1251 (July 3, 2013), that Colorado law does not allow pre-discovery Lone Pine orders, often used by...more

Eligibility for Reimbursement from the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund Cannot Be Determined on a Per Tank Basis

On June 17, 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Young’s Sales and Service v. Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Board, reversed a decision of the Commonwealth Court and held that eligibility for indemnification for...more

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