Environmental Toxic Torts Energy & Utilities

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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

Environmental Groups Seek to Impose Selenium Treatment Obligations on Property Owners

The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, and Sierra Club have filed five (5) lawsuits in the last two months in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, alleging...more

Arkansas Oil Spill Not Deadly, Yet

Long-term effects of oil spills remain uncertain, with studies working to provide some answers to the exact health hazards such toxic accidents cause. The recent ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline spill in Arkansas may provide more...more

Superfund Liability for the Repair of a Useful Product

A few months ago, I blogged on the decision in Duke Energy Progress Inc. v. Alcan Aluminum Corporation where a court held that a company would not be held liable for selling used transformers to a recycling facility for...more

EPA Issues Long-Awaited Vapor Intrusion Guidance for Public Comment

More than ten years after issuing draft guidance regarding the increasingly significant subject of vapor intrusion (VI), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just released for public comment drafts of two...more

DEEP Updates Engineered Control Financial Assurance Guidance

On January 31, 2013, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) unveiled revisions to guidance on financial assurance for engineered control variances under the Remediation Standard Regulations...more

Supreme Court Reaffirms CWA Discharge Ruling in L.A. Stormwater Case

On January 8, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld its 2004 ruling that the movement of polluted water between separate sections of the same waterbody does not constitute a “discharge” of pollutants requiring a...more

Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Update: January 2013 - New Jersey Supreme Court Clarifies Requisite Nexus for Liability Under...

In New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection v. Dimant, 212 N.J. 153 (2012), the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) must establish, by a preponderance of the...more

Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Update - October 2012: Ninth Circuit Upholds Dismissal of a Public Nuisance Lawsuit

On September 21, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the Alaskan village of Kivalina against 23 energy companies. Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp., 2012 WL...more

Superfund Meets the Reality of Climate Change

What happens when Superfund runs headlong into Mother Nature? Hurricane Sandy provides a vivid answer. As the NY Times reports today, Hurricane Sandy had a significant impact on the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site in Brooklyn,...more

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