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William A. Ruskin: Keeping Your Adversary's Environmental Expert Honest

By William A. Ruskin Law 360 reported on April 12, 2013 that Steven Donziger , counsel for the indigenous Ecuadorians known as the Lago Agrio plaintiffs, "meddled" in the preparation of a key environmental report used against Chevron as part of an effort to secure, by hook or by crook, the...

Foley & Lardner: Developers Rejoice! IRS Issues "Begun Construction" Guidance

On April 15, 2013, the IRS released Notice 2013-29 addressing the eligibility for certain alternative energy projects to qualify for the renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC) under section 45 of the Tax Code. This guidance has been eagerly anticipated since the beginning of the year by developers...

Jenner & Block: Climate Change May Cause Greater Aviation Turbulence

A recent study published in the British journal, Nature Climate Change , suggests that turbulence on flights may be stronger and occur more often if carbon dioxide emissions double by 2050 further heating up the atmosphere. Turbulence is created by atmospheric pressure, jet streams, air around mountains...

Babst Calland: Sixth Circuit Rules that EPA May Pursue New Source Review Enforcement Actions Without Having to Wait for Actual Emissions Data: But Can EPA Prevail on the Merits?

In DTE Energy Co. v. EPA (March 28, 2013) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the Sixth Circuit determined a procedural aspect of EPA's enforcement authority under the New Source Review (NSR) program of the Clean Air Act. The court ruled that EPA has authority to challenge, before...

Homeowner Environmental Responsibilities For Septic Sewage Systems

By Richard D. Vetstein, ESQ Massachusetts Title V Septic Regulations Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About 1/3rd of all homes in Massachusetts are dependent upon septic systems, rather than municipal sewer. These include some of the toniest Metrowest suburbs from Wayland, Sudbury, Weston, and Hopkinton...

Keller and Heckman – California's Green Chemistry Initiative/Safer Consumer Products Regulations

California Assembly Bill 1879 (Cal. Health and Safety Code sec. 25252, et seq. ), an important statutory basis for California's Green Chemistry Initiative, attempts to reduce or eliminate the use of hazardous materials through an all-inclusive approach that considers how hazardous substances can...

Court Rules In 2013 That Mining Environmental Contamination Going Back To Late 1800’s Covered By Insurance Issued In 1950’s

by Seth Lamden , Partner, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP The court in Doe Run Resources Corporation v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London , No. ED98086, 2013 Mo. App. LEXIS 468 (April 16, 2013) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], held that excess liability insurers were...

Disposal Of Hazardous Waste Materials Resulting From Oil And Gas Well Drilling Operations Not A Pollution Event For Insurance Endorsement

Brian Margolies, Partner, Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry LLP In its recent decision in Colony Insurance Company v. Bear Products, Inc ., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43716 (E.D. Okl. Mar. 26, 2013) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the United States District Court for the...

William A. Ruskin: Are Environmentalists Who Oppose Wind Farms Environmentalists?

By William A. Ruskin Wind power can help address the nation's compelling demand for electric power without increasing greenhouse gas emissions or enlarging our carbon footprint. Environmental activists, who are critical of the use of fossil fuels due to their perceived negative impact on the environment...

William A. Ruskin: FTC Cracks Down On ‘Greenwashing’

By William A. Ruskin Law 360 reported recently that that the FTC is taking decisive action against companies that make deceptive environmental marketing claims. “Greenwashing” involves misleading consumers concerning the environmental benefits of a product or service. In an earlier article...

William A. Ruskin: A Deal Is A Deal: Ecogen Wind Prevails In Windfarming Dispute

By William A. Ruskin | The New York Law Journal reported on January 2, 2014 that the Town of Prattsburgh, which, during the relevant time, had virtually no laws, codes or requirements on the books governing the installation of wind turbine facilities, was not permitted by the court to retroactively...

This Is Real Law: Expert Witness Malpractice: Making The Case For—And Against—Civil Liability

Captain Corcoran was never, never sick at sea. Well, hardly ever —as audiences familiar with Gilbert and Sullivan’s beloved 1878 comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore know so well. Indeed, they eagerly await the moment early in the opera when, challenged in song by his gallant crew, the ship’s...

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Case of the Week: The ‘Deepwater Horizon’ Oil Spill

Nearly 4 ½ years after the oil well beneath the "Deepwater Horizon” rig blew out and spilled millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, legal news surrounding the disaster again made headlines last week. On Tuesday, Sept. 2, Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. announced an agreement...

Council on Environmental Quality Declares That Climate Change is Already Covered in Environmental Impact Review, and No New Regulations Needed

By Michael B. Gerrard The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), signed into law by President Richard Nixon on January 1, 1970, was the first U.S. environmental statute of the modern era. It requires the preparation of environmental impact statements (EISs) for major federal actions that may...

INTERPOL Environmental Crimes Unit

International environmental wildlife and pollution crimes are attracting growing attention from INTERPOL , partly because many of them are committed by organized crime. For example, in response to the recent surge of ivory tracking, INTERPOL formed a dedicated environmental crime team in Africa. As...

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CEQ’s Revised Draft Guidance on Addressing Climate Change under NEPA: Federal Agencies Should Analyze Both GHG Emissions and Impacts of Climate Change on Proposed Action

On December 24, 2014, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released Revised Draft Guidance on how federal agencies should evaluate GHG emissions and the impacts of climate change when conducting reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).[1] The revised guidance is significantly...

The 2014 California Environmental Legislative Recap: An Election Year Drought

By Mr. Gary A. Lucks Get the latest expert analysis on California's new environmental and land use laws. This article summarizes legislation passed during the 2014-2015 California Legislative Session, including bills addressing water supply, hazardous waste, solid waste, cimate change, air...

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FY2016 EPA Budget Proposal

By E. Lynn Grayson EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy recently testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee regarding EPA's proposed 2016 fiscal year budget. EPA's 2016 fiscal year from October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016. EPA is seeking an increase of $453M over...

Possible Shift of Perspectives on Breadth of NEPA Review; CEQ's Draft Greenhouse Gas Guidance

Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA),[1] and the corresponding NEPA regulations issued by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)[2] and the respective reviewing agencies, federal agencies are required to consider the environmental impacts of proposed federal actions— i.e...

Liability For Delays In Issuing Environmental Permits?

Can the government be liable for financial damages, when they refuse environmental permits for unreasonable reasons, or cause an unreasonable delay in issuing a permit? Yes, it is possible, according to the British Columbia Court of Appeal ! Given the chronic delays in federal and provincial environmental...

Sabin Center Convenes Workshop on Development of Model Protocols for Assessing Climate Change Impacts during NEPA Reviews

By Jessica Wentz, Associate Director and Postdoctoral Fellow Climate change and its effects on temperature, precipitation, storm patterns, sea level rise, and other environmental processes have important implications for the construction, maintenance, and operation of buildings and infrastructure...

USEPA Announces Changes to Self-Audit Policy

Besides researching and writing environmental rules, such as the mercury power plant rule recently addressed by the US Supreme Court, the USEPA must also spend a lot of effort enforcing rules – to ensure they are fairly and evenly complied with. Besides the “stick” of fines, potential...