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CERCLA Liability for Air Emissions? Ninth Circuit to Hear Appeal of District Court Decision That Could Expand Superfund Statute’s Reach

April 19, 2015

On December 31, 2014, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington issued an order that has potential significantly to expand the reach of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).[1] In Pakootas v. More

Sale of Used Transformers Does Not Give Rise to “Arranger Liability,” Fourth Circuit Holds

April 18, 2015

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has become the most recent circuit court to weigh in on the distinction between when a party can be held liable as an “arranger” under CERCLA and when the party instead sells a “useful product” that contains hazardous substances. In Consolidation Coal Co. v. More

Federal Agencies and States Pursue New Regulations for Oil Trains, Face Court Challenges

April 8, 2015

The North American oil boom, combined with absent or inadequate pipeline infrastructure, has resulted in an unprecedented increase in transportation of crude oil by rail car. Resulting rail accidents have spawned legislation and regulations designed to address safety concerns. More

U.S. Supreme Court Report: Argument in Clean Air Act Case on the Obligation to Consider Regulatory Cost and Court Upholds Agency Use of Interpretive Rules

April 8, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014-15 term is now in full swing. In contrast to the past several years, the Court has only one high profile environmental issue on the docket—a Clean Air Act (“CAA”) case, on which the Court heard oral argument the last week in March. More

2015 Oregon Legislative Scorecard

March 9, 2015

A number of environmental and energy bills have been introduced in Oregon’s 2015 legislative session potentially impacting businesses and public agencies. Here is an update on some of the bills working their way through the legislature. More

Oregon’s 2013 Environmental Coverage Statute: An Insurance Scorecard Part I

March 6, 2015

A scorecard on the effect of the 2013 Oregon environmental coverage statute, SB 814, should begin by acknowledging one of its primary drivers: the Portland Harbor Superfund Site. More

New Groundwater Legislation Will Have Dramatic Impacts on California Agriculture

January 22, 2015

Historically, California has never managed its groundwater supplies on a state-wide basis. That has now changed. As of January 1, 2015, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”), an ambitious attempt that Governor Jerry Brown signed last September in order to regulate the use of groundwater on a more universal scale, has now gone into effect. More

Golden Eagle Mortality at Wind Energy Projects – Implications of Duke and PacifiCorp Plea Agreements

January 21, 2015

In December 2014, PacifiCorp Energy entered into a criminal plea agreement under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA),[1] for deaths of golden eagles and other migratory birds at wind energy projects in Wyoming.[2] This settlement comes just more than a year after the first-ever MBTA criminal plea agreement for a wind fac More

Spotted Frog Listing Will Impact Water Management and Irrigation, Agricultural Practices, Development and Livestock Grazing

October 8, 2014

On August 29, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) issued its Final Rule listing the Oregon Spotted Frog as a “Threatened Species” under the Endangered Species Act. More

Fourth Circuit Restricts Scope of Clean Water Act Permit Shield

September 4, 2014

The Fourth Circuit issued a recent decision that has the potential to increase the burden on permit applicants hoping to avail themselves of the “permit shield” defense under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The case, Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards v. More

Got Mold? A Brief Guide to Liability and Notice Requirements

March 5, 2008

Thousands of mold-related lawsuits have been filed in the United States during the last decade. Prior to 2000, most mold claims were routinely settled for relatively nominal amounts of $5,000 or less. Today, mold claims by commercial developers and homeowners routinely exceed $100,000, and some are resolved for much higher amounts. More

The Columbia River Treaty Review: Will the Water Users’ Voices Be Heard?

November 17, 2014

Despite the great collaborative effort invested in the regional negotiations on the future of the Columbia River Treaty (“CRT”), relatively little attention has been paid to potential new consumptive uses of the Columbia River water, and the important water supply choices that will have to be made to enable those uses. More

The Unprecedented $1.4 Billion Proposed Fine to PG&E Resulting From the San Bruno Explosion and Related Regulatory Issues

October 8, 2014

After nearly four years of investigation and hearings, Administrative Law Judges for the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) have recommended that PG&E be fined $1.4 billion for a series of violations of State and Federal law related to a gas leak, explosion and fire in San Bruno, California in 2010 that result in 8 deaths, dozens of injuries and extensive property damage. More

NEPA/BGEPA: Fish and Wildlife Service May Overhaul Rule Permitting Incidental Take of Eagles

July 1, 2014

Just as the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issues its first permit under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) [1] authorizing a wind energy project to “take” golden eagles over the next five years, the agency also has announced that it intends to conduct a comprehensive review of its eagle permitting program under the National En More

Supreme Court Rules That CERCLA Does Not Preempt State Statutes of Repose

July 8, 2014

The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, 573 U.S. ___ (2014), that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) – 42 USC §9658 – does not pre-empt state statutes of repose that cut off a defendant’s liability after a certain amount of time. More

In Absence of Comprehensive Federal Regulation, Battles Over GMOs Being Fought in States, Localities

September 4, 2014

Genetically modified organisms (“GMOs”) in American agriculture are an area of great controversy, with proponents pointing to the many benefits of higher crop yields while opponents express concerns about potential risks to human health and the environment. More