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Ninth Circuit Holds Courts Must Look at Comparative Fault in Considering CERCLA Settlements

December 21, 2014

The Ninth Circuit recently reversed a district court’s entry of a set of CERCLA consent decrees because the lower court had failed to independently evaluate whether the settlements represented the comparative fault of the settling and non-settling parties. In Arizona v. City of Tucson, 761 F.3d 1005 (9th Cir. More

California’s Controversial New Renewable Energy Conservation Plan Restricts Solar, Wind Development

December 15, 2014

Introduction

California and federal resource agencies have released a 22.5 million-acre draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) for Southern California[1] that substantially restricts the opportunities for solar and wind development in that state. 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

Oregon Denies Wyoming Standing to Challenge State’s Denial of Key Permit for Coal-Export Facility

November 14, 2014

The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) recently denied an application for a state removal/fill permit (similar to a Clean Water Act 404 permit) critically needed for construction of a proposed multi-modal coal export facility. In its denial, DSL cited potential impacts to a “small, but important” Columbia River fishery. 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

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

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

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

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