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The President’s Environmental “Net Benefit Goal” – The White House Sets a New Approach to Mitigation

November 16, 2015

On November 3, 2015, President Obama issued a memorandum to the Secretaries of Defense, Interior and Agriculture, and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration directing them to revise their existing policies to incorporate a new “net benefit goal” for mitigating impacts from natural resource use.More

Environmental Insurance Alert—Change to Evidence Rules Threatens Policyholders’ Ability to Recover Under Historic Insurance Policies

September 2, 2015

As previously discussed in this newsletter,[1] historical insurance policies can cover environmental liabilities arising out of claims ranging from Superfund Sites (for example, the Portland Harbor and Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Sites) to the cleanup of a neighborhood gas station. More

The Threat of Wildfire on Development in the West

August 26, 2015

I. Introduction

The threat of wildfire continues to grow across the western U.S. Fires are getting larger, causing more damage and cost more money to control and suppress. Several of the worst fire seasons in decades have occurred since 2000, with the problem growing each year. A number of fundamental factors contribute to the significant growth of wildfire threats. More

Energy and Natural Resources Committee Sends Contrasting Energy Bills to Senate

August 26, 2015

On July 30, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted to send to the full Senate two energy bills that originated in the Committee. One, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 (EPMA) is broad in its substantive scope, incremental in its approach, and received bipartisan support in the Committee. More

Oil Train Update: New Federal Regulations Go into Effect, Washington Enacts Legislation, and Legal Battles Continue

July 29, 2015

In a previous article, we discussed the North American oil boom’s unprecedented impact on transporting crude oil by rail car, the efforts state and federal governments have made to improve rail car safety in the wake of high-profile derailments, and the legal challenges facing those regulatory responses.[1] The last three months have seen developments in eac More

The California Drought and Its Impact on State Water Law and Policy

July 28, 2015

California is now well into its fourth year of historic drought conditions. More

Ninth Circuit Jettisons Presumption of Irreparable Harm in Endangered Species Act Injunction Cases

July 14, 2015

A panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned thirty-year old standards for issuing injunctive relief for procedural violations of the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The panel’s decision in Cottonwood Environmental Law Center v. More

Irrigation and Drought in the Northwest and the Potential for Market-based Reallocation of Water to Protect High-Value Crops

July 14, 2015

Drought in Oregon in 2015 ranges from abnormally dry to extreme. As of June 1, 2015 Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared drought emergencies for 15 Oregon counties. Some areas of the state are experiencing temperatures higher than historic records. More

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Proposes Incidental Take Rule for Migratory Birds

June 17, 2015

On May 26, 2015, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a Notice of Intent (Notice) that initiated environmental review of a proposal to regulate the incidental take of most of the bird species found in the United States.[1] More

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

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

Interior’s Sage Grouse Plans Raise Concerns for Industry, Politicians in 10 Western States

June 2, 2015

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. More

EPA Issues New Multi-Sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharges

July 1, 2015

EPA recently issued a new multi-sector general permit under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) governing stormwater discharges from industrial facilities.[1] The new permit is available to twenty-nine sectors of industry in jurisdictions where EPA is the permitting authority.[2] The permit has several key changes, including requ 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

Adapting to Drought and Climate Change in the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement

July 1, 2015

Oregon’s Klamath Basin has long been known as a hotbed for water conflict. More