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Carbon Fee or Cap-and-Trade: After 2018 Legislative Failures, Washington and Oregon Greenhouse Gas Bills Have Second Chance at Life, But Distinct Approaches

October 30, 2018

Since the November 2016 election, it has been a commonplace expectation that “blue” states would push forward with climate legislation and attempt to fill the policy gap left by the Trump Administration. Oregon and Washington – states with Democratic governors and legislatures controlled by Democrats – seemed prime candidates to participate in the effort. More

New California Proposition 65 Regulations Become Effective August 30: Guideposts for Compliance and Risk Management

August 29, 2018

Important changes to California Prop. 65 regulations take effect this week, on August 30, 2018. The new rules include requirements for online retailers, revised “safe harbor” warning labels, and a new allocation of compliance responsibility between retailers and manufacturers, including new authority allocating legal liability. More

Expanding Wildfire Planning Efforts to Address Rising Temperatures

August 21, 2018

Increases in wildfire activity are well documented across the western United States. More

Environmental Investigations Performed Under Consent Orders with the Government Are Not Covered as Defense Costs, Court Rules

June 21, 2018

A federal court has issued a significant insurance coverage decision at odds with the years-long practice in Washington State of resolving cleanup liability disputes with the government short of trial. More

EPA and State Action to Regulate PFAS in Drinking Water Imposes Potentially Significant Costs on Water Systems

June 12, 2018

Momentum to regulate to minute levels a common contaminant found in water systems throughout the United States is growing quickly at the federal, state, and local levels. More

A New Environment for Climate Change Litigation: Climate Change Tort Actions Split U.S. District Judges on Governing Law

May 22, 2018

As the federal executive rolls back Obama-era climate programs, those concerned about climate change have been turning to the courts for relief. More

The True Cost of Scotchgard: 3M to Pay Minnesota $850 Million in Perfluorochemical Settlement

April 3, 2018

On February 20, 2018, the State of Minnesota and 3M Company (“3M”) entered into an agreement settling the State’s claims against 3M for contaminating the State’s natural resources by releasing perfluorinated compounds (“PFASs”), including perfluorooctane sulfate (“PFOS”) and perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”), into the en More

Ninth Circuit Holds Discharging to Groundwater Wells Requires Clean Water Act Permit

March 6, 2018


A recent decision from the Ninth Circuit, Hawaii Wildlife Fund. v. County of Maui,[1] held that discharging sewage into groundwater wells requires a permit under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”), where those wells are hydrologically connected to the Pacific Ocean. 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

Does the Clean Water Act Regulate Discharges of Pollutants to Hydrologically Connected Groundwater? Federal Courts Disagree

January 27, 2016

The Clean Water Act (“CWA”) prohibits the discharge of pollutants into “waters of the United States”[1] without a valid National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit.[2] The statute offers notoriously scant guidance as to what “waters of the United States” actually means. More

Emerging Contaminants Cause Regulatory Uncertainty for Water Suppliers and Landowners

March 9, 2017

Water suppliers and landowners are increasingly contending with a new generation of persistent contaminants, particularly perflourinated compounds. Perfluorinated compounds are chemicals that have historically been used in a variety of industrial and consumer products. They are now found worldwide in the environment, wildlife, and even humans. More

Potential for Public Land Transfers under the Trump Administration

May 31, 2017

The federal government owns or controls over 640 million acres of land in the United States. Approximately 92 percent of the federal lands are located in the twelve western states. Except for a few million acres that are managed by the Department of Defense, the federal landholding is managed primarily by four agencies; the U.S. More

Chemical Fingerprinting of Gasoline and Diesel Fuel – What Is It? Where Did It Come From? Who Is Responsible?

August 23, 2006


The need for identification, delineation, and differentiation of petroleum-derived contaminants resulting from leaking storage tanks, pipelines, or following a release of fuel during trans-shipment of petroleum is a particularly challenging aspect of site investigations where an equitable settlement of the resulting liability and damages is at stake. More

Takings: Supreme Court Expands Governmental Liability to Property Developers

October 16, 2013

One of the most significant environmental cases to come out of the U.S. Supreme Court last session was Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, 570 U.S. ___ (2013), a case which many have characterized as a dramatic expansion of the scope of potential governmental liability for takings under the Fifth Amendment. More

Supreme Court Reasserts Standard for Injunctive Relief in NEPA Cases

June 28, 2010

Reversing a nationwide injunction, the United States Supreme Court reiterated the four-part standard for injunctive relief it announced in 2008, confirming that this same standard applies in cases arising under NEPA. In a 7-1 opinion[1] delivered by Justice Alito in Monsanto Co. v. More

Predicting How a “Justice” Gorsuch Would Impact Environmental Law

April 3, 2017

Judge Neil Gorsuch of the Tenth Circuit is presently being considered by the U.S. Senate for confirmation of his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Appointed by President Trump shortly after taking office, Judge Gorsuch would take the now long-vacant seat formerly held by Justice Antonin Scalia. More