Environmental Litigation

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Record £90 Million Fine for a “Flagrant Disregard” of UK Environmental Law Calls for Boards of Directors to Take Note

On 19 August, the sentencing remarks of Mr Justice Johnson were published in relation to the recent £90 million fine issued to Southern Water for sewage pollution.  The remarks provide a full breakdown and description of how this record fine was calculated, and provide comments and conclusions on a number of issues that are likely … Continue Reading

July 2021 Update: frESH Law Horizons: Key Developments in UK and EU Environment, Safety and Health Law, Procedure and Policy

Our Environmental, Safety & Health team is pleased to share with you the latest edition of our monthly newsletter, frESH Law Horizons: Key Developments in UK & EU Environment, Safety and Health Law and Procedure; providing bite-size updates on EU and UK law, procedure and policy. The updates covered in this month’s edition include (among … Continue Reading

April 2021 Update: frESH Law Horizons: Key Developments in UK and EU Environment, Safety and Health Law, Procedure and Policy

Our Environmental, Safety & Health team is pleased to share with you the latest edition of our monthly newsletter, frESH Law Horizons: Key Developments in UK & EU Environment, Safety and Health Law and Procedure; providing bite-size updates on EU and UK law, procedure and policy. This month’s edition includes the following: The government has … Continue Reading

March 2021 Update: frESH Law Horizons: Key Developments in UK and EU Environment Safety and Health Law Procedure and Policy

Our Environmental, Safety & Health team is pleased to share with you the latest edition of our monthly newsletter, frESH Law Horizons: Key Developments in UK & EU Environment, Safety and Health Law and Procedure; providing bite-size updates on EU and UK law, procedure and policy. This month’s edition includes the following: The Home Office … Continue Reading

February 2021 Update: frESH Law Horizons: Key Developments in UK and EU Environment Safety and Health Law Procedure and Policy

Our Environmental, Safety & Health team is pleased to share with you the latest edition of our monthly newsletter, frESH Law Horizons: Key Developments in UK & EU Environment, Safety and Health Law and Procedure; providing bite-size updates on EU and UK law, procedure and policy. This month’s edition includes the following: COVID-19 route maps … Continue Reading

Judicial Review of US Lead Hazard Rule Suggests Debate Will Continue

One of the key “non-scope considerations” commonly investigated during environmental due diligence for commercial property transfers is assessment of any lead impacts from lead-based paint (LBP) and lead dust.  Although the use of LBP was banned in 1978, many structures constructed before that date retain LBP on surfaces.  As that LBP deteriorates over time, it … Continue Reading

Climate Change Lawsuit Reaches the US Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in an important climate change lawsuit, BP P.L.C. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore. The lawsuit pits the Mayor and City of Baltimore against twenty-six multinational oil and gas companies that Baltimore claims are responsible for climate change. Baltimore alleges that the companies contributed to climate change … Continue Reading

Prop 65 Victory For Chemical Industry In Monsanto Case Has Been Appealed

On June 22, Judge William B. Shubb of the US District Court for the Eastern District of California granted Monsanto’s motion for summary judgment and imposed a permanent injunction on the enforcement of Proposition 65 for glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) in the closely followed case National Association of Wheat Growers v. Becerra.  The … Continue Reading

After Almost Four Decades, White House Issues New NEPA Regulations–Lawsuits Likely

The Trump administration recently finalized updates to regulations for environmental impact review of large projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  NEPA was originally enacted 50 years ago to reorient federal agencies to consider the environmental impact of projects.  It generally requires federal agencies to consider environmental effects of proposed projects before they are … Continue Reading

Is the UK Heading Towards a Duty on Businesses to Prevent Breaches of Human Rights?

In April 2017, the UK Joint Committee on Human Rights suggested that it might be appropriate for a “failure to prevent” mechanism, such as the one found in section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010, to be applied to business and human rights. Earlier this year, the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (“BIICL”) … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Adopts “Functional Equivalent” Standard for Discharges of Pollutants to Surface Water Through Groundwater

Recently, in a 6-3 decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund (Maui), the United States Supreme Court held that a discharge of pollution to groundwater may be regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA).  The Supreme Court’s review arose from a case involving a wastewater treatment and reclamation facility in Hawaii that injects … Continue Reading

We Finally Have the US Supreme Court Decision in Atlantic Richfield, But Who Really Won?

On April 20, 2020, the US Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Gregory Christian. In short, the Court held that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) does not strip Montana state courts of jurisdiction over landowners’ claims for restoration damages; but the Court also held … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit to Review Montana’s Nutrient Variance Approach: What You Need To Know

Control of nutrient loadings to US surface waters has widely proven to be a difficult task, and nutrient levels in many of our waterways continue to fail in satisfying the stated goals of the Clean Water Act.  In 2015, the State of Montana established stringent water quality standards for nutrients.  Recognizing the economic and social … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Grapples with Balancing Landowners’ Rights Against CERCLA Authority

Two months ago, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Gregory Christian. The case is critically important to environmental lawyers in the United States because it may alter the operation of Congress’s Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) scheme for environmental remediation. CERCLA gives EPA broad … Continue Reading

Have Your Say – Public Consultation on How Western Australia Can Modernise Its Environmental Protection Legislation Now Open

Public consultation is currently open for the Western Australian (WA) government’s proposed amendments to the state’s environmental protection legislation. The proposed changes aim to modernise the state’s environmental protection legislation to address the new challenges and priorities that have arisen in environmental protection in the 30 years since the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA) (EP … Continue Reading

US EPA Proposes New Rule Modernizing and Streamlining EAB Review Process

On November 6, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) proposed a new procedural rule titled “Modernizing the Administrative Exhaustion Requirement for Permitting Decisions and Streamlining Procedures for Permit Appeals” (the Proposal). The Proposal represents the first update to the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) in 27 years. Specifically, the Proposal would impact the EAB’s … Continue Reading

US EPA-California Tensions Over GHG Standards Increase with Preemption Challenge

Disagreements between California and the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) over greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for automobiles have been simmering since 2018, but tensions between the two sides have recently increased after California entered into a voluntary agreement on GHG standards with a group of major automakers, followed swiftly by US EPA’s withdrawal of California’s authority … Continue Reading

Potential Settlement Creates Uncertainty for US Supreme Court Case Regarding Clean Water Act Liability for Indirect Groundwater Discharges

On September 20, 2019, Maui County Council (Council) voted to settle the County’s pending appeal before the US Supreme Court of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in County of Maui v. Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund, et al. As previously reported here, the Ninth Circuit’s ruling held that the eventual migration of pollutants from permitted underground injection wells … Continue Reading

US District Courts Start Applying Kisor v. Wilkie; Is Auer Deference Now a “Paper Tiger”?

As we’ve covered extensively on this blog, the administrative state responsible for implementing environmental, health, and safety policy in the United States is in flux. A few months ago in Kisor v. Wilkie the US Supreme Court upheld but significantly narrowed Auer deference. Auer instructs that courts must defer to an agency’s construction of its … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Schedules Oral Argument Regarding Clean Water Act Liability for Indirect Groundwater Discharges

Earlier this month, the US Supreme Court scheduled oral argument for November 6th in its review of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in County of Maui v. Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund, et al. The case has significant implications for the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA), with the Ninth Circuit having ruled that the eventual migration … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Affirms Tweaked Auer Deference, But Is It Now a “Paper Tiger”?

In our prior coverage of Kisor v. Wilkie, we predicted that the Court would impose “greater scrutiny” on “administrative agencies’ . . . interpretation of their regulations.”  And the Court did.  The Court’s decision will affect every aspect of the federal government’s regulation of environmental, safety, and health. At the end of its term, the … Continue Reading

Ohio Appeals Dismissal of the State’s Complaint Against Rover Pipeline LLC Due to Ohio EPA’s Failure to Timely Respond to Request for CWA Section 401 Certification

On March 12, 2019, Judge Kristin G. Farmer for the Stark County Court of Common Pleas dismissed the State of Ohio’s Third Amended Complaint against Rover Pipeline. The State alleged that Rover had committed widespread environmental violations during the construction of its 713-mile interstate natural gas pipeline. The court dismissed the complaint on the grounds that … Continue Reading

How Thoroughly do UK Businesses Need to Investigate What Happens to Their Waste After They Have Transferred It?

A recent prosecution by the Environment Agency, where a company was ordered to pay £327,000, has highlighted potentially difficult issues for businesses in complying with the statutory waste duty of care. What is the Statutory Waste Duty of Care? All businesses generate waste of some description: from paper and kitchen waste in offices, to hazardous … Continue Reading
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