US District Court Blocks Trump Administration Effort to Revoke Obama-Era Mineral Leasing Withdrawals

Offshore Drilling RigOn March 29, 2019, the US District Court for the District of Alaska blocked the Trump Administration’s efforts to revoke the Obama Administration’s prior withdrawal of portions of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans from mineral leasing under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA).  The court’s decision is noteworthy, not just for its implications for leasing on the outer continental shelf, but because it may foreshadow how courts will resolve similar and well-publicized challenges to President Trump’s authority under the Antiquities Act of 1908 (Antiquities Act) to revoke national monument designations for portions of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments in Utah. Continue Reading

President Trump Signs Drought Contingency Plan for Colorado River

Months ago, in the face of “unacceptably high” risk to the Colorado River’s complex system of reservoirs, US Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner, Brenda Burman, indicated that if the seven Colorado River Basin States could not agree to a drought contingency plan (DCP), then the federal government would post a notice in the federal register seeking comments from the states on the best course of action, and then unilaterally decide how to manage the river under fast-approaching shortage conditions.  On March 19, 2019, with the endorsement of the US Department of the Interior, the seven Basin States and key stakeholders formally submitted the Colorado River Basin DCP to Congress for immediate implementation.  In response to their March 19 letter, Congress invited the Basin States’ representatives to testify on March 28, 2019 on the need for the DCP. Continue Reading

UK Supreme Court Considering Parent Company Liability for Environmental Harm Caused by Overseas Subsidiaries

In Vedanta Resource PLC and another v Lungowe and others the UK Supreme Court has held that a claim for negligence and breach of statutory duty against a mining company based in Zambia and its English parent can be heard by the UK courts.

In so doing, this landmark decision has potentially opened the door to tortious claims against UK parent companies by persons based outside of the UK who have been impacted by acts of foreign subsidiaries. Continue Reading

President Trump Signs Two Executive Orders to Promote Development of Critical Energy Infrastructure

PipesOn April 10th, President Donald Trump signed two Executive Orders that seek to promote timely review of critical energy infrastructure projects in the United States. These changes to the review process seek to “enable the timely construction of the infrastructure needed to move our energy resources through domestic and international commerce.” (EO 13868.) “By promoting the development of new energy infrastructure, the United States will make energy more affordable, while safeguarding the environment and advancing our Nation’s economic and geopolitical advantages.” (EO 13868.)

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US EPA Finalizes Rule Employing “SNUR-Only” Approach for TSCA New Chemical Reviews

On April 5, 2019, US EPA finalized significant new use rules (SNURs) for 13 new chemical substances under section 5(a)(2) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Notably, the 13 chemicals are not also subject to orders under TSCA section 5(e) or 5(f) – an approach that differs substantially from US EPA’s long-standing past practice. US EPA previously outlined this “SNUR-only” strategy in a “framework” policy document in late 2017 that was challenged in a lawsuit.  As discussed below, while the lawsuit was withdrawn without court review, the April 5, 2019 final rule revives the framework’s approach, making it likely that US EPA will again face legal challenges related to the issuance of SNURs without enforcement orders. Continue Reading

Keystone XL Pipeline Litigation Takes a Turn on Heels of President Trump’s New Presidential Permit

Welding on Gas Pipeline

The Keystone XL Pipeline is back in the spotlight. In the first quarter of 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the injunction prohibiting TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP and TransCanada Corporation (TransCanada) from beginning construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline. On March 29th, President Donald Trump issued a new cross-border permit that threatens to bypass the pending litigation. Most recently, on April 8th, the United States and TransCanada filed motions to dismiss the Ninth Circuit appeal and remand to the district court with instructions to dismiss for mootness.

These filings represent the most recent steps in a decade-long fight over this controversial pipeline. Continue Reading

March 2019 Update: Key Developments in UK and EU Environment, Safety and Health Law, Procedure and Policy

Electronic NewsWe are pleased to share with you the latest edition of “frESH Law Horizons – Key Developments in UK & EU Environment, Safety and Health Law, Procedure and Policy”. In our March edition, we summarise 29  developments in the environmental, safety and health sector. Some of the top stories this month include:

  • A £224,000 fine for a chemical manufacturing company after a worker was exposed to chemicals
  • A Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development consultation seeking input on the effectiveness of the anti-bribery recommendation
  • A government-proposed audit of its Modern Slavery Statement Compliance, interim reports on Modern Slavery Act 2015 and guidance on annual statements
  • A £1.8 million fine for a food manufacturer for work at height failures
  • A Court of Appeal decision in R v Squibb Group, reducing the fine from £400,000 to £190,000

For more detailed information on these developments, as well as access to the remaining summaries, make sure you download a copy from our website. You can also subscribe to ensure you receive our most recent edition every month.

Environmental, Safety & Health Practice Group Launches Comprehensive Suite of UK-Based Training Programs

The scope of this training includes practice and procedure for health and safety law, environment, anti-bribery and corruption, food and drink laws and product safety.

Legal compliance issues can have a huge impact on the fortunes of your business. Investing in skills, knowledge and competencies at all levels of an organisation is the most effective solution to preventing and mitigating the risks impacting on every business. Our lawyers can train your board, legal team and/or operational staff in relation to legal requirements, obligations and compliance; developments in environmental, safety and health practice; directors’ duties under the relevant regime(s); and the approach of the regulator and courts to any breach, including sentencing powers and relevant case law.

We have developed a range of training options to provide you with practical, commercial and tailored assistance where you need it most. The training is designed to be flexible and to meet your business needs. We propose an indicative length and content for each course, but all courses can be adapted to suit your business, your industry/sector and the knowledge and experience levels of the people who will be attending. If you are interested in more than one course, we can combine them, as required, and can adapt proposals accordingly.

Follow the link to view the full scope of our frESH Law Training offering and contact us to discuss how we can tailor our programs to meet your needs. Continue Reading

Four Things to Know About US EPA’s Draft WOTUS Rule

A swamp in the middle of the clearing

On February 14, 2019, the US Army Corps of Engineers and US EPA (Agencies) published in the Federal Register the proposed rule to revise the definition of “Waters of the United States,” the term that identifies the scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.  The proposed rule is the second step in a two-part process to revise the definition, consistent with one of the first Executive Orders issued by President Trump.  The Clean Water Act prohibits the unpermitted discharge of pollutants, including soil or fill material in water bodies, wetlands and even some normally-dry lands.  Accordingly, as the definition of waters of the United States (WOTUS) expands, so does the federal government’s control over construction and other activities affecting these areas.  The Agencies note that they are attempting to “preserve[] the traditional sovereignty of States over their own land and water resources[,]” and the proposed rule is widely expected to narrow the overall number of waters subject to federal jurisdiction.

The comment deadline on the proposed rule is April 15 — there are four points to be aware of in deciding whether to comment on the proposal: Continue Reading

February 2019 Update: Key Developments in UK and EU Environment, Safety and Health Law, Procedure and Policy

Electronic NewsWe are pleased to share our latest edition of “frESH Law Horizons: Key Developments in UK & EU Environment, Safety and Health Law, Procedure and Policy”. In the February edition, we summarise 19 developments in the environmental, safety and health sector. Top stories this month include:

  • A Health and Safety Executive press release reporting the £600,000 fine of a contractor after an employee was killed by a dumper truck
  • The £274,000 fine of a food company after two workers suffered injuries as a result of being trapped in machinery
  • The fatal fall of a worker leading to two companies being fined a total of £860,000
  • A successful asbestos compensation claim for an electrician against a previous employer

For more detailed information on these developments and access to the remaining summaries, download a copy from our website. Make sure you also subscribe to receive our most recent edition every month.