Standing, Settlement, and Mass Torts

BP is trying to use standing law to wiggle out of its own settlement agreement. The courts have been right to say no.

BP entered into a settlement in a massive class action against it arising out of the BP oil spill.  Now it’s trying to get out of part of the settlement while keeping the rest of the deal in place.  BP’s argument involves three areas of confusion in  standing doctrine: how does it apply to class actions, […]

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Today’s Supreme Court Ruling: Three Key Questions

supreme-court

Direct implications are limited, but we'll be reading the tea leaves for future implications.

Scholars, lawyers, and judges will be spending a lot of time dissecting today’s ruling.   Overall, it’s a bit like yesterday’s World Cup game — EPA didn’t win outright but it didn’t lose either. Here are three key questions with some initial thoughts: What is the direct legal impact of the ruling?  This was really […]

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Breaking News: U.S. Supreme Court Renders Split Decision in Major Climate Change Case

The U.S. Supreme Court today issued its long-awaited decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency, the justices’ third encounter with climate change law and policy.  In a Solomonic ruling, the Court ruled that EPA lacks authority to require the operators of “stationary sources” of greenhouse gas emissions (power plants, factories, etc.) to obtain […]

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California Court Upholds State Water Board’s Broad Authority to Ban Unreasonable Uses of Water

Ruling is Especially Timely, Given California's Ongoing and Severe Drought Conditions

I recently wrote about a then-pending court case in which California grape growers were challenging the State Water Resources Control Board’s limits on the growers’ diversion of water from California rivers and streams to provide frost protection for their grapes.  That litigation is important because it goes to the heart of the Board’s authority under […]

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Not My Default

With California's AB 2145, legislators try to keep cities and counties from buying green power.

It is well-understood that people don’t change easily. I hold myself out as Exhibit A. When I signed up for landline phone and internet service, the phone charge was $35 per month, and the internet another $30. Over the years, although the phone company never announced a rate increase, I experienced rate creep. What once […]

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EPA Is One of the (Relatively) Popular Kids

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Despite all the attacks it has suffered, EPA has a better image than either political party. Not to mention Congress.

Republicans — especially the House GOP — often lambaste EPA.  The phrase “jack-booted thugs” will stick in my memory a long time.  A recent NBC/WSJ poll, however, shows EPA is actually one of our more popular institutions: %Positive %Negative Difference EPA 40 28 +7 Barack Obama 38 40 -4 Democratic Party 38 50 -2 Republican […]

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The 2014 Midterm Elections and the EPA Greenhouse Gas Rule

Why Republicans probably won't be able to eliminate the EPA rules before 2016

I wrote earlier about why the 2016 Presidential election will be the election that matters (politically) for the long-term success of the new greenhouse gas rules proposed by EPA.  (The status of legal challenges is a different question.)  I want to elaborate a little more now about why the 2014 midterm elections are pretty much […]

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A Bailout By Any Other Name…

Weak environmental laws are another form of bailouts for private industry

Bailouts – the payment of public funds or resources to rescue or support a private enterprise – are politically very unpopular. The primary challenger who defeated Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia excoriated Cantor for supporting big banks in the wake of the financial crisis. The bailout of banks after the crisis that […]

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Compiled Resources on the “Clean Power Plan” Proposed §111(d) Rule

All LegalPlanet resources on regulation of GHGs under 111(d), plus critical EPA resources and other valuable analyses

Today, EPA officially published the Clean Power Plan, the agency’s proposed rule to regulate power plant greenhouse gas emissions under Clean Air Act § 111(d), initiating a 120-day public comment period that will close on October 16, 2014. I have taken this as an opportunity to compile all of the various LegalPlanet resources on regulation […]

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BP Spill + 4

Photo: U.S. Coast Guard

Four years ago, the BP Deepwater Horizon was still gushing oil.  The well was finally capped in mid- July.  There’s been a lot of legal action since then, but it’s hard to keep track of all the piecemeal developments.  Here’s quick rundown. The Presidential Commission investigating the spill identified the “root causes” as management failures by industry and […]

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