Disaster Law

BP Reaches Partial Settlement in Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Litigation

Late Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier announced a legal settlement between British Petroleum and thousands of individuals and businesses that had sued BP for damages arising out of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. According to a New York Times report, BP has agreed to pay $7.8 billion …

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Court to Feds: “Pay Up for Katrina Damage”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has upheld a district court ruling that the federal government is liable for damage from the Katrina storm surge that went up the MRGO canal into the city.  As I read the opinion, it is limited in three ways.  First, it is crucial that MRGO — …

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Previewing a VERY Big Week for Environmental Law in the Courts

UPDATE: The Associated Press reports that late Sunday, February 26th, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier announced a one-week postponement of the trial in the BP oil spill case that had been scheduled to begin the next day.  The postponement is reportedly due to substantial progress that has been made in marathon settlement talks that …

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Insurance Salesmen Should Be Selling The Public On Climate Change

As Dan’s post described, the insurance industry has a major, profit-driven stake in stopping climate change. So given the high risks for these private companies as the Earth bakes, why aren’t they the public face of the need to stop climate change, instead of controversial figures like Al Gore, environmental leaders, and scientists? Wouldn’t the …

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Ten of the Top Environmental Stories of 2011

Nuclear reactor meltdown in Japan. EPA issues new rules limiting mercury emissions by power plants. Durban climate summit produces modest progress, as developing countries begin to acknowledge the need for binding limits on their carbon emissions. White House kills scheduled new regulations of ozone. California adopts cap-and-trade system under AB 32. White House announces stringent …

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Kivalina and the Courts: Justice for America’s First Climate Refugees?

It’s hard not to sympathize with the Native Alaskan inhabitants of the Village of Kivalina. The 400 residents of Kivalina, a thin peninsula of land in Alaska jutting into the Chuckchi Sea north of the Arctic Circle, have the dubious distinction of being among the first climate refugees in the U.S. Their town is literally …

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Katrinas Yet to Come

Climate change is expected to increase hurricane damage by $40 billion per year by the end of the century.

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When Can We Attribute Extreme Events to Climate Change?

Moscow suffered from a severe heat wave in the summer of 2010, with temperatures reaching 101 degrees and an average temperature 14 degrees higher than normal for July.  What are the odds that the heat wave was due to climate change? RealClimate presents the results of an analysis that was just published in the Proceedings …

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Some Thoughts About Environmental Disasters

In an environmental disaster, a disaster causes environmental harm, environmental change causes an acute risk to humans, or both take place.  Examples include the BP Oil Spill, the London killer for of 1952, the 2003 European heat wave, and the 2011 Japanese tsunami. Climate change will intensify the connection between disaster issues and the environment. …

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But Will You Love My Energy Source in the Morning?

In the wake of cataclysmic energy disasters occurring on opposite sides of the globe, some interesting regional and national reflections are currently underway that may–or may not–alter long-term energy futures in the U.S. and abroad. One development this week that drew surprisingly little public attention is that no less a personage than the Prime Minister of …

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