Category Archives: Litigation

Emergency Response Plans – Lessons from PA DEP Enforcement

On January 6, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a news release advising of the settlement of an enforcement action against the largest energy infrastructure company in North America which will result in the payment of a civil penalty totaling $745,000 for violations at two of the company’s facilities near Philadelphia. Notably,… Read More »

New York Court of Appeals Considers Fracking Bans

In August 2011, the Town of Dryden, New York amended its zoning ordinance to ban all activities related to the exploration, production or storage of natural gas and petroleum. Petitioner Norse Energy’s predecessor in interest, Anschutz Exploration Corporation, owning leases covering approximately 22,200 acres of land in the Town of Dryden, initiated an action seeking… Read More »

Two Texas Juries Award Damages to Homeowners in Fracking Cases

On May 23, 2014, a Texas jury awarded a Tarrant County couple $20,000 in damages after finding that natural gas drilling activities near their property constituted a temporary private nuisance.  The case, Crowder et al. v. Chesapeake Operating, Inc., was initially filed in November 2011 and claimed that the fumes, noise, dust, and truck traffic… Read More »

Colorado Ruling Upholds Renewable Energy Standard but Leaves Questions Unanswered

On May 9, 2014, a Colorado federal judge dismissed a suit challenging the constitutionality of Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard (“RES”). Colorado’s RES was created by the passage of Amendment 37 in 2004 and codified in 2005 as Colorado Revised Statute § 40-2-124, requiring certain Colorado electric utilities to procure a specific percentage of its retail… Read More »

Federal Court Finds Coal Company Liable for Selenium Discharges

In an opinion issued December 19, 2013, Judge Chambers for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia denied defendant Fola Coal Company, LLC (Fola) and granted environmental plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment against Fola, and for declaratory relief as to liability for violating the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean… Read More »

Court Orders Disclosure of All Chemicals Used since 2009 at Gas Company Drilling Site

A judge in a matter before the Court of Common Pleas in Washington County, Pennsylvania entered an order on November 5, 2013, directing Range Resources Inc., and approximately 40 of its subcontractors and suppliers to provide a list of every chemical or other substance used at the company’s site near Amwell Township since 2009.  The… Read More »

USEPA Revises Maximum Statutory Civil Penalty Amounts by Rule Promulgated November 6, 2013

The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (28 U.S.C. 2461, as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, 31 U.S.C. 3701) requires EPA to adjust its statutory civil penalties for inflation at least once every 4 years.  Prior to today, EPA last issued a final Civil Monetary Penalty Inflation Adjustment Rule… Read More »

Federal Judge Mandates USEPA Set Schedule for Final Rule-Making Regarding Coal Ash Residue

A federal court has now ordered USEPA to set a deadline for finalizing federal coal ash regulations.  Pursuant to the court order, USEPA has 60 days to set a schedule for the final publication of regulations concerning how we will treat coal ash residue in this country. The order was the result of a lawsuit… Read More »

West Virginia Chicken Farmer Defeats EPA in Federal Lawsuit over Clean Water Act Permit

On October 23, 2013, Lois Alt, owner of Eight is Enough Farm1 in Hardy County, West Virginia, won summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia against the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA” or “Agency”) and a number of environmental groups. Ms. Alt filed suit seeking declaratory judgment… Read More »

3rd Circuit Considers Preemption of Tort Law By The Clean Air Act

On August 20, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in Bell et al. v. Cheswick Generating Station, GenOn Power Midwest, L.P.  Case: 12-4216 answered a question of first impression: “whether the Clean Air Act preempts state law tort claims brought by private property owners against a source of pollution located within… Read More »