Environmental Law Portal

Welcome to the Beveridge & Diamond Environmental Law Portal.

Beveridge & Diamond’s 100 lawyers in seven U.S. offices focus on environmental and natural resource law, litigation and dispute resolution. We help clients around the world resolve critical environmental and sustainability issues relating to their products, facilities, and operations. 

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Lost Insurance Policy? Pursuing Coverage for Long-Tail Environmental Liability Still Feasible

Companies facing environmental cleanup liability typically confront claims that are brought multiple decades after the alleged polluting activity took place. This passage of time often results in the loss or disappearance of crucial historic documents, including insurance policies, necessary to respond to the claims.  Historic general liability insurance policies issued before pollution exclusions became commonplace in the 1970s are of particular value in protecting a company from exposure to “long-tail” environmental liability.  Finding these policies, or evidence of their existence, therefore is a must.  A recent New Jersey federal court decision serves as a helpful reminder that when the actual policies cannot be located, even limited documentary evidence of their existence, when buttressed by the expert testimony of a credentialed insurance archaeologist, may be sufficient to prove the coverage and facilitate recovery. Read More ›

Climate Regulation in California: A State of Constant Change

I.  Introduction

Climate change regulation in California is in the midst of transformation. Last year, the Legislature voted to enact SB 32, extending California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets, which were set to expire in 2020, through 2030.  The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) called for a reduction in GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, which California is expected to achieve.  Under SB 32, California aims to reduce GHG emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. Read More ›

D.C. Circuit Signals Limits on EPA’s Authority to Reduce Requirements in Existing Environmental Rules: Waterkeeper Alliance v. US EPA

As the Trump Administration seeks to re-write many of the nation’s environmental rules, the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, has issued a decision in Waterkeeper Alliance v. US EPA that signals the important oversight role the federal courts will play in reviewing executive actions, providing a cautionary note on the limits of executive authority. Read More ›

New Developments and Uncertainties for Conflict Minerals Disclosure

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) Division of Corporate Finance issued a new statement adding some uncertainty to company obligations and enforcement exposure under the SEC conflict minerals rule ahead of the May 31, 2017 filing deadline.  The statement is one of several moving pieces in an unprecedented wave of activity on conflict minerals in recent weeks.  Companies should review these developments and their approach to meeting legal obligations imposed by the SEC’s implementation of Section 1502 of Dodd Frank, alongside the broader expectations of customers, activists and investors. Read More ›

OSHA’s “Volks” Rule Invalidated

Last week, President Donald Trump signed a joint resolution passed by the House and Senate overturning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) rule titled “Clarification of Employers’ Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness.”[1] The cancellation of the rule effectively means that employers cannot be cited for injury and illness recordkeeping violations older than six months. Read More ›

EPA Initiates Reviews of Three Clean Air Act Regulations, Following President Trump’s “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth” Executive Order

A week after President Trump signed an Executive Order directing agency review of various energy-related regulations (see March 28, 2017, B&D alert here), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is initiating review of three such regulations under Clean Air Act.  The announcements were published on the Federal Register on April 4, 2017. Read More ›

EPA’s Plan to Implement Trump’s Proposed Budget Signals Massive Change

President Trump’s recent budget proposal and a more detailed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) memo regarding its implementation portend a potentially seismic shift in federal environmental priorities and programs. The President’s “Budget Blueprint,” which summarizes his request to Congress for fiscal year 2018 appropriations, seeks to cut nearly one-third ($2.6 billion) of EPA’s funding compared with current levels.  It would eliminate more than 50 programs, defund the Clean Power Plan, and eliminate 3,200 full-time jobs.  EPA has begun preparation to implement Trump’s plan, signaling the dramatic changes that may be seen at the agency should Congress approve a budget substantially similar to the administration’s proposal. Read More ›

California Court of Appeal Upholds Cap-and-Trade Program

On Thursday, April 06, 2017, California’s Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District upheld California’s Cap-and-Trade Program, the cornerstone of California’s climate change policy, by a 2-1 vote. Read More ›

Interior Secretary Immediately Implements President’s Executive Order on Energy and Climate

New Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke wasted no time implementing the mandates of the Trump Administration’s most recent Executive Order (EO), “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,” which was issued on March 28.  For a summary of that EO, click here.  On March 29, the Secretary issued two Secretarial Orders (SO) implementing the March 28 Order, and took additional administrative action consistent with its mandates.  Separately, the Secretary has reinstated a public-private advisory committee to address royalty issues. Read More ›

Recent PFAS Case Law – RCRA, CERCLA and Toxic Tort Claims

A new class of emerging contaminants poses challenges at remediation sites and for the protection of drinking water, and is generating new toxic tort litigation. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are emerging contaminants that are being identified at several sites in many areas of the country.  The U.S. EPA and many states are beginning to issue guidelines, advisories or in some cases, standards for PFAS in drinking water, soil, or groundwater.  At the same time, several cases are winding their way through the courts.  Below we discuss several recent cases involving PFAS contamination.  In each of these cases, some of the claims have survived a motion to dismiss, suggesting that it will be difficult to quickly dispose of such claims prior to discovery. Read More ›