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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Supreme Court Allows Agencies to Re-Interpret Their Regulations Without Rulemaking

On March 9, 2015, the Supreme Court wiped away a longstanding judicial doctrine that had placed greater procedural requirements on a federal agency when it changes its prior interpretation of a federal regulation.  The Court’s unanimous opinion in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, 575 U.S. ___ (2015) held that federal agencies need not engage in public notice-and-comment rulemaking in this instance, because a new regulatory interpretation does not amount to an amendment of the regulation itself.  For a copy of the slip opinion, click here. Read More ›

California Continues Hazardous Waste Enforcement Campaign Against Retailers With Two New Multi-Million Dollar Settlements

The first quarter of 2015 brought two significant settlements against retailers for alleged violations of California’s hazardous waste laws.  The settlements are the latest in a string of similar California enforcement actions that have seen total penalties of over $150 million levied against retailers in the last five years involving waste products.  Through settlement orders, California prosecutors continue to impose increasingly onerous obligations for employee training, hazardous waste determinations, mandatory third party auditing, and other oversight of hazardous waste compliance programs that go above and beyond the regulatory requirements.  This puts a premium on retailers to develop and maintain a robust hazardous waste compliance program that can withstand enforcement scrutiny.  Read More ›

APHIS Withdraws 2008 Proposal to Amend Regulation of GE Organisms

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced on February 27, 2015 that it is officially withdrawing a six year-old proposal that originally sought to substantially amend the agency’s decades-old regulatory program governing the introduction of certain genetically engineered (GE) organisms into the environment.  The 2008 proposal, among other key changes, would have expanded the scope of GE organisms subject to APHIS regulation while establishing a new and comprehensive permitting system to replace APHIS’ current notification and permitting procedures.  It now has been formally withdrawn so that APHIS can “begin fresh stakeholder engagement aimed at exploring alternative policy approaches.”  A brief overview of APHIS’ withdrawal action follows. Read More ›

FedEx Asks Federal Appeals Court to Block California Enforcement Case Alleging Mismanagement of Damaged Products

On February 23, 2015, FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. (“FedEx”) filed an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (“9th Circuit”), seeking to block an enforcement action brought by the State of California alleging that the company improperly stored and transported packages of products that it found to be damaged or leaking without complying with the State’s hazardous waste regulations.  FedEx is arguing that its process for handling such packages in California (which has since changed) was consistent with the Hazardous Materials Regulations (“HMR”) issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”), and that such regulations preempt State rules governing transport of hazardous wastes, pursuant to the preemption provisions of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (“HMTA”).  This argument, if successful, could potentially have broader implications for others who initiate or transport shipments of products and/or wastes. Read More ›

Texas Supreme Court Rules Additional-Insured Coverage Is Limited by Underlying Indemnification Agreement in In re Deepwater Horizon

In a much anticipated 8-1 decision, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that BP is not entitled to additional-insured coverage in In re Deepwater Horizon, No. 13-0670 (Feb. 13, 2015). Read More ›

Washington Federal Court Finds Nuisance Claims Displaced by CERCLA

Expanding the reach of the federal displacement doctrine and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in AEP v. Connecticut, a federal district court for the first time held that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) displaces the federal common law of nuisance in claims alleging damages caused by releases of hazardous substances. See Anderson v. Teck Metals, Ltd., No. CV-13-420 (E.D. Wash. Jan. 5, 2015). This ruling follows on a 2011 U.S. Supreme Court holding that regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act displaces federal nuisance claims arising from the effects of climate change. See AEP v. Connecticut, 131 S. Ct. 2527 (2011). Read More ›

North Carolina’s Amended Repose Law Fails to Save Barred Toxic Tort Claim

Notwithstanding the intent of the North Carolina legislature, a federal court ruled that the state’s recently amended law exempting groundwater contamination suits from a 10-year statute of repose did not save a latent toxic tort action. See Stahle v. CTS Corporation, No. 1:14-cv-00048-MOC-DLH (W.D.N.C. Dec. 4, 2004). Read More ›

High Court Finds Plausible Showing of Amount in Controversy Sufficient to Remove Action

In a decision that may make it somewhat easier for defendants to remove putative class actions from state to federal court, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that defendants in such cases do not need to offer evidence in their notices of removal proving that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional threshold. See Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. v. Owens, No. 13-719 (Dec. 15, 2014). Read More ›

Arkansas Federal Court Denies Class Certification in Property Damage Suit

Exemplifying the reluctance of many courts to allow toxic tort cases to proceed as class actions, a federal judge in Arkansas denied certification of a putative class of neighboring landowners who claimed the Defendant’s failure to adequately remediate contamination damaged their property values. See Day v. Whirlpool Corp., Case No. 2:13-CV-02164 (W.D. Ark. Dec. 3, 2014). Read More ›

Louisiana Federal Court Excludes “Every Exposure” Testimony

Adding to the growing body of case law that rejects the so-called “every exposure” theory, a federal court in Louisiana has excluded specific causation opinions of a plaintiffs’ expert who relied on the theory, finding that such a “one-size fits all” approach is not reliable expert testimony. See Comardelle v. Pennsylvania Gen. Ins. Co., No. 13-6555 (E.D. La. January 5, 2015). Read More ›