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Showing 12 posts by Shengzhi Wang.

Fifth Circuit: Louisiana’s Subsequent Purchaser Doctrine Bars Claims for Damage to Real Property

In a case that may have implications at contaminated former oil and gas production sites across Louisiana, the Fifth Circuit applied Louisiana’s “subsequent purchaser doctrine” and affirmed the dismissal of a landowner’s property damage claims stemming from a decades-old oil and gas operation.  See Guilbeau v. Hess Corp., No. 16-30971 (5th Cir. Apr. 18, 2017).  Although the Fifth Circuit acknowledged the Louisiana Supreme Court had not directly addressed the issue, the court held that a Louisiana property owner without assignment or subrogation of rights held by previous landowners cannot sue a third-party lessee of mineral rights for damages inflicted on the property before the current property owner purchased the property.  Read More ›

Washington Supreme Court Holds that Prior Negligence May Trigger Insurance Coverage Notwithstanding Pollution Exclusion

In a ruling highlighting the limits of ubiquitous pollution exclusion clauses in property insurance policies, the Washington Supreme Court held that an insurer had a duty to defend a claim where the insured’s prior negligence led to pollution, notwithstanding a pollution exclusion clause.  See Xia v. ProBuilders Specialty Ins. Co, 393 P.3d 748 (Wash. 2017).  Read More ›

EPA Releases Final Guidance on TSCA Section 8(a) Nanomaterial Reporting Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Working Guidance on EPA’s Section 8(a) Information Gathering Rule on Nanomaterials in Commerce (Guidance)[1] on August 14, 2017.  EPA developed the final Guidance based on a draft guidance published for comments in May 2017 (see B&D Alert from May 23, 2017).  Note that August 14, 2017 was also the effective date of the TSCA Section 8(a) Nanomaterial Reporting rule itself. Read More ›

EPA Unveils Scoping Analysis for Risk Evaluations under Amended TSCA, Requests Comments on the First Ten Chemicals

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued the three framework rules called for by the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to direct future review of chemical risks.  Without waiting for those rules, however, EPA had previously launched risk evaluations for the initial ten chemical substances.  On June 22, 2017, EPA posted the scope documents (follow the links under “First ten chemicals for Risk Evaluation”) for those substances.  They present a less complete scoping process than what the scope analysis will look like in the future.  For each of the ten chemicals, EPA has opened dockets for public comments.  The next step for these ten chemical substances is problem formulation . Read More ›

TSCA Nanomaterial Reporting Rule: EPA Delays Effective Date and Releases Draft Guidance for Public Comment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued its Draft Guidance on EPA’s Section 8(a) Information Gathering Rule on Nanomaterials in Commerce ( “Draft Guidance”) on May 16, 2017. See 82 Fed. Reg. 22452 (May 16, 2017).  EPA has requested public comment on the Draft Guidance, with public comments due on or before June 15, 2017. Read More ›

Fifth Circuit Tosses Coastal Damage Tort Lawsuit Against Oil and Gas Companies

Illustrating the challenges in using Louisiana tort suits to address large-scale environmental issues, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit dismissed claims seeking relief for alleged coastal damage from oil and gas operations off the Gulf Coast. See Bd. Comm’r Se. La. Flood Prot. Auth.-E. v. Tenn. Gas Pipeline Co., No. 15-30162 (5th Cir. Mar. 3, 2017). Read More ›

Federal District Court Declines to Declare that CERCLA Bars Pending State Law Tort Action

Highlighting the discretion a federal court may exercise to allow a state court to hear state tort claims, a federal district court in Montana dismissed a former smelter operator’s claim for injunctive relief against plaintiffs where a related but separate tort action was pending in state court. See Atl. Richfield Co. v. Christian, 15-cv-00083 (D. Mont. Feb. 15, 2017). Even though the federal court acknowledged it had diversity jurisdiction, it found the state court was better situated to efficiently handle the matter. 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 ›

The Congressional Review Act: Congress Dusts Off an Old Oversight Weapon

One of the great powers that Congress has to undo changes made by a prior administration is the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which was enacted in 1996.  As of March 17, 2017, this Congress has used the CRA to overturn more agency rulemakings than any Congress before it.  Many more regulations are on the potential chopping block; a lot of them address environmental, energy, and natural resources issues.  With this whirlwind of activity under the CRA, it is vital for the regulated community to stay informed of congressional action in this realm. Read More ›

States Consider 51 Bills to Restrict Chemicals in 2017

So far in the 2017 legislative cycle, 16 state legislatures are considering 51 bills seeking to restrict or otherwise regulate chemicals, just 8 months after sweeping changes to the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) were signed into law on June 22, 2016. Many of these new state bills follow recurring themes from 2016, while others signal new trends.  The attached  chart provides details regarding active state bills in the 2017 legislative cycle. Read More ›