“Buy America Act” (1) requires all federal governments — and by extension state and local governments receiving federal funds — to use United States (U.S.) made steel, components and manufactured products in all rolling stock, iron, and rail infrastructure. Under Buy America, the Secretary of Transportation: “shall not obligate any funds authorized to be appropriated to carry out the Surface Transportation Assistance Act . . . unless steel, iron, and manufactured products used in such project are produced in the United States.” Policy Buy America clearly favors U.S. made goods. In a recent waiver based upon non-availability, the Secretary stated… Read more
Originally published in the ABA’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Endangered Species Committee Newsletter The Endangered Species Act (ESA), 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq., has been called the “pit bull” of environmental laws. This article contends that increases in ESA litigation and consultation obligations have expanded the ESA’s scope and effect. Specifically, the reach of the ESA has expanded because of a dramatic rise in listing petitions that are likely to increase the number of species subject to the ESA’s protections and because of an increase in consultation obligations triggered by recent rulemaking, water supply disputes, and novel… Read more
Originally published in the ABA’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Environmental Litigation and Toxic Torts Committee Newsletter The easy environmental cases have gone away. Environmental issues have become more complex. Laboratories are able to measure at levels not possible just years ago. Experts debate effects of contaminants that now seem ubiquitous and products commonly and widely used. Environmental problems drive engineers to cutting-edge technologies. Today, the expert advocate serves an ever more important role in environmental and toxic tort litigation. Click HERE to read the full article.
The Center for Biological Diversity’s (CBD) petition to list 404 southeast aquatic species under the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1531 et seq. (ESA) (the Southeast Mega- Petition) promises to increase pressure on the competing demands on our water resources, wetlands and riparian habitats. CBD and Wild Earth Guardians (WEG) petitions will require the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Fisheries (NOAA) to assess, and possibly list, over 700 species as threatened or endangered and entitled to enhanced legal protections in the next several years. The alleged causes for species or sub-species decline… Read more
The summer of 2012 saw the most geographically extensive drought in the United States in 50 years. Here in Georgia, the effects of the drought can be seen in the steady drop in water levels in Lake Allatoona and Lake Lanier, the two principal water supply sources for Metropolitan Atlanta. Lake Lanier is at its lowest levels since the severe drought of 2008. As a result of this and other recent history, even in our historically water-rich Southeastern states, there is an increasing awareness that lack of reliable, affordable water supply can threaten quality of life and economic opportunity. Increasing… Read more
Authored by: Andrew M. Thompson When an in-house lawyer receives a call from one of the company’s facilities reporting that someone has found contamination in the groundwater beneath the facility, you know that, at a minimum, it is bad news. When sample test results soon discover contamination in the drinking water wells of a large number of the residences within a two-mile radius, you fear the worst. However, in this particular instance, what started as every client’s worst nightmare with hundreds of angry local residents filing lawsuits and the local press publishing incriminating articles, ultimately ended with a successful cost… Read more
As a result of recent technological innovations improving the ability to extract oil and natural gas from shale and other rock formations, the popularity of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has surged, leading to new investment opportunities and positive growth for the domestic gas and oil production industry. With the expansion, however, has come risk and scrutiny.1 To help quantify and qualify those potential risks, and in response to escalating public concern, Congress directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to conduct a study into the potential impacts of fracking on drinking and ground water. A first report of results is… Read more
The sophisticated user defense, also known as the learned intermediary doctrine, has been widely used by drug manufacturers in defending against failure to warn claims in products liability lawsuits. Although less well known, the sophisticated user defense has also been applied outside the pharmaceutical drug context and just recently, in Parker v. Schmiede Machine & Tool Corp.,1 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit relied on the sophisticated user defense in affirming a district court’s grant of summary judgment to the defendants in a case in which employees at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, Georgia facility alleged that they developed… Read more