Texas Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Two Environmental Cases

The Texas Supreme Court has begun identifying the cases that it will hear in its 2017-2018 term.  One case involves an individual’s personal liability for violating environmental rules; another addresses state pre-emption of local environmental ordinances. Individual Liability of LLC’s Owner and Manager First, the Court agreed to review Morello v. State, where the Austin […]

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Contractor’s Obligation to Provide Insurance Is Different From Indemnity

In many industrial construction or services contracts, contractors agree to provide insurance for the owners.  Additionally, contractors often agree to indemnify the owners, at least to some extent.  These provisions are sometimes congruent; that is, the indemnity and insurance provisions can be written so that each obligation corresponds exactly to the other.  However, Texas law […]

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Mitigation and SEPs Under Increased DOJ Scrutiny

Recent action, both governmental and non-governmental, suggests that the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) will be less inclined to include mitigation projects or Supplemental Environmental Projects (“SEPs”) in environmental enforcement settlements. In a prior Alert, I discussed the June 5, 2017 memorandum issued by Attorney General Jeff Sessions (“the Sessions Memo”), which stated that DOJ […]

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Baylor Case: Public Statements Can Waive Privilege

Baylor University was concerned that it was not in full compliance with federal law relating to complaints of sexual harassment and violence. Baylor also expected litigation.  Baylor’s Board of Regents hired the Pepper Hamilton law firm to investigate Baylor’s procedures, policies and other “institutional response” aspects of Baylor’s compliance obligations.  Baylor and Pepper Hamilton agreed […]

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DOJ/EPA Officials Deny Significant Changes to SEP Policy Due to Sessions Memo

On August 4, 2017, at the 29th Annual Texas Environmental Super Conference, I heard presentations from Patrick Traylor, Deputy Assistant Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance and Jeffrey Wood, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”). These federal officials spoke […]

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In one paragraph, the Texas Supreme Court reiterated that landowners must allow easement holders to conduct their operations, consistent with the easement that they hold. Landowner Must Allow Access for Regulatory Compliance On July 26, 2017, the Court issued an Order directing a trial court to issue any necessary temporary orders to allow Denbury Green […]

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