On July 5, 2018, President Trump accepted the resignation of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler is now Acting EPA Administrator. Support from President Trump Amid Controversy In his resignation letter, Pruitt cited “unrelenting attacks” on him and his family. While he did not provide details of these attacks, President Trump was certainly […]Read more "Pruitt’s EPA Policies Will Continue without Him"
EPA has proposed a “new owner” audit program for air emissions from oil and natural gas exploration and production facilities and has requested comments on a proposed Audit Agreement template. I expect EPA will make the program final after receiving comments, with the final template similar to the current draft. Limited to Oil and Gas […]Read more "EPA Proposes Program for Audits by New Owners of Oil and Gas Facilities"
A three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, with one dissent, has reversed a trial court decision and reinstated a Clean Water Act (“CWA”) citizen suit. Upstate Forever v. Kinder Morgan. The CWA allows citizens to sue in federal court when a company is in continuous violation due […]Read more "Federal Appellate Court Allows Citizen Suit for Migration through Ground Water"
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has overruled a trial court and allowed construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline to continue. In allowing construction to continue, the appellate court stated that it is likely that the district judge’s decision to stop construction was an “abuse of discretion.” The case involves claims […]Read more "Appeals Court Allows Bayou Bridge Pipeline Construction to Continue"
A recent Texas Supreme Court decision is a reminder of the importance of detail in expert reports and testimony. Lawyers and experts may need to go far beyond what they think is reasonable in providing details, especially when the expert opinion is necessary to support a claim for relief. Needle Inserted into the Optic Nerve […]Read more "Experts Must Provide Details"
I am pleased to announce that as of February 1, 2018, I am a shareholder at Crain Caton & James, P.C. I am especially excited to join with Robert E. “Robin” Morse, Kelly D. Brown, and Cory R. Thornton; together, we bring over 100 years of environmental law experience. More about them, below. My new […]Read more "Jim Smith Joins Crain Caton & James"
On December 8, 2017, the Texas Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of Oncor Electric Delivery Company (“Oncor”) in a case that resulted in a judgment against Oncor of approximately $500,000 in damages, interest, and attorneys’ fees. In its appeal, Oncor asserts that the court entering that judgment had no jurisdiction and that only […]Read more "Texas Supreme Court May Clarify Scope of PUC Jurisdiction in Contract Disputes"