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September 26 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 26, 2014

  • Was California workers’ comp claim against NFL by former Tampa Bay Buccaneer-turned-P.I.-lawyer inconsistent with his mixed martial arts prowess? [Tampa Bay Times, Lakeland Ledger, earlier and more on California workers' comp and professional football]
  • Salt Lake City’s $6,500 stings: “Secret Shopper Hired to Punish Lyft & Uber Actually Prefers Them” [Connor Boyack, Libertas Institute]
  • Are libertarians undermining public accommodations law? (If only.) [Stanford Law Review, Samuel Bagenstos and Richard Epstein via Paul Horwitz]
  • Why NYC is losing its last bed and breakfasts [Crain's New York via @vpostrel]
  • U.S. continues foolish policy of restricting crude oil and gas exports, time for that to change [David Henderson first and second posts]
  • So it seems the New York Times is now committed to the theory that Toyotas show mechanical unintended acceleration;
  • OK, the future Kansas politician was at the strip club strictly on attorney business when the police arrived. Was he billing? [Politico]

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So instead it will require private businesses to invest in security measures. I explain in a new Cato post. In January I noted an unsuccessful bill in the Maryland legislature to require gas station owners to maintain videocamera system.

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After intense political controversy in Louisiana, a controversial environmental suit is apparently on its way out. [KATC] Earlier here and here.

  • “A Poster Child for Overcriminalization: The History of the Lacey Act” [Jarrett Dieterle/Point of Law; earlier] “Strict Obama administration ivory ban infuriates musicians” [Bluegrass Nation/Daily Caller]
  • California business didn’t think nutty Prop 65 warning regime could get worse, Brown administration might prove them wrong [Michael Feeley et al., JD Supra]
  • “We’re definitely asking a judge to make a leap of faith here”: profile of Steven Wise, who files suits on behalf of chimps and other non-human “plaintiffs” [New York Times Magazine, earlier on Wise]
  • Quin Hillyer gives thumbs down to Louisiana coastal wetlands suit [Baton Rouge Advocate, earlier]
  • James Huffman on the public trust doctrine [Hoover]
  • John Steele Gordon on California drought [Commentary]
  • “It’s easier to engage and organize people around ‘fracking’ than a complicated list of practices.” [L.A. Business Journal]

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Environmental roundup

by Walter Olson on March 26, 2014

  • Oklahoma attorney general goes to court claiming private litigant manipulation of endangered/threatened species petition process [Lowell Rothschild & Kevin Ewing; NPR "State Impact"; Oklahoman, auto-plays ad video; press release, Oklahoma AG E. Scott Pruitt; ESA Watch site from oil riggers; more on the topic]
  • New Yorker mag backs tale of frogs/atrazine researcher who claims conspiracy. Someone’s gonna wind up embarrassed [Jon Entine]
  • Does gas company lease of subsurface rights entitle it to seek injunction excluding protesters from ground level? [Paul Alan Levy]
  • California: “Abusive Coastal Agency Demands Even More Power” [Steven Greenhut]
  • Mr. Harris, you embarrass: “recreational burning of wood is unethical and should be illegal” [Sam Harris from 2012]
  • Harrisburg Patriot-News series on flood insurance [TortsProf, R Street Institute on recent bill]
  • Kansas, Louisiana, and Indiana named top states on property rights freedoms [Mercatus]

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Maryland roundup

by Walter Olson on March 22, 2014

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Environment roundup

by Walter Olson on August 23, 2013

  • California officials profess surprise: fracking’s been going on for decades in their state [Coyote]
  • Taxpayers fund Long Island Soundkeeper enviro group, affiliated with RFK Jr.’s Waterkeeper network, and a Connecticut state lawmaker does rather nicely out of that [Raising Hale]
  • Backgrounder on Louisiana coastal erosion suit [New Orleans Times-Picayune] “Lawsuit Blaming Oil Companies For Wetland Loss Might As Well Blame The Plaintiffs” [Daniel Fisher, Forbes]
  • US ties for worst of 25 countries when it comes to delay in mining permits [Sharon Koss, NTU] “Number One in DataMining” [@sonodoc99]
  • “BP Is Rapidly Becoming One Giant Law Firm” [Paul Barrett, Bloomberg Business Week]
  • “Mann v. Steyn — Mann wins round one” [Adler]
  • An insider’s view of EPA and how it uses power [Brent Fewell]

Saltwater incursion and wetlands loss associated with industrial use of coastal Louisiana have worsened the exposure of populated areas to flooding, according to official reports and scientific studies. Now a flood protection board representing much of the New Orleans area is suing energy companies demanding a contribution of “billions” of dollars, though its spokesman acknowledges that government actions were also responsible for weakening the natural environmental buffer. John Schwartz quotes me in his New York Times report today, though without the chance to study the suit’s contentions it was hard for me to make any more than the most preliminary observations.

P.S. More details emerge in an expanded version of the story as well as in a Thursday Washington Post report. The agency is suing “about 100″ energy companies. Canal construction and other actions taken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were important contributors to the environmental losses, but principles of sovereign immunity restrict suits against the Corps. Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said “that the levee agency had usurped his authority and that the suit would enrich trial lawyers” and demanded that the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority “cancel contracts with the four law firms that had agreed to handle the case on a contingency basis.”

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Environmental roundup

by Walter Olson on July 22, 2013

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Autos roundup

by Walter Olson on April 3, 2013

  • Abuse of out-of-state motorists an issue: “The Perils of Policing for Profit: Why Tennessee should reform its civil asset forfeiture laws” [Beacon Center, earlier]
  • Manhattan: “Lawyer takes plea in $279M no-fault auto insurance fraud case” [ABA Journal]
  • “AAA Warns of ‘Dangerous’ Free Market in Parking Spaces” [Matt Yglesias, Slate via Tim Carney]
  • Negotiated rates on auto loans at dealerships might violate Obama administration’s disparate-impact guidelines [Roger Clegg]
  • Not great for Law dot com’s credibility: Corp Counsel mag throws in with “sudden acceleration” goofery; and here’s an effort to gear up acceleration claims against Ford too.
  • Ethanol group menaces Phillips with antitrust charge unless it alters franchiser rule [Alexander Cohen, Atlas]
  • “Two researchers call for installing technology to disable cellphones in moving cars” [L.A.Times via Fair Warning]

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Environment roundup

by Walter Olson on March 26, 2013

  • Doughnut oil and the environment: NYT misses a story of unintended consequences [Ira Stoll, SmarterTimes]
  • N.C.: “Guy Who Runs Wilderness Camp Told to Install Sprinklers, Use County Approved Lumber” [Katherine Mangu-Ward]
  • “With Proposed Policy Change, EPA Fully Embraces Role of ‘Environmental Justice’ Advocate” [Cory Andrews, WLF]
  • “While the taxes… are irritating, what has really killed my interest in expanding in California is the regulatory burden.” [Coyote on SLOLeaks blog; another California Coastal Commission horror story]
  • Natural crop breeding = safe, biotech-assisted breeding = unsafe? Tale of the toxic potato teaches otherwise [Maggie Koerth-Baker, BoingBoing] (broken link fixed now)
  • Peak Oil? Welcome instead to Trough Oil, as titanic new fossil fuel supplies begin coming online [Andrew Sullivan]
  • Deregulation of accessory dwellings is a reform both free-marketeers and New Urbanists in search of density can get behind [David Alpert, Greater Greater Washington]

Report: Rockefeller family foundations have given millions to anti-fossil-fuel activist Bill McKibben [Vivian Krause, Financial Post (Canada)]

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Environment roundup

by Walter Olson on January 17, 2013

Environment roundup

by Walter Olson on October 29, 2012

  • Climate prof Michael Mann sues critics including National Review, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Mark Steyn, and Rand Simberg [Ken at Popehat, Scientific American, Ted Frank (noting Ars Technica's fair-weather disapproval of SLAPP suits), Adler and more]
  • California polls show once-massive support for Prop 37 ebbing away; is there any major newspaper in the state that likes the measure? [L.A. Times, San Jose Mercury News, San Diego U-T; earlier here, here, etc.] Views of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on the general question of genetic modification labeling [statement, PDF] Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution refutes predictably lame views of Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan (stance tactfully assessed as “mood affiliation”) and discusses the impact on pesticide use with Greg Conko; more from WLF. At least Prop 37 has Michelle Lerach, hmmm [No on 37]
  • “So the two technologies most reliably and stridently opposed by the environmental movement—genetic modification and fracking—have been the two technologies that most reliably cut carbon emissions.” [Matt Ridley, WSJ]
  • “Texas v. EPA Litigation Scorecard” [Josiah Neeley, Texas Public Policy Foundation, PDF]
  • High-visibility public chemophobe Nicholas Kristof turns his garish and buzzing searchlight on formaldehyde [Angela Logomasini, CEI]
  • Per its terms, new ordinance in Yellow Springs, Ohio, “recognizes the legally enforceable Rights of Nature to exist and flourish. Residents of the village shall possess legal standing to enforce those rights on behalf of natural communities and ecosystems.” [Wesley Smith, NRO]
  • How EPA regulates without rulemaking: sue-and-settle, guidance documents, emergency powers [Ryan Young and Wayne Crews, CEI]

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Environment roundup

by Walter Olson on September 27, 2012

  • Behind a YouTube anti-fracking video labeled “Hydraulic Fracturing turns gardenhose to flamethrower,” there’s quite a story [Star-Telegram]
  • BPA-endocrine alarms: “Why Nick Kristof’s Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Us All” [Trevor Butterworth, Forbes]
  • Incy wincy spider shuts down $15 million construction project [Fox]
  • Regulatory Balkanization of gasoline market worsens price volatility [Morriss/Boudreaux via David Henderson; more, WSJ] Will CAFE sink GM? [Holman Jenkins via same]
  • “After a fire at a massive oil plant in California, residents want compensation. But it’s not that easy” [Above the Law]
  • “Dispatches from the Duke Conference on ‘Conservative Visions of Our Environmental Future'” [Jonathan Adler]
  • Broadway, dark? “The high cost of closing Indian Point” [Lesser & Bryce, NYP]

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Environmental roundup

by Walter Olson on August 22, 2012

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  • EPA continues crackdown on older-home renovation in the name of lead paint caution [Angela Logomasini, earlier, see also re: lab testing]
  • Solyndra’s many enablers: 127 in House GOP just backed federal energy loan guarantees [Tad DeHaven/Cato]
  • “In defense of genetically modified crops” [Mother Jones, no kidding] “How California’s GMO Labeling Law Could Limit Your Food Choices and Hurt the Poor” [Steve Sexton, Freakonomics]
  • “EPA fines oil refiners for failing to use nonexistent biofuel” [Howard Portnoy, Hot Air]
  • Consultant eyed in Chevron-Ecuador case [PoL] Radio campaign targets conservatives on behalf of trial lawyers’ side [Fowler/NRO] Lawyer suing Chevron: “We are delivering a bunch of checks to [NY Comptroller] DiNapoli today” [NYP]
  • Getting taxpayers off the hook: Congress might curb flood insurance subsidies [Mark Calabria/Cato]
  • “Lessons from British Columbia’s Carbon Tax” [Adler]

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Environmental roundup

by Walter Olson on June 20, 2012

  • Nebraska Sen. Johanns proposes bill to curb EPA surveillance overflights (which, contrary to some erroneous reports going around, are manned flights) [Daily Caller, earlier]
  • “Time to Discard the Precautionary Principle at the CPSC” [Nancy Nord]
  • Victimology beats science with 9/11 dust fund [Point of Law, ACSH] Two NYC plaintiff’s firms fight over $50 million in 9/11-responder fees [Reuters]
  • “Court dismisses climate change ‘public trust’ suit” [Katie Owens, WLF]
  • Erin Brockovich promotes Fridley, Minnesota cancer cluster, local man “eager to hear” her spiel [StarTrib, earlier]
  • Jonathan Adler guestblogs on environmental policy at The Atlantic [Volokh]
  • Businesses’ donations on environmental advocacy? Never trust content from “Union of Concerned Scientists” [Ron Bailey]
  • Talking back to “Gasland,” the anti-fracking advocacy flick [Ron Bailey and more, Mark Perry, Business Week on local economic impact]