For more than a decade, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) has been in a dispute with several environmental groups and unable to reach agreement with the National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”, and collectively with NMFS, the “Services”) regarding the effects of the National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”) on Endangered Species Act (“ESA”)-listed species and their designated critical habitat.  Environmental groups have sued FEMA in at least six states, ranging from Washington to Florida, for failing to consult with the Services pursuant to ESA Section 7(a)(2) regarding the effects of FEMA’s implementation of the NFIP on ESA-protected resources.  In 2012, FEMA agreed, as part of a... READ MORE
The Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) has released a newly updated version of its “Pipeline Security Guidelines” (“Guidelines”) which outlines the measures that should be taken to protect pipeline cyber assets. TSA, which has oversight over more than 2.6 million miles of natural gas and oil pipelines, had not updated its Guidelines since 2011.  However, the threat of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure sectors, including the energy sector, has increased in volume, sophistication, and magnitude over the last seven years. While the electric industry has binding and enforceable cybersecurity standards, the original Guidelines issued by TSA were not mandatory. The voluntary nature of the Guidelines has raised concerns for electric... READ MORE
On March 6, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit or Court) issued an unsigned per curiam opinion, revising its July 2017 decision which struck down portions of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2015 Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) Rule.  This revision followed the court’s invitation in its July 2017 decision to have parties provide additional briefing on whether one of the vacated components of the decision should be severed and affirmed. READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman, Beveridge & Diamond, and NAWL's Environmental & Energy Practice Area Affinity Group cordially invite you to a breakfast program: Environmental Review and Permitting Reform for Infrastructure Projects.   The program is being coordinated by a group including Andrea Hudson Campbell, partner in our environment practice, and panelists will include  Gwen Keyes Fleming, partner in our environmental practice. READ MORE
For the sixth year, Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor School of Law will host its conference on the Governance of Emerging Technologies & Science ("GETS"). GETS brings together representatives from academia, industry, and private practice to discuss regulatory, governance, legal, policy, social, and ethical aspects of emerging technologies.  On May 18, Van Ness Feldman's Scott Nuzum will sit on a panel discussing the "pacing problem" in regulation. Scott's talk, entitled, "Liberalism in the Digital Age: Regulating Emerging Tech to Ensure Robust Democratic Institutions," will explore a range of existing and potential governance mechanisms to ensure that countries such as the United States can effectively foster technological innovation... READ MORE
For the seventh year in a row, The Legal 500 United States 2018, recognized Van Ness Feldman as a national leader in Energy Regulatory law. READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman was named one of the Best Law Firms of its size for Female Attorneys today by Law360’s Glass Ceiling Report.   READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman LLP is pleased to announce that Jason Larrabee, former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the Department of the Interior, has joined the firm’s Washington, DC office as a Senior Policy Advisor.  Mr. Larrabee brings over twenty years of public sector experience to the firm, having worked in various positions in Congress, including most recently, as Chief of Staff to Congressman Jeff Denham (R-CA).  READ MORE
UPDATE: Washington v. United States On Monday, the Supreme Court (in 4-4 decision) affirmed the Ninth Circuit decision in Washington vs. US. Since 2001, the United States, the Western Washington Treaty Tribes (“Tribes”), and the State of Washington (“State”) have been engaged in epic litigation concerning whether State owned culverts, which block fish passage, have violated the Tribes' treaty rights. In 2017, The Ninth Circuit ruled held that the State was and continues to violate the Tribes’ treaty rights by building and maintaining the State’s culverts. Specifically, the Ninth Circuit upheld the District Court’s injunction, which required the State to remove its barrier culverts—costing the State hundreds of millions of dollars. On June... READ MORE
Despite some uncertainty of when talks with North Korea will take place, there is a flurry of activity in Washington surrounding the expansion of relations with North Korea and the withdrawal from “the Iran deal”.  The White House also remains focused on re-negotiating the terms of the NAFTA agreement and is considering several high profile tariff initiatives. READ MORE
Friends of the River Appeals U.S. District Court Decision on ESA Baseline for Existing Dams On April 6, 2018, Friends of the River (FOR) filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Ninth Circuit) of a decision of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (District Court) holding that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) did not act arbitrarily and capriciously when it limited its Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 review to Corps activities where the Corps has discretion and excluded from its ESA review the effects of the ongoing existence of two Corps dams.  The Corps operates and maintains two dams on California’s Yuba River, which the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) designated as... READ MORE