Environmental regulation at the federal and state levels extends to every aspect of business. Although Sidley always prioritizes a favorable outcome at the administrative or judicial level, the firm’s Environmental lawyers take an unparalleled approach toward obtaining the most successful results when it becomes necessary to challenge an agency rule or appeal a lower court ruling.
Our environmental appeals team brings value to our clients in the following ways:
- In approaching environmental appeals of rulemakings, we harness the value of our team’s talented practitioners who possess experience in regulatory issues under every federal statutory scheme in the environmental area.
- Our ability to draw on the resources of colleagues from Sidley’s leading Appellate practice ensures that the presentation before the court reviewing agency rules represents the deepest substantive experience and the best possible appellate strategy.
- The firm is also home to experienced advocates who have appeared before the Supreme Court and all of the federal courts of appeals. Our approach to appeals of lower court rulings similarly reflects the deep experience Sidley lawyers have in appellate advocacy at the highest levels.
- In recent years, our lawyers have taken the lead role in litigating challenges to many of the significant environmental regulations that have been heard in federal circuit courts of appeals, including the D.C. Circuit, the most frequent forum for litigating federal agency rules, as well as in the Supreme Court.
- Our lawyers have also been integral to appeals of lower court rulings in many environmental matters, including all three of the climate-change tort cases, one of which yielded a key Supreme Court decision in our clients’ favor.
Recent environmental appeals handled by our lawyers in the federal circuit courts and U.S. Supreme Court include:
- A favorable decision for Luminant Generation Company from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (the Court) that The Washington Post described as “a major victory for utilities and business groups.”
- A significant victory in the Court for Cummins Inc., which challenged an interim final rule issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) without notice and comment. In a strongly worded opinion, the Court struck down the interim final rule for lack of “good cause” under the Administrative Procedure Act.
- A favorable ruling for the Portland Cement Association before the Court, which found that strict air emission standards promulgated for the industry were arbitrary and capricious, remanding the standards back to the EPA. The opinion was a rare decision in favor of an industry petitioner on so-called “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants.”
- Several states, the City of New York and land trusts brought a suit against four utilities and the Tennessee Valley Authority. With Sidley as lead counsel, the defendants appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which issued an 8-0 decision authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and reversed the Second Circuit. The leading Supreme Court blog called this litigation “the biggest-ever case on the issue of global warming.”
- The successful representation of several utility companies, including Duke Energy Corporation and AEP, in opposing plaintiffs’ mandamus petition to the U.S. Supreme Court and had the case dismissed both in the district court where it was re-filed and in the Fifth Circuit in May 2013.
Sidley’s environmental appeals lawyers have the experience and the depth to handle the most complicated matters arising under environmental and natural resources laws. When it becomes necessary to challenge an agency rule or appeal a lower court ruling, we draw upon the many resources of the firm as a whole to develop an unequalled approach that delivers powerful results when and where our clients need them most.