Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Sues Fredericksburg Poultry Plant Over Pollution

 

Steve Harvey Law LLC is pleased to represent the Plaintiffs in this important environmental justice matter which was filed in federal court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The complaint alleges that the defendant, a poultry rendering facility, discharges over 350,000 pounds of nitrogen in excess of its permit limits in violation of the Clean Water Act. Excess nitrogen, in addition to phosphorus and sediment, cause algae blooms which consume oxygen and create dead zone that are fatal to aquatic life.

Follow the story here: http://bit.ly/31tvFxM

Suit Alleges Sunoco Drilling Contaminated Homeowner’s Water Well

Suit Alleges Sunoco Contaminated Water Well

 

Here is a report on a case Steve Harvey Law LLC filed last week. We are proud to represent our client, David W. Anspach, III, as he seeks justice for the contamination of his water well caused by pipeline activities on his property in Eastern Pennsylvania.

Follow the story here: http://bit.ly/2OiVsHi

Supreme Court Kiboshes Kids’ Climate Claims (For Now)

 

On Friday, October 19, Chief Justice Roberts issued an administrative stay order in Juliana v. U.S., a lawsuit over climate change in federal court in Oregon against the federal government with a group of children as plaintiffs. https://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/101918zr1_086c.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0M2xwMUaoXOWUc8yuKFnXKqvImJk50pPiu0J8gULSPVhoN9jpoI9mlF5M

The trial was scheduled to begin on October 29. The case survived motions to dismiss in the trial court, two trips to the 9th Circuit, and a prior stay request in the Supreme Court, which it unanimously denied on July 30, 2018.

The government sought the stay claiming irreparable harm from being forced to participate in a trial scheduled to last 50 days that it claims is inconsistent with Article III and the separation of powers under the Constitution and allegedly violates the law in other respects.

The trial was expected to feature numerous experts testifying about a wide range of topics, including the impacts of climate change on ocean chemistry, sea level, glaciers, terrestrial ecosystems, and human physical and mental health as well as the technical and economic feasibility of transitioning to renewable sources of energy and sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.

Effect of Stay on Trial

The stay order is temporary. It lasts until after the plaintiffs file a response on October 23 and further order of the Court. Theoretically, this means the Court is only staying the case to give itself time to decide whether to issue a longer stay of the case.

The stay order will make it very difficult if not impossible for the trial to begin on October 29 or anytime soon. This will have the practical effect of preventing the plaintiffs from commanding national news attention for a lawsuit about the science and danger of climate change. Coming just days before the November 6 election, some will claim that the five conservative justices are playing politics.

The timing of the stay is particularly hard on the plaintiffs, given that the case is over three years old. According to a plaintiffs’ press release, their 20 experts, all working pro bono, have already booked their travel to be in Oregon for trial. Plaintiffs’ experts include Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and renowned climate scientists including Dr. Kevin Trenberth, Dr. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, and Dr. Eric Rignot.

Main Allegation and Relief Sought

The plaintiffs allege that, through the government’s affirmative actions that cause climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources. They seek declaratory and injunctive relief, including an order requiring the U.S. government “to prepare and implement an enforceable national remedial plan to phase out fossil fuel emissions and draw down excess atmospheric CO2 so as to stabilize the climate system and protect the vital resources on which Plaintiffs now and in the future will depend.”

What Happens Next

It will be noteworthy if the Court issues any order before October 29. If the Court as a whole issues an order before then denying the stay, the trial could begin on or soon after October 29. Otherwise, the parties and the trial court will have to shelve the plan for the trial until the Court rules, which could take weeks. Either way, court watchers will look first to see how the justices voted on this case, which stands as a proxy for concern about climate change.

Our Children’s Trust

The plaintiffs’ legal team is led by Our Children’s Trust, a nonprofit organization based in Eugene, Oregon. Its mission is to give young people a legal and public platform on the climate issue. https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/

Steve Harvey

Steve Harvey is the founder and president of A Call to the Bar: Lawyers for Common Sense on Climate Change, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group of lawyers, law professors, law students, and citizens dedicated to using the law to secure the rights of all people to a healthy and sustainable planet earth.

 

Lawyers’ Climate Change Campaign Reaches West Coast for Earth Day

 

In early 2014, a small group of lawyers in Philadelphia began a campaign to enlist the support of the legal community for action on climate change. That campaign took root with the leadership of the Philadelphia Bar Association under the name A Call to the Bar: Lawyers for Common Sense on Climate Change.

The goal? To protect our children and future generations from the catastrophic effects of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions through carbon pricing, such as carbon tax, cap-and-trade, or fee and dividend. Virtually all knowledgeable people agree that carbon pricing is critical. Citizens must demand it, government must deliver it. Lawyers can lead the way.

Yesterday, April 21, 2015, the campaign reached the West Coast, with the publication by the Oregon State Bar of my article “Just a Theory on People and Climate Change.”

I am immensely proud to have the support of lawyers in Oregon.

In coming months, you can expect to hear more about our work with lawyers around the country, as we turn common sense into public policy.

Lawyers, law students, and non-lawyers can support our efforts by going to our web site, www.calltothebar.org and signing our petition. We cannot do it without you. Sign the petition now.

-Steve Harvey

Leading Jurists, Scholars, and Advocates Say Unrelenting CO2 Emissions Violate International Law and Must Be Reduced to Prevent Catastrophe

A group of prominent jurists, scholars, and advocates on March 1, 2015, adopted the Oslo Principles on Global Climate Change Obligations. The Principles are based on the undeniable fact that “[t]he threats [to the Earth from climate change] are grave and imminent,” and the inescapable conclusion that “[a]voiding severe global catastrophe is a moral and legal imperative.” The Principles “set out the legal obligations of States and enterprises to take the urgent measures necessary to avert climate change and its catastrophic effects.” Essentially, they call for reduced CO2 emissions by States and enterprises.

Principle 1, called the “Precautionary Principle,” states that: “1) GHG emissions be reduced to the extent and at a pace necessary to protect against the threats of climate change that can still be avoided; and 2) the level of reductions of GHG emissions required to achieve this, should be based on any credible and realistic worst-case scenario accepted by a substantial number of eminent climate change experts.”

The Oslo Principles, while not binding, serve as an important reminder that impeding disaster from climate change caused by CO2 emissions is not just an environmental and moral problem, it is a legal problem.

Anyone concerned about what government and the law should do about climate change should review the Principles, which can be found here. The commentary to the Principles can be found here

 

– Stephen G. Harvey

 

How I Decided to Market My Law Practice by Becoming a Leader on Climate Change

Last week, Law360 ran a story on me and the new non-profit I founded. For access to the article, click here if you are a Law360 subscriber or Google “Law360 Steve Harvey Climate Change”. Here is how this came about.

In 2013, I left my position as a partner at one of Philadelphia’s oldest and most prestigious law firms to found my own boutique law firm (Steve Harvey Law LLC) focused on litigation and trials for business disputes.

I thought carefully about how to market my new firm. It was of course critically important for clients to understand that I run a high-quality litigation and trial shop capable of delivering outstanding, cost-effective results in commercial litigation and other disputes. But I did not want to lose sight of the pro bono and public service component of my professional life that I had established so well at my former firm. I particularly wanted to focus some of my energy on the urgent threat to our society from climate change if we do not reduce greenhouse gas emissions, primarily CO2.

The solution: integrate my business plan with my public service passion.

The result: demand for our services remains strong as a result of marketing and networking activities, including time spent working on the climate change campaign.

I reached out to key leaders in the legal community and asked if they would back an effort to enlist the support of lawyers for action on climate change. The answer was positive. I then lobbied the Philadelphia Bar Association, which in June 2014 passed a resolution calling for immediate government action on climate change.

Then in November 2014, I organized a program for the Philadelphia Bar Association about CO2 emissions as the undisputed cause of climate change and carbon pricing (carbon tax or cap-and-trade program) as the recognized primary solution. The program featured Richard Alley, Ph.D., a leading climate scientist from Penn State, with climate change legal expert Robert McKinstry on carbon pricing.

Inspired by the program—particularly Dr. Alley’s message about the severity and urgency of the problem—I wrote an article on climate change that appeared as the cover story in the Winter 2015 edition of The Philadelphia Lawyer. I consider it the most important thing I have ever written.

Going into 2015, I had two goals.

First, continue the growth of my law firm. I work with a team of lawyers, paralegals and staff on litigation and trial matters for businesses and individuals. In our first year, we handled numerous important cases and achieved outstanding results for our clients. We also launched this website and took on multiple pro bono cases. I intend to continue to grow this firm.

Second, transform the campaign on climate change awareness in the legal community from a Philadelphia program to a national program. In early 2015, I recruited prominent lawyers to serve on the board of a new nonprofit, “A Call to the Bar: Lawyers for Common Sense on Climate Change.”

Our mission is enlist the support of lawyers and the legal community for action on climate change. Our website explains the problem and the solution. We also have an online petition and opportunities for other lawyers to become leaders on climate change. I invite you to check it out, get involved and sign our petition!

We are working on gaining the support of lawyers, law students, bar associations, and law schools across the country. The prototype is what we did in Philadelphia, including resolutions calling for action and programs featuring scientists and economists to educate about CO2 emissions as the cause of climate change and carbon pricing as the primary solution.

In February 2015, I sponsored a lunch for a group of lawyers to tell them about our new climate change campaign. I invited Dan Packel, a reporter who wrote the story that ran in Law360. That story led to calls from lawyers as far away as California offering support for A Call to the Bar.

I plan to spend much of my time in 2015 working on matters for my law firm clients and growing the business. But I also plan to spend substantial time working on A Call to the Bar.

Someday, hopefully soon, enough people will be aware of the problem that political support for the solution will make it happen, and then I can move on to another just cause while continuing to practice law. I hope that you can integrate the causes you are passionate about into your business model.