One reason environmental disputes are so complex is that there is no uniform law on the subject. Lawmakers in Sacramento and Washington routinely change the laws based on the direction of the political wind. Bureaucratic rulemakers do much the same thing. Only a highly experienced attorney can sort through the shifting landscape.
Generally, yes. Out of court settlements benefit everyone, especially victims. Court battles are very expensive, in terms of time and treasure. And the outcome is never certain. Out of court settlements save time and money, and they give victims more control over the outcome. But some companies eschew these benefits and fight environmental law claims tooth and nail.