LOS ANGELES — A jury in California federal court on Sept. 8 awarded a city $48,128,378 in damages from a chemical company for contaminating the municipal water supply of the city of Pomona, Calif., with perchlorate.
RICHMOND, Va. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Sept. 8 that it plans to issue a new Clean Water Act rule to reduce wastewater pollution from meat and poultry slaughterhouses. On the same day, the EPA disclosed its rule-making intentions in a joint status report in a suit filed in the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals challenging the agency’s previous refusal to update slaughterhouse pollution standards.
VICTORIA, Texas — A petrochemical manufacturer agreed Sept. 13 to pay $2.85 million in civil penalties to settle a Clean Air Act (CAA) suit brought by the federal government after a series of fires, explosions and other accidents released a variety of hazardous chemicals into the air and injured workers. Under the consent decree filed in a Texas federal court, the company admitted no liability to the federal government.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 9 refused industry intervenors’ request to revisit its ruling that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency exceeded its authority in issuing a 2019 final rule on fuel volatility that included a waiver for fuel blends containing up to 15% ethanol sold during the summer months.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A state agency erred in holding that it had no jurisdiction over a natural gas leak because it previously determined that the leak did not constitute “waste,” the Alaska Supreme Court concluded Sept. 3. It also improperly denied an individual’s request for a hearing on the matter, the state high court said in reversing and remanding the action.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Four petitions for writs of certiorari filed in the U.S. Supreme Court by 20 states and two mining companies have been fully briefed on the issue of whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency misconstrued the Clean Air Act (CAA) when it adopted the Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE Rule) in 2019 to regulate power plants’ greenhouse gases emissions. The briefs are scheduled to be distributed to the justices at a Sept. 27 conference.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency permissibly declined to adopt a more lenient standard for the testing of residential wood-burning heaters’ emissions levels by labs other than the certifying lab under the Clean Air Act (CAA), a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel concluded Aug. 27 in refusing to grant an industry association’s petition for review of a 2015 agency rule.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge on Aug. 19 refused to dismiss in part three oil companies’ suit seeking $65 million for environmental response costs incurred in producing aviation gasoline (avgas) for the federal government during World War II, concluding that a release agreement did not bar future claims that were “unknown and unknowable” at the time of signing. He additionally ruled that the court has jurisdiction to hear the dispute.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 16 ignored the Environmental Protection Agency’s reversal in a Clean Water Act (CWA) enforcement action and said that a federal district court properly granted the agency summary judgment against Idaho property owners who claimed that the CWA did not apply to wetlands on a property they own.
CHICAGO — The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 3 vacated and remanded in part a lower court’s threshold determination that liability for remediating groundwater contamination and vapor intrusion can be apportioned under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act in a dispute over among current and former owners of a manufacturing site in Indianapolis.
ST. LOUIS — Thirteen states lack standing to challenge an executive order provision that directs federal agencies to calculate the “social costs” of greenhouse gas emissions because they were unable to show any actual or imminent injury, a federal judge in Missouri held Aug. 31 in dismissing the states’ action against the Biden administration.
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 18 vacated a lower court’s dismissal of CERCLA claims against 39 companies brought by a trust and related company charged with cleaning up pollution around General Motors’ (GM) properties in the wake of the automaker’s bankruptcy. The appeals court also held that the trust’s trustee must be substituted as the plaintiff on remand.
ST. LOUIS — An insurer has no duty to defend an insured city against an underlying lawsuit seeking damages as a result of an individual’s exposure to pollutants on city property because the policies’ pollution exclusion clearly bars coverage, a Missouri federal magistrate judge said Aug. 30 in granting the insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings.
TUCSON, Ariz. — An Arizona federal judge on Aug. 30 granted a voluntary motion for remand filed by defendants U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in an action brought by Native American tribes seeking to reinstate the repealed 2015 Clean Water Rule and vacate a navigable waters rule. The judge also ordered that, upon remand, the Trump-era rules in place be vacated.
NEWARK, N.J. — In opinions issued Aug. 18 and 17 in consolidated actions over the use of contaminated fill material in a public park project, a New Jersey federal judge dismissed a breach of contract claim against a county and a construction company’s counterclaims for cost recovery and contribution. The judge let additional claims proceed, noting that questions remain about whether the former owner of the property knew that two underground storage tanks were on the site.
SEATTLE — A Washington appellate court on Aug. 23 determined that an insured seeking coverage for environmental contamination liabilities failed to prove than an underlying policy was exhausted and further said that the insurer’s excess coverage does not attach to all the environmentally contaminated sites because the limits of the underlying policies were not exhausted as to all of the sites at issue.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A communications company and an environmental group have asked a federal appeals court to vacate a Federal Communications Commission order allowing Elon Musk’s SpaceX company to deploy nearly 3,000 low-orbiting satellites in the next 15 years, arguing that the FCC violated federal law by failing to consider the project’s environmental ramifications. An amicus curiae brief filed Aug. 13 by an astronomer concerned about the project’s light pollution followed the Aug. 11 appellants’ brief.
URBANA, Ill. — No coverage is afforded for water contamination and environmental contamination caused by the rupture of a gasoline pipeline by an insured who was completing work on a farm because a pollution exclusion contained in a commercial general liability policy and an umbrella policy applies as a bar to coverage, an insurer asserts in an Aug. 13 complaint filed in Illinois federal court.
ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 20 affirmed a lower court’s ruling that a Missouri coal-fired power plant operator violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) by making major modifications to units at a facility without a permit and upheld the injunction imposed. But it reversed the injunction against a second facility against which no CAA violations had been alleged.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has illegally delayed issuing a response for nearly seven years to a nonprofit organization’s request to classify discarded polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a commonly used plastic, as a hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), a nonprofit organization argues to a federal appeals court in an Aug. 19 complaint.