FLINT, Mich. — A Michigan man pleaded guilty Jan. 14 in federal court in Michigan to one count of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) when discharging 47.8 million gallons of landfill leachate in the city of Flint’s sewer system from an industrial wastewater treatment facility he owned.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nineteen states and the District of Columbia, three Colorado municipalities that have had a federal appeals court affirm remand of their climate change lawsuit against oil companies and a number of other groups filed amicus curiae briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 23, urging the high court to uphold the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling to uphold the remand of a climate change lawsuit brought by the mayor and City Council of Baltimore and sustain the appeals court’s decision to limit review of the ruling.
LOS ANGELES — Thirteen municipalities filed a renewed motion in federal court in California on Dec. 31 seeking preliminary approval of a $550 million class settlement with Monsanto Co. and its subsidiaries to resolve allegations over contamination stemming from products containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), arguing that the new settlement agreement remedies problems identified by a judge who denied approval of the settlement in November.
TACOMA, Wash. — Columbia Riverkeeper sued a metal fabricating company in federal court in Washington on Jan. 6, alleging that the company is in violation of two National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits because it is failing to monitor discharges of stormwater-containing pollutants such as zinc and copper that are reaching the Columbia River and that the company has failed to implement a stormwater pollution prevention program (SWPPP) that includes sufficient best management practices (BMPs) and that applies all known and reasonable methods of pollution prevention, control and treatment.
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should affirm a district court’s confirmation of a $25 million arbitration award entered against an excess liability insurer in an environmental contamination coverage dispute because the district court did not err in granting the insured’s motion to compel arbitration as the lower court properly construed the policy’s alternative dispute resolution provision, the insured says in a Jan. 5 appellee brief.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 8 granted the solicitor general’s requests for a divided argument and to participate in oral arguments on Jan. 19 as an amicus curiae for energy companies seeking reversal of a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that affirmed remand of a climate change lawsuit brought by the mayor and City Council of Baltimore.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a reply brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court Jan. 8, 21 foreign and domestic energy companies assert that the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred when limiting review of a ruling remanding a climate change lawsuit brought by the mayor and city council of Baltimore to the applicability of federal officer jurisdiction because Section 1447(d) of Title 28 of the U.S. Code plainly says that a full review remand orders is allowed.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 11 denied a petition for certiorari in a dispute over an Indian tribe’s jurisdiction to collect annual fees for storing a private company’s hazardous waste on the tribe’s land.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 8 granted the government of Guam’s petition seeking review of a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that found that the territory’s Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act suit seeking to recover $160 million it spent on cleaning up contamination from the Ordot Landfill Superfund site was barred by the three-year statute of limitations based on a 2004 consent decree the territory entered into with the federal government.
RICHMOND, Va. — A 2-1 Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 7 vacated a ruling dismissing an environmental firm’s challenge to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrative law judge’s (ALJ) decision refusing its request for $2.7 million for remediation work it performed at a Superfund site, finding that the agency’s denial was based on the firm’s failure to complete an obsolete form that has not been used for more than 25 years.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A number of oil companies asked the U.S. Supreme Court in petitions for writs of certiorari filed Dec. 30 to review rulings by the First and Ninth Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeal that affirmed decisions remanding lawsuits brought by the state of Rhode Island and three municipalities in California, respectively, over damages stemming from increased infrastructure costs resulting from climate change just weeks before oral arguments are scheduled on whether the Fourth Circuit erred when conducting limited review of a remand order in a similar suit.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A federal judge in New York on Dec. 30 granted in part motions to dismiss filed by individual companies in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and strict liability lawsuit brought by landowners who live near a now-defunct landfill and have allegedly sustained physical injuries, finding that the plaintiffs’ third amended complaint (TAC) failed to sufficiently allege how the companies contributed to contamination at the site and engaged in ultrahazardous activity.
MOBILE, Ala. — Olin Corp., BASF Corp. and the federal government on Dec. 17 entered into an agreement in federal court in Alabama in which the companies agreed to spend $13.4 million to remediate mercury and dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) contamination at adjacent sites they currently own and reimburse the government $500,000 in past response costs.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The mayor and city council of Baltimore told the U.S. Supreme Court in a response brief filed Dec. 16 that it should sustain a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling affirming remand of its climate change lawsuit against BP PLC and a number of other oil companies because allowing appeals courts to review remand orders based on all grounds for removal rather than the two exceptions provided under Section 1447(d) of Title 28 of the U.S. Code would encourage “jurisdictional gamesmanship.”
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge in Louisiana on Dec. 17 found the owners and operators of a wastewater facility liable under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) for a May 2015 oil spill in the Mississippi River and ordered the defendants to reimburse the government the $632,262.49 it paid a company to clean up the contamination from the spill.
LONDON — A Supreme Court of the United Kingdom panel on Nov. 27 dismissed Halliburton Co.’s appeal challenging the impartiality of an arbitrator who heard its dispute with an insurer in relation to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion but did not timely disclose appointments in two overlapping arbitrations, finding that while the arbitrator should have disclosed the other appointments, a lower court did not err in dismissing an application for his removal (Halliburton Co. v. Chubb Bermuda Insurance Ltd., No.  UKSC 48, U.K. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A 2-1 Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 15 denied a mining company’s request to rehear arguments in a dispute over whether the government was an operator of the Lava Cap Mine Superfund site under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act and, therefore, liable for some of the cleanup costs.
GREENVILLE, Miss. — A federal judge in Mississippi in Dec. 14 refused to reconsider the dismissal of a claim brought under the citizen suit provisions of the Clean Water Act (CWA) by property owners seeking remediation of a March 2015 toxic spill, finding that three U.S. Supreme Court rulings have not unequivocally overruled a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling that a claim for an ongoing violation cannot be pursued under act for releases from an oil spill.
HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut Appellate Court in an opinion officially released Dec. 15 found that a trial court erred in determining that excess policies implicated in an environmental contamination dispute will never attach based on the failure to exhaust primary policies because the trial court incorrectly determined the per-occurrence limits of the underlying primary policies (Continental Casualty Co., et al. v. Rohr Inc., et al., Nos. AC 41537, AC 41538, AC 42613, Conn. App., 2020 Conn. App. LEXIS 366).
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Dec. 10 awarded summary judgment to the federal government in a cost-recovery suit brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act against companies that manufactured aviation gas (avgas) at a site during World War II, finding that the government can pursue cost recovery under the statute and that there are not triable issues as to whether the costs it incurred were from cleanup activities that are consistent with the National Contingency Plan (NCP).