CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Rahm Manuel announced Nov. 20 that the city filed a notice of intent to sue U.S. Steel for contamination to drinking water as a result of two spills from the company’s Portage, Ind., facility that reached Lake Michigan earlier this year.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Environmental Protection Agency must respond to Sierra Club’s petition asking the agency to object to a proposed operating permit for a power plant in Tennessee by Jan. 31, a federal judge in the District of Columbia ruled Nov. 17 in granting the group’s motion for summary judgment (Sierra Club v. Scott Pruitt, No. 17-906, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190374).
AKRON, Ohio— Dover Chemical Corp. on Nov. 7 entered into an agreement with the government in Ohio federal court to conduct $7.4 million in remedial costs to clean up contamination at a Superfund site in the state pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (United States of America v. Dover Chemical Corp., No. 17-cv-2335, N.D. Ohio).
MIAMI — A federal judge in Florida on Nov. 17 adopted a magistrate judge’s recommendation to deny dismissal of a lawsuit brought by three environmental groups over discharges from a nuclear power plant’s facility, holding that the groups have standing to bring their suit under the Clean Water Act (CWA) (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, et al. v. Florida Power & Light Company, No. 16-23017-CIV-GAYLES/OTAZA-REYES, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190504).
AMHERST, S.D. — TransCanada Corp. announced Nov. 16 that it shut down its Keystone pipeline after it experienced a leak in South Dakota that resulted in an oil spill of 210,000 gallons, or 5,000 barrels, of oil.
DAYTON, Ohio — A federal judge in Ohio on Nov. 15 recommended denying a defendant company’s motion to dismiss a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit on the ground that discovery is necessary to determine if the company is “dead and buried” and thus subject to liability under the statute (Garrett Day, LLC v. International Paper Company, Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-00036, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188568).
NEW YORK — The federal judge in New York presiding over litigation stemming from groundwater contamination caused by the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) on Nov. 13 recommended remanding the Orange County Water District’s (OCWD) lawsuit to California federal court, finding that all consolidated pretrial proceedings in the suit have been completed (In re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) Products liability Litigation, MDL 1358, Orange County Water District v. Unocal, et al., No. 04 Civ. 4968, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187458).
NEW ORLEANS— A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 7 affirmed a federal judge in Louisiana’s ruling requiring a commercial barge company to reimburse the government for $20 million in cleanup costs it incurred following a July 2008 oil spill that occurred in the Mississippi River, finding that the defendant company was not entitled to a defense under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) (United States of America v. American Commercial Lines, LLC, No. 16-31150, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 22260).
BATON ROUGE, La. — A federal magistrate judge in Louisiana on Nov. 3 denied Louisiana Generating LLC’s motion for a more definite statement, finding that two nonprofit energy cooperative corporations sufficiently stated claims that the defendant company may have violated power supply and service agreements by charging them for costs associated with the remediation of environmental conditions at the Big Cajun II generating plant (Washington-St. Tammany Electric Cooperative, Inc., et al. v. Louisiana Generating, LLC, No. 17-405-JJB-RLB, M.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182387).
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Nov. 2 granted in part a motion to dismiss filed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ruling that three environmental groups cannot claim that the agency failed to follow a nondiscretionary duty under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to require a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for dischargers of storm water runoff into three watersheds despite recognizing that the discharges negatively affect water quality (Los Angeles Waterkeeper v. Scott Pruitt, No. 17-CV-3454-SVW, C.D. Calif.).
NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey judge on Oct. 16 denied a motion for summary judgment filed by a number of insurers involved in an environmental contamination coverage dispute after determining that at least two occurrences contributed to the contamination of a New Jersey river (Cooper Industries LLC v. Employers Insurance of Wausau et al., No. L-9284-11, N.J. Super., Essex Co., Law Div.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A federal magistrate judge in Connecticut on Nov. 2 ordered the city of Hartford and the Hartford Board of Education to turn over documents related to presentations that their expert performed regarding polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), finding that the information was not protected from disclosure by the work product doctrine (City of Hartford, et al. v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15cv1544, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181651).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s (RCRA) anti-duplication provision does not preclude the statute’s application to discharges of storm water from an energy company that also allegedly violate the Clean Water Act (CWA), a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 2 (Ecological Rights Foundation v. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, No. 15-15424, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 21597).
ROANOKE, Va. — A lumber company’s attempt to recover response costs from a mining company that allegedly disposed of limestone mining tailings that contain arsenic and lead was dismissed by a federal judge in Virginia on Oct. 31 after she found that the defendant company was not subject to arranger liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (Dixon Lumber Co., Inc. v. Austinville Limestone Co., Inc., No. 16-cv-00130, W.D. Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179852).
DENVER — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Oct. 31 announced that the federal government, state of Colorado and PDC Energy Inc. reached an agreement in Colorado federal court, wherein the company would spend $22.2 million to resolve allegations that its emissions contained excessive levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that violated the Clean Air Act (United States of America, et al. v. PDC Energy, Inc., No. 17-1552, D. Colo.).
ATLANTA — A Georgia appeals panel on Oct. 31 reversed a trial judge’s ruling that the predecessors of a company that sold a contaminated site to U.S. Steel Corp. in 1968 should be required to provide indemnification for remediation costs that resulted from U.S. Steel’s negligence, finding that the terms of the agreement do not hold the seller liable for environmental damages that took place after the sale (Viad Corp. v. United States Steel Corporation, No. A17A0937, Ga. App., 5th Div., 2017 Ga. App. LEXIS 541).
WILMINGTON, N.C. — A county in North Carolina on Oct. 31 sued DowDuPont Inc., seeking an unspecified amount of punitive damages for allegedly contaminating the local groundwater supply by dumping toxic substances into the Cape Fear River while “assuring the EPA and state agencies that they were doing no such thing” (Brunswick County, North Carolina v. DowDuPont Inc., et al., No. 17-209, E.D. N.C.).
NEWARK, N.J. — The purchaser of a site that formerly housed a landfill cannot seek to recover nearly $40,000 under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Oct. 16, finding that laboratory costs the plaintiff company spent to investigate the presence of contamination are not recoverable under the statutes (Strategic Environmental Partners, LLC v. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, et al., No. 12-3252, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171156).
NEW ORLEANS — The federal judge in Louisiana presiding over lawsuits stemming from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that followed the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20, 2010, on Oct. 20 dismissed with prejudice 25 cases after finding that the suits were settled or that the plaintiff released their claims after receiving payments from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, MDL 2179, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173692).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The state of North Dakota on Oct. 26 filed a notice of supplemental authority in District of Columbia federal court contending that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has issued documents that “represent a significant change” regarding litigation pertaining to the nondiscretionary duty under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to review and, if necessary, revise regulations for wastes associated with the exploration, development or production of crude oil, natural gas or geothermal energy (Environmental Integrity Project, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, No. 17-5010, D.C. Cir.).