SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge in Utah on Sept. 15 awarded summary judgment to a uranium mining company after refusing to challenge the validity of a state agency’s findings that the company’s radon emissions were excessive and in violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) (Grand Canyon Trust v. Energy Fuel Resources [U.S.A.] Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-243, D. Utah, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150279).
BOISE, Idaho — A federal judge in Idaho on Sept. 15 ordered Atlanta Gold Corp. to pay $251,000 as a civil penalty for violating the Clean Water Act and pay $251,000 in sanctions for failing to comply with prior court orders requiring the company to limit the amount of arsenic and iron in discharges from its mining operations, finding that the company can find reasonable solutions to comply with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit (Idaho Conservation League, et al. v. Atlanta Gold Corporation, No. 11-cv-00161, D. Idaho, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150437).
SEATTLE — A federal judge in Idaho did not err when excluding a man’s evidence pertaining to his diminished capacity, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 13, holding that the storage of hazardous waste in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act is a crime of general intent (United States of America v. Max Spatig, No. 15-30322, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17800).
SEATTLE — Monsanto Co.’s counterclaim for unjust enrichment against the city of Seattle over polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the Lower Duwamish River is not futile, a federal judge in Washington ruled Sept. 6 in granting the defendant company’s motion to amend its answer and counterclaims (City of Seattle v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. C16-107RSL, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144382).
SALT LAKE CITY — An engineer can proffer testimony that Chevron Pipeline Co. (CPL) spent approximately $4.4 million to $5.6 million in unnecessary costs when responding to two oil spills in 2010, a federal judge in Utah ruled Sept. 7, finding that he is qualified and that the methodology underlying his opinion is reliable (Chevron Pipeline Company v. Pacificorp, No. 12-CV-287, D. Utah).
SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge in Utah on Sept. 6 granted a motion for partial summary judgment filed by Pacificorp, doing business as Rocky Mountain Power, that precludes Chevron Pipeline Co. (CPL) from obtaining a portion of a settlement it paid to homeowners affected by a 2010 oil spill, finding that such relief would require the judge to perform an “autopsy” of the settlement (Chevron Pipeline Company v. Pacificorp, No. 12-CV-287, D. Utah, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144260).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Sept. 5 suspended the upcoming trial date for a lawsuit accusing a scrap metal company of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA), agreeing with the defendants that the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ upcoming ruling in U.S. v. Robertson could alter the standard for what constitutes a navigable waterway of the United States (California Sportfishing Protection Alliance v. Chico Scrap Metal Inc., et al., No. 10-cv-01207-GEB-AC, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143342).
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — An environmental remediation company’s counterclaims against the owner of a gas station for breach of a fixed price remediation agreement (FPA) were dismissed by a federal judge in New York on Sept. 5 after the judge ruled that the claims were previously litigated during an arbitration proceeding (Plumbing Supply, LLC v. ExxonMobil Corp., et al., No. 14 CV 3674, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142747).
DES MOINES, Iowa — A federal judge in Iowa on Sept. 5 ruled that two tire companies are liable for $11 million under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) for selling buildings on a Superfund site in the state that were contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (United States of America v. Dico, Inc., et al., No. 10-cv-503, S.D. Iowa).
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 25 affirmed a district court’s dismissal of an insured’s complaint in an environmental contamination dispute after determining that the owned-property exclusion clearly precludes coverage for the cleanup of the environmental contamination (Taos Ski Valley Inc. v. Nova Casualty Co., No. 16-2118, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16254).
PITTSBURGH — Two environmental groups on Aug. 15 filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania seeking a summary judgment ruling against PPG Industries Inc., arguing that it is liable under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for groundwater contamination from PPG’s glass-manufacturing operation (PennEnvironment, et al. v. PPG Industries Inc., et al., No. 12-342, W.D. Pa.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8683).
BOSTON — Monsanto Co. on Aug. 22 filed a brief in the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that a district court properly ruled that a town and school district failed to meet their burden of proof regarding alleged contamination from polychlorinatedbiphenyls (PCBs) that were manufactured by the company and are present in plasticizers that were used in the construction of a school building (Town of Westport, et al. v. Monsanto Company, No. 17-1461, 1st Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A 2-1 panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 28 affirmed a federal judge in California’s ruling approving a settlement between two environmental groups and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that extended the deadline for which the agency must make designations on an area’s emissions of sulfur dioxide, holding that the extension of the deadline does not adversely impact claims brought by states saying the agency’s delay in making those decisions is harmful (Sierra Club, et al. v. North Dakota, et al., No. 15-15894, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16400).
SAN DIEGO — Parties in a dispute over a permit that allowed an energy company to store spent nuclear waste at the site of a decommissioned power plant in California on Aug. 25 agreed to resolve the lawsuit in a stipulation in California state court, wherein the owner of the facility agreed to move the spent nuclear fuel for off-site storage (Citizens Oversight Inc., et al. v. California Coastal Commission, et al., No. 37-2015-00037137-CU-WM-CTL, Calif. Super., San Diego Co.).
NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 25 denied a request from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeking to transfer to a petition challenging its decision to limit emissions of sulfur dioxide from four areas in Texas to the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, holding that the decision was only regionally applicable (State of Texas, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 17-60088, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16329).
CAMDEN, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 17 partially denied two insurers’ motions for summary judgment on the applicability of their policies’ pollution exclusions after determining that a question of fact exists as to whether the leakage of heating oil from an underground storage tank constitutes “traditional environmental pollution” that is precluded under the exclusion (Nimrod Benjamin, et al., v. State Farm Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-4123, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131078).
SALEM, Ore. — A group of insurers is not permitted to seek contribution from insurers that settled claims with the insured for environmental contamination cleanup costs because the contribution action is barred pursuant to amendments issued in 2013 to the Oregon Environmental Cleanup Assistance Act, the Oregon Court of Appeals said Aug. 16 in affirming a trial court’s dismissal of the suit (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London, et al. v. Massachusetts Bonding and Insurance Co., et al., No. A156649, Ore. App., 2017 Ore. App. LEXIS 983).
TRENTON, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on Aug. 16 granted in part NL Industries Inc.’s motion to exclude testimony from two experts for an environmental group accusing the company of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), finding that portions of each expert’s testimony was unreliable (Raritan Baykeeper Inc., et al. v. NL Industries Inc., et al., No. 09-4117, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131754).
CINCINNATI — A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 17 affirmed a federal judge in Tennessee’s ruling awarding damages to a contractor that helped remediate the site of the Manhattan Project but found that the judge should recalculate the amount of interest owed to the contractor under the Tennessee Prompt Pay Act (Eagle Supply and Manufacturing, L.P. v. Bechtel Jacobs Company, LLC, No. 16-6428, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 15498).
PRESCOTT, Ariz. — A federal judge in Arizona on Aug. 15 ruled that the federal government’s fee title ownership of land in the Navajo Reservation that houses 19 uranium mines makes it an owner under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (El Paso Natural Gas Company LLC v. United States, No. CV-14-08165-PCT-DGC, D. Ariz., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129696).