Mealey's Pollution Liability

  • September 07, 2021

    7th Circuit Remands Groundwater Contamination Suit To Revisit Apportionment Ruling

    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.

  • September 01, 2021

    States’ Suit Over Greenhouse Gas Calculations Thrown Out By Missouri Federal Judge

    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.

  • September 01, 2021

    Trust’s CERCLA Claims Against 39 Companies Over GM Cleanup Reinstated By 2nd Circuit

    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.

  • September 01, 2021

    Pollution Exclusion Bars Coverage For Underlying Toxic Exposure Lawsuit

    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.

  • September 01, 2021

    Agencies’ Remand Motion Granted By Federal Judge In Tribes’ Clean Water Rules Suit

    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Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in an action brought by Native American tribes seeking to reinstate the repealed 2015 Clean Water Rule and vacate a navigable waters rule.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.

  • August 27, 2021

    Federal Judge Dismisses In Part Claims In Dispute Over Contaminated Park Site

    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.

  • August 25, 2021

    Excess Policy Does Not Attach For All Contaminated Sites At Issue, Panel Says

    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.

  • August 24, 2021

    FCC Approval Of SpaceX Satellites Ignores Environmental Impacts, Challengers Say

    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.

  • August 24, 2021

    No Coverage Due For Contamination Under Pollution Exclusion, Insurer Says

    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.

  • August 24, 2021

    8th Circuit Partially Reverses Permit Ruling Against Coal-Fired Power Plant Operator

    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.

  • August 23, 2021

    EPA Has Held Up Decision On PVC Hazard Classification For 7 Years, Group Argues

    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.

  • August 23, 2021

    Pollution Exclusion Bars Coverage For Underlying Stormwater Runoff Suit

    DALLAS — No coverage is afforded for an underlying suit filed against an insured and alleging that the insured’s junkyard operations polluted stormwater runoff because the policies’ pollution exclusion bars coverage for the underlying allegations, a Texas federal judge said Aug. 20.

  • August 20, 2021

    Judge: Federal Approval Of Arctic Fracking Project Was ‘Arbitrary And Capricious’

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A federal judge in Alaska on Aug. 18 vacated the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) approval of a hydraulic fracturing development project in the National Petroleum Reserve on Alaska’s North Slope, ruling that the BLM’s analysis of the environmental impact was “arbitrary and capricious” and concluding that the agency acted “contrary to law” with regard to the conclusions it made concerning oil and gas extraction.

  • August 18, 2021

    7th Circuit Affirms Ruling For Company In Homeowners’ TCE Contamination Suit

    CHICAGO — A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 16 affirmed a trial court’s ruling in favor of a company responsible for cleaning up trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination of an Indiana city’s groundwater.  The panel concluded that homeowners who sued under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) improperly relied on an unenforceable U.S Environmental Protection Agency memorandum and misinterpreted the statute.

  • August 17, 2021

    Insurers Failed To Show Policies Included Pollution Exclusions, Judge Says

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina state business court judge on Aug. 4 denied motions for summary judgment filed by two insurers in an environmental contamination coverage dispute after determining that neither of the insurers offered sufficient evidence proving that their policies included pollution exclusions.

  • August 16, 2021

    Pollution Exclusions Bar Coverage For Environmental Contamination Suit

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Missouri judge on Aug. 11 granted summary judgment in favor of a number of insurers after determining that under the applicable Missouri law, the policies’ pollution exclusions bar coverage for an underlying environmental contamination lawsuit filed against an insured.

  • August 16, 2021

    Property Company Sues Manufacturers For Soil, Groundwater Contamination

    MILWAUKEE — A property management company on Aug. 5 filed a second amended complaint against a group of chemical manufacturers in Wisconsin federal court seeking injunctive relief requiring them to remediate groundwater and soil contamination under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

  • August 11, 2021

    California Federal Judge Orders EPA To Issue Delayed Oil Spill Plan Update In 2023

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on Aug. 9 ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to issue by the end of May 2023 a final rule that updates the Clean Water Act plan for the cleanup of oil and hazardous substances following an oil spill.  The judge sided with four environmental groups and two activists who sued the EPA, holding that the agency’s six-year delay was unreasonable.

  • August 10, 2021

    Insurer Says Total Pollution Exclusion Bars Coverage For Polluted Water Suit

    ROME, Ga. — No coverage is afforded for a suit alleging that an insured’s operations intentionally caused waterways and drinking water to become polluted because the policies’ total pollution exclusion bars coverage, an insurer asserts in an Aug. 1 complaint filed in Georgia federal court.

  • August 10, 2021

    Federal Judge Dismisses Racial Bias Claims Against City Over ‘Mountain’ Of Shingles

    DALLAS — A Texas federal judge on Aug. 4 dismissed a woman’s claim accusing the city of Dallas of racially discriminating against her by allowing a recycler to illegally dump a huge pile of shingles, debris and waste in a landfill, known as “Shingle Mountain,” in a predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhood.

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