Mealey's Pollution Liability

  • 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.

  • August 10, 2021

    Coke Removes Suit Alleging Plastic Recycling Misrepresentations To Federal Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A nonprofit group’s suit accusing The Coca-Cola Co. of misrepresenting its efforts to reduce the huge amount of plastic it produces to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers will proceed in federal court.  The beverage giant removed the action to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on July 16.

  • August 09, 2021

    MTBE MDL Judge Lets Claims Under Pennsylvania Law Proceed, Dismisses Holding Company

    NEW YORK — The New York federal judge presiding over the methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) multidistrict litigation on Aug. 2 allowed claims against Pennsylvania gas station owners and operators under the state’s Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act (STSP) and related to insurance coverage to continue.  But the judge agreed to dismiss all claims against a holding company defendant, concluding that it could not be held liable for a subsidiary’s conduct.

  • August 09, 2021

    Environmental Contamination Suit To Remain In Federal Court, Judge Says

    INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana federal judge on Aug. 4 denied a motion to remand an environmental coverage suit after determining that complete diversity of citizenship exists because the insured, named as a defendant, must be realigned as a plaintiff in the suit filed against its insurers by a third party seeking indemnification under the insured’s policies.

  • August 09, 2021

    Navajo Nation, New Mexico Settle Claims Against Mining Companies Over Blowout

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Mining companies have agreed to pay $21 million — including $10 million to the Navajo Nation — to settle claims for response costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) for the 2015 Gold King Mine explosion and mine drainage spill, according to a consent decree the parties filed July 30 in New Mexico federal court.

  • August 06, 2021

    English Law Bid For Attorney Fees From Reinsurer Denied In Pollution Claims Suit

    NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on Aug. 5 denied an umbrella insurer’s motion seeking almost $400,000 in attorney fees and costs against an English reinsurer under an English rule on attorney costs, adopting in its entirety a magistrate judge’s report that found the law does not apply to a dispute over responsibility for an environmental claims settlement because it “is procedural under the circumstances in this case.”

  • August 05, 2021

    Government Must Pay $1.6 Million In Avgas Remediation Costs, Federal Circuit Affirms

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 4 affirmed a lower court decision holding the federal government liable for more than $1.6 million in remediation costs incurred from 2015 to 2019 in relation to four oil companies’ production of aviation gasoline (avgas) in California during World War II.  The appeals court rejected the federal government’s arguments that, among other things, the oil companies’ damage claims were barred by res judicata in the long-running litigation.

  • August 04, 2021

    States Seek To Intervene In Youths’ Climate Change Suit Against Federal Government

    EUGENE, Ore. — An Oregon federal court is set to decide whether to let 17 states intervene in an action brought by youths alleging that the federal government knew about the association between burning fossil fuels and climate change but failed to take the proper actions.  In their July 20 reply brief, the states argue that because they seek only to contest the court’s jurisdiction, they may intervene without waiving their sovereign immunity.

  • August 04, 2021

    9th Circuit Upholds FERC’s Refusal To Let Hydroelectric Project Opponent Intervene

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) did not abuse its discretion in refusing to let the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) intervene in post-licensing proceedings to extend the deadline to commence construction of a hydroelectric storage facility on an old mine site near Joshua Tree National Park, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held July 28.

  • August 02, 2021

    9th Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Suit Over Environmental Impact Of Immigration

    PASADENA, Calif. — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel affirmed on July 19 a lower court’s orders dismissing environmental groups’ claims that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by failing to consider the environmental impact of various immigration programs and policies.

  • August 02, 2021

    Alabama High Court Affirms Dismissal Of Convicted Coal Executive’s Fraud Claims

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed on July 23 the dismissal of claims brought by a former coal company executive who was convicted of bribery as part of a campaign to keep the company from being named a potentially responsible party (PRP) in the estimated $100 million cleanup of a contaminated site.  The state high court said the suit was properly dismissed for failure to state a claim under the Alabama Legal Services Liability Act (ALSLA).

  • August 02, 2021

    Solar Power Providers Sue Federal Government Over Off-Shore Wind Farm Approval

    BOSTON — Solar energy providers and advocates sued the federal government on July 18 to vacate the approval of a major wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts, arguing that the approval process failed to address environmental issues related to the untested wind turbines.  The increasing number of powerful hurricanes due to climate change could cause a catastrophic release of the oil from damaged wind turbine generators, they warn.

  • August 02, 2021

    Federal Government Must Pay Fine For Violating State Boiler Permit, 4th Circuit Says

    RICHMOND, Va. — The Clean Air Act (CAA) unambiguously waives the federal government’s sovereign immunity regarding all civil penalties assessed pursuant to state air pollution law, including punitive penalties, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded July 29.  It partially reversed and remanded a lower court ruling in a dispute between the state of North Carolina and the federal government over payment of an $8,000 fine for violating a permit issued by the state for a federal facility’s coal-fired steam boilers.

  • July 30, 2021

    Residents’ Challenge To EPA’s Ozone Reduction Final Rule Rejected By 9th Circuit

    PHOENIX — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 28 rejected three Arizona residents’ challenge to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency final rule holding that the state had achieved its ozone reduction requirements under the Clean Air Act (CAA), despite exceeding federal air quality standards due to a California wildfire.

  • July 28, 2021

    Insurer Asserts Affirmative Defenses For Coverage Of Environmental Claim

    NEWARK, N.J. — In a July 14 answer to an amended complaint filed in New Jersey federal court about environmental investigation and remediation at an insured property, an insurer asserts numerous affirmative defenses including that the insured “is barred from bringing a claim against the defendant by virtue of being made whole through the voluntary settlement of a previous matter.”

  • July 26, 2021

    Exxon, Affiliate To Pay $25M To Remediate MTBE Contamination In Puerto Rico

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Exxon Mobil Corp. and an affiliate company on July 21 agreed to pay the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico $25 million to settle claims related to the remediation of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) contamination in groundwater.

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