Mealey's Pollution Liability

  • December 28, 2021

    Dispute Over 2004 Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill Ends In Consent Decree

    NEW ORLEANS — The federal government on Dec. 22 filed notice with a Louisiana federal court of the lodging of a consent decree resolving multiple lawsuits flowing from the longest-running oil spill in U.S. history.

  • December 23, 2021

    Fees Awarded For Discovery Abuses In CERCLA Litigation

    LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A federal magistrate judge in New Mexico on Dec. 15 in a case filed pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) awarded $79,491.41 in attorney fees and costs in connection with a linen business’s failure to timely supplement its disclosures and discovery responses.

  • December 23, 2021

    Panel: PCB Testing Provision Is Guidance, Not Rulemaking

    TACOMA, Wash. — The Division II Washington Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 14 that the addition in July 2018 to the state’s Water Quality Program Permit Writer’s Manual of a provision allowing the use of highly sensitive methods of testing for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) is guidance not subject to the rulemaking requirements of the Washington Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

  • December 20, 2021

    Environmental Groups Link Ski And Golf Resort To Algae Blooms

    BUTTE, Mont. — Two conservation associations on Dec. 9 accused a members-only ski and golf resort of polluting the Gallatin River with nitrogen without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit in a complaint filed in Montana federal court.

  • December 20, 2021

    Virginia Federal Judge Agrees: Coal Companies Violated Consent Decree

    ROANOKE, Va. — A motion by the U.S. government to compel compliance by coal companies with a five-year-old consent decree was granted Dec. 7 by a federal judge in Virginia, who ordered several defendants to pay millions in past-due penalties within 30 days and to complete additional stabilization work required by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

  • December 20, 2021

    RCRA, Punitive Damages Claims In CERCLA Row Will Proceed In California

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — In a Dec. 16 ruling, a federal judge in California rejected efforts by three defendants to obtain dismissal of claims under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by Union Pacific Railroad Co. leveled in connection with contamination by an underground storage tank.

  • December 20, 2021

    Superseding Opinion Issued In Challenge To Idaho NPDES CAFO Permit

    SAN FRANCISCO — In a ruling issued Dec. 16, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals withdrew a September opinion and replaced it with a superseding opinion following a petition for rehearing by the Environmental Protection Agency in a dispute over a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in Idaho.

  • December 16, 2021

    Oregon Panel: Oyster Farm Missed Window To Challenge Pollutant Limits

    SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Court of Appeals on Dec. 8 declined to reach assertions that the fecal coliform bacteria levels permitted in the total maximum daily load (TMDL) calculation for the Tillamook Bay run afoul of federal law, finding instead that an oyster farmer’s challenge to those calculations was correctly rejected as untimely.

  • December 15, 2021

    Negligence, Breach Of Contract Claims Over Penta Spill To Proceed

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — In a Dec. 10 holding, a federal judge in Alabama denied a motion for summary judgment by an industrial cleaning and environmental services company accused of negligence and breach of contract in connection with its spill of up to 2,000 gallons of water contaminated with pentachlorophenol (penta).

  • December 08, 2021

    New York Federal Judge Partially Upholds Lake Contamination Cost Recovery Claims

    SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A New York federal judge on Dec. 7 allowed a plaintiff’s cost recovery and contribution claims under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act and New York Navigation Law to proceed against a petrochemical company in a dispute over contamination in and around an upstate lake.  The judge dismissed contribution claims under the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) and state common law.

  • December 08, 2021

    Youths Cite High Court Ruling In Bid To Amend Climate Change Suit Against Government

    EUGENE, Ore. — Twenty-one youths and others asked an Oregon federal court on Nov. 29 to take note of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Mississippi v. Tennessee, that they say supports their bid to amend their complaint alleging that the federal government’s failure to enact policies against climate change violated their constitutional due process rights.

  • December 06, 2021

    High Court Won’t Review Petition To Revive Suit Over Spent Nuclear Fuel Handling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 6 declined to review an environmental group’s petition to reinstate its action to halt decommissioning activities at a nuclear power plant for failure to safely handle spent nuclear fuel (SNF).  The high court let stand a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that federal district courts have no jurisdiction over certain claims asserted by a private actor against private party Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensees.

  • December 03, 2021

    8th Circuit Refuses To Revisit Rulings In Coal-Fired Power Plant Permit Dispute

    ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 30 refused to revisit its rulings affirming a lower court’s conclusion 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 vacating an injunction against a second facility against which no CAA violations had been alleged.  Both the plant operator and the federal government sought a rehearing.

  • December 03, 2021

    Barge Owner Agrees To Pay $15.3 Million To Settle Federal, Texas Oil Spill Claims

    GALVESTON, Texas — The owner of an oil barge that dumped nearly 170,000 gallons of oil into a Texas shipping channel when it hit a cargo ship agreed Nov. 30 to pay $15.3 million in natural resource damages to settle federal litigation filed by the federal government and state of Texas.

  • December 01, 2021

    EPA Fuel Standards For Certain Trucks Do Not Apply To Trailers, D.C. Circuit Says

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A final rule on greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency standards for medium- or heavy-duty vehicles does not give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the authority to regulate trailers pulled by tractors because trailers are not self-propelled, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded Nov. 12.  It therefore vacated all portions of the rule that apply to trailers.

  • December 01, 2021

    Federal Judge Won’t Order Railyard Owner To Leave West Virginia Cleanup Program

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In a dispute over alleged migration of contamination from a railyard site, a West Virginia federal judge on Nov. 23 denied an adjacent property owner’s request for an emergency order directing the railyard owner to withdraw the site from the state’s voluntary remediation program.

  • November 30, 2021

    W.Va. Judge Says 3 Exclusions Do Not Bar Coverage For Chlorine Gas Damages

    MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — In four separate rulings, a West Virginia judge on Nov. 19 determined that policy exclusions for wear and tear, faulty workmanship and pollution do not bar coverage for damages to an insured manufacturing plant caused by the rupture of a railroad tank car carrying liquefied chlorine.

  • November 30, 2021

    No Coverage Owed For Plants Damaged By Herbicide, Ohio Appeals Panel Says

    CANTON, Ohio — The Fifth District Ohio Court of Appeals on Nov. 15 affirmed a trial court’s ruling that an insurer owes no coverage for plants damaged by a herbicide because the insured failed to file suit against the insurer within a year of discovering the damage as required by the policy.

  • November 29, 2021

    Insured Says Insurer Breached Contract, Acted In Bad Faith By Refusing To Pay More

    RIVERSIDE, Calif. — An insurer’s refusal to pay more than a $9 million per-occurrence limit for environmental contamination costs incurred by an insured constitutes a breach of contract and bad faith, the insured alleges in a Nov. 22 complaint filed in California federal court.

  • November 29, 2021

    English Reinsurer Argues Policy Period, Late Notice Defense To 2nd Circuit

    NEW YORK — A federal court in New York “misconstrued” an English House of Lords ruling regarding “back-to-back” presumption in a dispute over an environmental claims settlement, an English reinsurer argues in its Nov. 22 appellant brief before the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking reversal of summary judgment on the issue of allocation; the reinsurer also argues that questions of fact should have precluded summary judgment dismissing its late notice defense.

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