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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.