COLUMBUS, Ohio — A federal judge in Ohio on Aug. 11 overruled a motion to exclude two expert defense witnesses and a motion to strike the report and testimony of a plaintiffs expert in a long-running groundwater contamination case, ruling that the testimony is admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence. Moreover, the judge said the experts’ conclusions can be cross-examined by the parties’ respective attorneys.
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — In a second case challenging two U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) revisions of land management plans in Montana and Wyoming, a federal judge on Aug. 3 granted several environmentalist groups summary judgement and denied BLM’s motion to remand, finding that BLM, when making its revisions, failed to consider the downstream effects of fossil fuel burning and alternative plans that wouldn’t expand coal development.
BANGOR, Maine — A federal judge in Maine on Aug. 4 conditionally approved a consent decree between a citizen group and a manufacturing company for remediation of the company’s contamination of the Penobscot River with mercury but denied the company’s motion for an order barring all future claims, finding that the company does not need further legal protection.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A federal judge in Alabama on Aug. 10 signed off on a consent decree between an environmental group and the owner of a former underground mine that stands accused of discharging contaminated groundwater into the Black Warrior River.
ST. LOUIS — An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 5 affirmed a trial court’s finding that two companies do not have standing to intervene to oppose an amended consent decree governing the cleanup of a neighboring property because the companies cannot show that the new consent decree could be linked to their alleged injury that certain hazardous chemicals were migrating from the neighboring property onto their property.
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — A federal magistrate judge on July 27 recommended that the United States and U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) motion to dismiss third-party claims brought against them under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act be denied because, despite direct references to CERCLA, a cleanup agreement between a New York state agency and a third-party plaintiff only released state law liability.
LOS ANGELES — In a July 29 motion filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, attorneys representing two classes injured in a 2015 oil spill maintain that they are entitled to $73.6 million in fees in connection with a $230 million settlement announced in May.
MUSKOGEE, Okla. — A federal judge in Oklahoma on July 27 said that under the terms of a plaintiff’s settlement with state and federal environmental regulators, the plaintiff may not seek cost recovery under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act against a subsequent property owner.
SAN FRANCISCO — Stanford University on July 27 filed a motion for determination of good faith settlement in a federal court in California to resolve Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act claims with a third-party defendant company after hazardous waste was discovered on a California property Stanford leased to the third-party defendant’s predecessor in interest and another company.
DENVER — The United States, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, on July 25 filed a notice of lodging of consent decree, concurrently with a complaint, imposing a civil penalty of $3.25 million on a natural gas processor in Colorado who, according to EPA investigations, failed to maintain its equipment, causing the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that potentially contributed to dangerous levels of ground-level ozone in the Denver area.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 4 disagreed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that the California Water Resources Control Board coordinated with applicants for three hydroelectric projects to reset the state’s one-year period to review requests for water quality certifications.
MIAMI — A Florida Native American tribe filed a federal complaint on Aug. 4 challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of having the state issue permits for the discharge of dredged or fill material into certain Florida waters, saying the action weakens the tribe’s sovereignty “by subjecting more than 200,000 acres of Indian lands to the State’s regulatory jurisdiction.”
YAKIMA, Wash. — Competing motions for summary judgment in a dispute over expenses the Yakama Nation says it incurred monitoring contamination at a former municipal landfill were denied Aug. 1 by a federal judge in Washington, less than one month after the judge granted summary judgment that the tribe has Comprehensive Environmental Response, Cost and Liability Act standing.
BOSTON — Allegations by an environmental advocate that the town of Barnstable, Mass., discharges nitrogen-laden septic wastewater requiring a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit fail, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled July 20.
CLEVELAND — A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend its insured against an underlying environmental contamination suit because the policies at issue bar coverage for property damage claims that were in progress before the start date of coverage, an Ohio federal judge said July 25 in denying the insured’s motion for summary judgment and in granting the insurer’s motion.
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge presiding over the methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) multidistrict litigation on July 27 denied a motion to dismiss by Exxon Mobil Corp. in which the oil company sought a limit on the damages New Jersey may seek in connection with MTBE contamination of state waters.
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — In a July 21 unpublished holding, a New Jersey appellate court said a “reasonable interpretation” of an agreement of sale supports breach of contract claims over a trust’s responsibility for remediating groundwater contamination caused by underground gasoline storage tanks at a property it conveyed in 2000.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three environmental groups lacked standing to challenge the public participation element of Oklahoma’s permitting program for the disposal of coal ash, the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled July 26.
TACOMA, Wash. — In a July 19 holding, a Washington appellate court said there are no questions of material fact precluding summary judgment on behalf of the Washington Department of Ecology in its dispute with a scuba business accused of contaminating its property with lead shot and lead sludge.
AIKEN, S.C. — In a July 11 filing with a South Carolina federal court, environmental groups attempted to address a challenge to their standing to maintain an action against the federal government over its plans to increase plutonium production, arguing that the threat of injury is real and not speculative.