Mealey's Pollution Liability

  • December 01, 2023

    3rd Circuit: EPA Erred In Requiring Virgin Islands Refinery To Obtain Permit

    PHILADELPHIA — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency exceeded the limits of the Clean Air Act (CAA) by requiring the new owner of an existing petroleum refinery in the Virgin Islands to obtain a permit under the CAA’s new source review (NSR) program because the refinery was neither constructed nor modified after 1977 and is therefore not subject to the program, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found in granting the owner’s petition for review.

  • December 01, 2023

    Louisiana Panel: Property Owner Was Assigned Rights To Sue For Environmental Damage

    LAKES CHARLES, La. — A property owner that purchased land that was contaminated before the sale is not barred by the subsequent purchaser doctrine from seeking damages for alleged environmental contamination caused by historical gas and oil exploration activities because the owner was assigned the right to sue by the previous owners of the property, a Louisiana appellate panel found in denying two supervisory writs filed by successors to the oil and gas companies that purportedly damaged the property.

  • December 01, 2023

    California Federal Judge Dismisses RCRA And CWA Claims With Leave To Amend

    LOS ANGELES — In partly granting two motions to dismiss, a California federal judge found that an environmental group failed to adequately state some of its Clean Water Act (CWA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) claims arising from alleged discharges of polluted stormwater at the Port of Long Beach but granted the group leave to amend its claims because amendment would not be futile in this instance.

  • November 30, 2023

    Ohio, DuPont Reach $110M Deal To Resolve C8 Pollution From Washington Works Plant

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. on Nov. 29 separately announced that they reached a $110 million settlement of a perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), also called C8, groundwater contamination case brought by the state related to pollution from DuPont’s Washington Works Plant.  The settlement establishes an environmental restoration fund that will address the pollution from the plant, as well as damages caused by firefighting foam that contains PFOA.

  • November 29, 2023

    9th Circuit Affirms Remand Of Climate Change Claims Against Oil Companies

    SAN FRANCISCO — State law public nuisance claims brought by two California municipalities that allege that five oil companies accelerated the effects of climate change by producing and promoting fossil fuel products should be remanded because removal jurisdiction is not supported by federal officer removal jurisdiction or an exception to the well-pleaded complaint rule, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found in affirming a trial court’s decision.

  • November 27, 2023

    Louisiana Federal Judge Dismisses Oil Company From Abandoned Gas Well Dispute

    MONROE, La. — After approving a settlement agreement between an oil company and a property owner that resolved allegations that the oil company contributed to environmental damage on the property by abandoning oil wells, a Louisiana federal judge dismissed the claims against the company with prejudice.

  • November 22, 2023

    Norfolk Southern:  Rail Car Owners Liable For Chemical Spill From Train Derailment

    YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Norfolk Southern Corp. and Norfolk Southern Railway Co. (collectively, Norfolk Southern) filed a brief in Ohio federal court arguing that it should deny a motion to dismiss the third-party complaint Norfolk Southern has filed against rail car owners in relation to the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.  Norfolk Southern contends that it is a common carrier and is entitled to seek cost recovery from rail car owners under federal law that imposes liability on rail car owners when their rail cars dispose hazardous substances into the environment.

  • November 17, 2023

    In Clash Over Alaska City’s Air Quality, Federal Judge Approves Consent Decree

    SEATTLE —  A Washington federal judge on Nov. 17 entered a consent decree proposed by three citizen groups and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to resolve a dispute over whether the agency violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) by failing to approve or disapprove a state implementation plan (SIP) to remediate air pollution in the Alaska borough of Fairbanks North Star.

  • November 16, 2023

    6th Circuit: Challenges To Clean Air Act Plan Belong In D.C. Circuit

    CINCINNATI — Four petitions for judicial review of a Clean Air Act (CAA) plan governing ambient air quality for 23 states must be heard in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals because the plan is nationally applicable and is based on a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determination of nationwide scope, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found in granting the EPA’s motions to transfer the petitions.

  • November 16, 2023

    5th Circuit:  Texas Agency Erred In Approving Permit For Natural Gas Plant

    NEW ORLEANS — The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) committed an error of law and acted arbitrarily and capriciously by failing to adequately explain why it approved a permit for a natural gas plant that contained less stringent emissions limits than those adopted in a permit for a separate plant that will use the same equipment, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found in vacating the state agency’s permitting decision.

  • November 14, 2023

    Federal Judge Refuses To Consolidate 2 CAA Cases About Incinerator Standards

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In denying a motion filed by a national trade organization to consolidate two cases regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s alleged failure to review performance standards for certain solid-waste incinerators under the Clean Air Act (CAA), a District of Columbia federal judge said the motion amounted to a collateral attack of a proposed consent decree filed in the other case.

  • November 10, 2023

    Magistrate Judge Clarifies Order Regarding Third-Party Complaints In CERCLA Case

    MILWAUKEE — A Wisconsin federal magistrate judge clarified that in granting two former operators of a contaminated manufacturing site leave to file third-party claims under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act against the parent company of the plaintiff real estate developer, the court did not find that the parent company is a real party in interest.

  • November 07, 2023

    W.Va. Federal Judge Grants Motion For Sanctions In Coal Mining Pollution Clash

    HUNGTINGTON, W.Va. — Two property owners who brought claims arising from alleged pollution caused by coal mining activities violated their historic agreement with the owner of a company that mined the property by filing a motion for partial summary judgment against him after saying they would not pursue his personal assets, a West Virginia federal judge found in granting the company owner’s motion for sanctions.

  • November 07, 2023

    In Climate Change Dispute, Hawaii Supreme Court Affirms Denial Of Motions

    HONOLULU — A trial court properly denied two motions to dismiss filed by a group of oil and gas companies that are alleged to have caused damage to Honolulu by knowingly concealing the effect their fossil fuel products would have on global climate change, the majority of the Hawaii Supreme Court held in affirming the trial court’s judgment.

  • November 06, 2023

    No Coverage For Underlying Suit Seeking Damages From Nitric Oxide Plume, Panel Says

    DENVER — No coverage is owed to an insured for an underlying suit alleging damages caused by the release of a nitric oxide plume from an insured’s manufacturing plant because a pollution endorsement, which provides coverage for pollution-related bodily injury claims, applies only to claims that have a connection to Vermont, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said in affirming a district court’s ruling in favor of the insurer.

  • November 06, 2023

    Insured Municipality Files Suit, Says Coverage Owed For Remediation Costs

    TRENTON, N.J. — A premises pollution liability insurer breached its contract and acted in bad faith by denying coverage for environmental contamination remediation costs incurred by an insured municipality because the policy obligates the insurer to provide coverage for the remediation costs, the insured says in a complaint filed in New Jersey state court.

  • November 06, 2023

    La. Federal Judge Denies Summary Judgment Motion In Creosote Contamination Row

    LAKE CHARLES, La. — A railroad company is not entitled to summary judgment on claims that it contributed to contamination of a property because there are genuine issues of fact regarding whether it was aware of the contamination and whether creosote-soaked wooden poles were loaded onto its rail cars, a Louisiana federal judge found on Nov. 3 in denying the company’s motion for summary judgment.

  • November 03, 2023

    Ohio High Court Majority Affirms Choice-Of-Law Analysis For Bad Faith Claim

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio appellate court applied the correct factors in a choice-of-law analysis for a bad faith claim in an environmental contamination coverage suit because the bad faith claim sounds in tort rather than contract, the majority of the Ohio Supreme Court said in affirming the appellate court’s ruling.

  • November 03, 2023

    Missouri Federal Judge Remands Claims Arising From Contaminated Drinking Supply

    ST. LOUIS — An electrical company alleged to have contaminated a city’s drinking water by using hazardous chemicals to clean one of its substations failed to show that the state law claims arising from the contamination raised any issues of federal law, a Missouri federal judge found Nov. 2 in remanding the case to state court.

  • November 02, 2023

    Montana Federal Judge Says Environmental Group Lacks Standing On Nuisance Claims

    BUTTE, Mont. — An environmental group that filed a second lawsuit against a Montana resort alleging that the resort violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) by discharging nitrogen into the Gallatin River without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit failed to show that it has standing to bring its civil and criminal nuisance claims, a Montana federal judge ruled in partly granting the resort’s motion to dismiss.

  • November 01, 2023

    Creek’s Status Under CWA Doesn’t Affect Jurisdiction, California Federal Judge Says

    SANTA ANA , Calif. — Whether the Temescal Creek, in which a recycling plant owner is alleged to have discharge contaminated stormwater, is a “water of the United States” for the purposes of the Clean Water Act (CWA) does not affect the court’s subject jurisdiction because that determination is an element of a claim under the law, not a threshold jurisdictional matter, a California federal judge found in denying the plant owner’s motion to dismiss.

  • October 31, 2023

    5th Circuit: Mix Of Oil And Hazardous Substances Is Exclusively Covered By CERCLA

    NEW ORLEANS — A group of companies is not entitled to monetary damages under the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) for the release of a mixture of oil and hazardous substances, as defined by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, from a chemical storage facility because the OPA expressly excludes such mixtures from its definition of oil, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found in affirming a trial court’s judgment.

  • October 30, 2023

    In Clash Over Alaska City’s Air Quality, Parties Seek Approval Of Consent Decree

    SEATTLE — Three citizen groups and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed a joint motion to enter a proposed consent decree that would resolve a dispute over whether the agency violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) by failing to approve or disapprove a state implementation plan (SIP) to remediate air pollution in the Alaska borough of Fairbanks North Star.

  • October 27, 2023

    Wisconsin Federal Judge Grants Leave To File Third-Party Complaints In CERCLA Case

    MILWAUKEE — A Wisconsin federal judge granted two former operators of a contaminated manufacturing site, which are being sued under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, leave to filed third-party claims against the parent company of the plaintiff real estate developer because recent depositions and discovery documents show that the real estate developer has no employees and the parent company may be the real party in interest.

  • October 27, 2023

    Judge Partially Denies Motion To Compel Documents In PCB Case Against Monsanto

    CHICAGO — A federal magistrate judge in Illinois has partially granted and partially denied a motion by the state seeking to compel Monsanto Co. to produce documents in a lawsuit over alleged statewide contamination of waterways by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).  With regard to a request for documents related to third-party consultants, the judge ruled that the request is “overbroad, unduly burdensome and likely requests irrelevant information.”