Mealey's Pollution Liability

  • September 21, 2023

    10th Circuit:  EPA Erred In Permitting Certain Air Quality Exclusions

    DENVER — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acted contrary to law by permitting Colorado to exclude “temporary emissions” from its State Implementation Plan (SIP) regarding air quality standards in the Denver area because the federal regulations implementing the Clean Air Act (CAA) do not permit such exclusions, a majority of a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found in partly granting an environmental group’s petition for review of an EPA final rule.

  • September 20, 2023

    Environmental Group Members’ Alleged Injuries Are Not Traceable To Idling Buses

    BOSTON — An environmental group failed to establish standing because it cannot show that the alleged injuries its members suffered are fairly traceable to three bus companies the group says violated state law by allowing their buses to idle for too long, a Massachusetts federal judge found in granting the companies’ motions for summary judgment.

  • September 20, 2023

    Pa. Federal Judge Says Its Unclear Whether Liquid Mercury Was Correctly Packaged

    PITTSBURGH — Summary judgment is inappropriate on the question of whether a transportation company correctly packaged a shipment of liquid mercury that eventually spilled and caused environmental damage because the recycling company that ordered the shipment of the liquid raised enough evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact, a Pennsylvania federal judge found in denying the transportation company’s motion for summary judgment.

  • September 19, 2023

    North Carolina Panel: ALJ Correctly Found NPDES Permit Was Proper

    RALEIGH, N.C. — An administrative law judge (ALJ) correctly found that a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued to the operator of a quarry was properly authorized because the permit satisfies state water quality standards, a North Carolina panel found in reversing a trial court’s decision to grant a petition for review of the ALJ’s decision.

  • September 19, 2023

    Washington Federal Judge Dismisses Some Paper Mill Contamination Claims

    TACOMA, Wash. — In partly granting a motion to dismiss, a Washington federal judge dismissed claims of unjust enrichment, promissory estoppel, equitable estoppel and transfer of insurance assets by operation of law brought by a company that alleges that the extent of environmental damage on the property of a paper mill it purchased was not properly disclosed.

  • September 18, 2023

    Government Urges High Court To Uphold ‘Bedrock Principle’ Of Chevron Deference

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. secretary of Commerce, two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (collectively, the government) urge the U.S. Supreme Court in a Sept. 15 brief to not overrule the doctrine of Chevron deference in a challenge to fishery regulations that were upheld by the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, writing that doing so could “cause disruption” to complex federal regulatory schemes.

  • September 18, 2023

    Vermont High Court Upholds Jury’s Decision To Award No Damages For Home Oil Spill

    MONTPELIER, Vt. — A jury’s decision not to award damages to a homeowner for a spill of home heating oil in her basement was not inconsistent with its findings that the heating company was the proximate cause of her injury because the jury found that the homeowner failed to meet her burden of proving damages by a preponderance of the evidence, the Vermont Supreme Court found Sept. 15 in affirming a trial court’s decision to deny the homeowner’s motion for a new trial.

  • September 18, 2023

    Washington Panel: Agency’s Issuance Of Water Permits Was Not Arbitrary, Capricious

    TACOMA, Wash. — The Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) did not act arbitrarily or capriciously when it issued permits to municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) operators within the state because it has discretion over the drafting and issuing of such permits, a Washington panel found in affirming a Pollution Control Hearings Board decision.

  • September 18, 2023

    Dispute Over Mercury And PCB Contamination Remanded To Georgia State Court

    BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Two companies accused of releasing mercury and polychlorinated byphenals (PCBs) into waters and marshland near the property of a Georgia city failed to establish fraudulent joinder, federal officer jurisdiction, federal question jurisdiction or diversity jurisdiction, a Georgia federal judge found in granting the city’s motion to remand the case to state court.

  • September 14, 2023

    Federal Judge: Tennessee And Agency Failed To Diligently Prosecute CWA Violations

    COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — An environmental group’s citizen suit against a Tennessee city that has allegedly violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) by failing to maintain its often-overflowing sewer system is not precluded by the CWA’s diligent prosecution bar because neither Tennessee nor its environmental agency has been diligently prosecuting the consent decree they signed with the city regarding the sewer system, a Tennessee federal judge found in denying the city’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

  • September 14, 2023

    Illinois Panel: Homeowner Must Arbitrate Claims Over Firefighting Foam Pollution

    MOUNT VERNON, Ill. — A farmer who claims that his land has been contaminated by firefighting foam used at a nearby mining complex must arbitrate his claims because they are covered by an arbitration agreement within a waiver and release he signed with the operators of the complex two years before the foam was used, an Illinois panel held in reversing a trial court’s decision to deny the operators’ motion to compel arbitration.

  • September 12, 2023

    United States And Tribe Granted Summary Judgment On Clean Water Act Claims

    SEATTLE — In disposing of three motions for summary judgment, a Washington federal judge granted the United States and the Puyallup Tribe of Indians summary judgment on several alleged Clean Water Act (CWA) violations arising from the rupture of a diversion channel during construction at a power plant that caused pollutants to enter the Puyallup River.

  • September 11, 2023

    In Contamination Dispute, Landfill Operator Is Not Entitled To Summary Judgment

    SAN DIEGO — The operator of a landfill that allegedly contaminated groundwater near a new development is not entitled to summary judgment on claims brought against it by the developer because genuine issues of material fact exist regarding the claims, a California federal judge found in denying the operator’s motion for summary judgment.

  • September 06, 2023

    9th Circuit:  EPA Letter Discussing Clean Air Act Not Final Agency Action

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A letter from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Chevron U.S.A. Inc. explaining that the companies’ decommissioning of oil and gas drilling platforms on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) might be subject to the Clean Air Act (CAA) is not reviewable because it is not a final agency action, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel said in holding that it lacked jurisdiction over the company’s petition for review of the letter.

  • September 06, 2023

    Questions Exist About Whether Emissions-Altering Devices Were Used In Cars

    GREENSBORO, N.C. — Whether a manufacturer violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) by making products that were designed to defeat federally required emissions controls in motor vehicles is a question of fact that must be decided at a later stage of the proceedings, a North Carolina federal judge found in denying the manufacturer’s motion to dismiss claims brought against it by the United States.

  • September 06, 2023

    D.C. Federal Judge: It’s Too Late To Revert Clean Water Act Permit Program

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Seven environmental groups are not entitled to summary judgment on one of their claims that the Environmental Protection Agency violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when it approved Florida’s application to oversee a Clean Water Act (CWA) permitting program in December 2020 because the groups effectively sought to transfer the program back to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which would not be feasible given how much time has passed, a Florida federal judge found in denying the groups’ renewed motion for partial summary judgment.

  • August 31, 2023

    California Federal Judge Finds Several Companies Liable For Smelter Pollution

    LOS ANGELES — Following a bench trial, a California federal judge reached a verdict on liability and concluded that several companies are prima facie liable under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and California’s Hazardous Substance Account Act (HSAA) for pollution released from a secondary lead smelter that contaminated the nearby air and groundwater.

  • August 28, 2023

    Conflicting Expert Testimony Prevents Summary Judgment In Contamination Dispute

    SAN DIEGO — Genuine issues of material fact exist about Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) claims brought by a property developer against an automobile recycling company and the operator of a landfill over the alleged contamination of groundwater near a new development because the parties presented contradictory expert testimony, a California federal judge found in denying the developer’s motion for summary judgment.

  • August 28, 2023

    U.S. Weighs In On CERCLA Statute Of Limitations Dispute Before Supreme Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States filed an amicus curiae brief arguing that a judgment of liability without a corresponding imposition of costs or award of damages does not trigger the three-year statute of limitations for contribution costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.

  • August 28, 2023

    Pollution Liability Insurer Says Bad Faith Suit Must Be Heard In Federal Court

    SEATTLE — An insured’s complaint alleging claims for breach of contract and bad faith arising out of a commercial general liability and pollution liability insurer’s denial of coverage for underlying bodily injury suits stemming from exposure to chemicals distributed by the insured must be removed to Washington federal court because diversity of citizenship exists and the amount in controversy exceeds the federal jurisdictional minimum of $75,000, the insurer says in a notice of removal.

  • August 25, 2023

    Magistrate Judge Grants And Denies Summary Judgment Motions In River Pollution Row

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In granting one and denying another motion for summary judgment, a California federal magistrate judge found that an environmental group sufficiently established standing and that the operator of an equestrian center discharged pollutants into waters of the United States for the purposes of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

  • August 25, 2023

    10th Circuit Says EPA Misapplied Discretionary Guidelines To Emissions Plan

    DENVER — In disapproving a portion of Wyoming’s state implementation plan (SIP) for reducing emissions at several power plants within its borders, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency incorrectly treated some of its discretionary guidelines as mandatory, a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found in vacating a portion of the agency’s final rule on the SIP.

  • August 25, 2023

    Reinsurer Wins Permission To Seal 2 Agreements In Cleanup Costs Coverage Row

    PADUCAH, Ky. — A Kentucky federal magistrate judge on Aug. 24 granted a motion to seal a third-party administrative services agreement (ASA) and a reinsurance agreement, saying the entities involved have a compelling interest that “outweighs the public’s interest in accessing” the documents and that redaction would be “impractical.”

  • August 24, 2023

    In Permit Dispute, New York Federal Judge Dismisses Clean Water Act Claims

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Three environmental groups that challenged a state pollutant discharge elimination system (SPDES) permit issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to the owner and operator of a power plant failed to state a claim because they alleged that the state renewal application submitted by the owner failed to comply with federal regulations which it was not subject to, a New York federal judge found in dismissing their complaint.

  • August 23, 2023

    In Mine Cleanup Dispute, Colorado Federal Judge Approves Interlocutory Appeal

    DENVER — Controlling questions of law exist about whether the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act’s statute of limitations bars contribution claims brought by the owner of a former mine site against a smelting company whose predecessors contributed to the pollution of the site, a Colorado federal judge held in granting the owner’s motion for interlocutory appeal.