Mealey's Pollution Liability

  • May 24, 2024

    Norfolk Southern To Pay $311M To Settle Federal Claims Over Ohio Tran Derailment

    YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The U.S. government on May 23 lodged a proposed consent decree in Ohio federal court under which Norfolk Southern Corp. and Norfolk Southern Railway Co. (collectively, Norfolk Southern) agree to pay $311,175,000 to settle claims related to the release of toxic chemicals from the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.  The payment includes a $15 million civil penalty as well as money to improve rail safety and pay for health monitoring in the community.

  • May 24, 2024

    California Federal Jury Says Gas Station Owner Violated RCRA And CERCLA

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California federal jury returned a verdict in favor of a property owner that brought claims under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) against a neighboring gas station where hazardous substances were released that migrated to the plaintiff’s property.

  • May 23, 2024

    Chicago Asks Illinois Federal Court To Remand Climate Change Claims

    CHICAGO — In a motion to remand, Chicago says its claims alleging that several large oil and gas companies deceived the public about the harmful effects fossil fuel products have on climate change should be remanded to the Illinois state court where they were originally filed because the claims all arise under state law.

  • May 22, 2024

    Pursuant To Consent Decree, EPA Proposes Plan To Clean Up PCBs In Spokane River

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — To satisfy the terms of a consent decree it entered into with two environmental groups, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposed plan to reduce the amount of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the Spokane and Little Spokane rivers by setting new total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for PCBs.

  • May 21, 2024

    Sensitive Nuclear Information Is Sealed And Redacted In Contamination Dispute

    EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — Information relating to the production of nuclear material is export controlled and should be sealed or redacted, an Illinois federal judge found in granting a motion to seal or redact filed by a company accused of contaminating property near its nuclear production facility with radiation and other toxic materials.

  • May 21, 2024

    Operators Of Manufacturing Site Settle TCE Discharge Claims For $14 Million

    HACKENSACK, N.J. — Several companies that operated a manufacturing site where trichloroethylene (TCE) and other hazardous substances were discharged into soil and groundwater agreed to settle state and federal environmental law claims brought against them by New Jersey officials for more than $14 million in a consent judgment entered in New Jersey state court.

  • May 17, 2024

    D.C. Circuit Denies Petitions For Review Of CAA’s Renewable Fuel Standard Program

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In denying separate petitions for review filed by a group of biofuel producers and a group of fossil fuel refiners, the majority of a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found that the Environmental Protection Agency did not act arbitrarily or capriciously by changing standards for renewable fossil fuels under the Clean Air Act’s (CAA) Renewable Fuel Standard program.

  • May 15, 2024

    Parties Debate Amount Of Penalty Owed In Glass Maker’s Water Pollution Case

    PITTSBURGH — A glass manufacturer that is a defendant in a long-running groundwater contamination lawsuit has filed a trial brief in Pennsylvania federal court arguing that, on the record and under the law, it is not appropriate to impose any penalty on the company in excess of the $1.2 million penalty it has already paid.  The same day, the environmental group bringing the case filed its trial brief contending that the court should impose a civil penalty of $50 million in excess of the economic benefit the glass maker has enjoyed as a result of its violations.

  • May 15, 2024

    Navajo Nation, Contractor Voluntarily Dismiss Gold King Mine Claims After Settlement

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In New Mexico federal court, a government contractor and the Navajo Nation filed a joint stipulation to dismiss the tribe’s claims arising from the contractor’s alleged involvement in the release of hazardous substances from the Gold King Mine, which contaminated large portions of tribal land.

  • May 15, 2024

    Ohio Panel:  Man Failed To Timely Petition Illegal Solid Waste Dumping Charges

    MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — A trial court did not err in denying a convicted man’s petition for postconviction relief from charges of illegal solid waste dumping because the petition was untimely filed, an Ohio panel found in affirming the trial court’s judgment.

  • May 15, 2024

    N.Y. Federal Judge Follows ‘Overwhelming Majority’ In Remanding Climate Change Case

    NEW YORK — Consumer protection claims brought by New York City against oil and gas companies that allegedly lied to consumers about the effects of fossil fuel products belong in state court because the companies failed to show that federal jurisdiction is proper in this instance,  a New York federal judge found in joining “the overwhelming majority” of federal courts that have granted similar motions to remand.

  • May 14, 2024

    Successor Company May Be Liable Under CERCLA Even Though Predecessor Still Exists

    NEWARK, N.J. — An environmental company that allegedly assumed liability for releases of hazardous substances at a chlorine production facility from one of the site’s former operators can be liable for response costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) even though the operator still exists, a New Jersey federal judge found in denying the company’s motion to dismiss.

  • May 13, 2024

    Environmental Group Has Standing To Sue Company For Idling Buses In Connecticut

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — An environmental group has standing to sue a bus company for allegedly violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) by idling its buses for longer than three minutes because the group alleges that its members are harmed by the air pollutants emitted by the buses, a Connecticut federal judge found in denying the company’s motion to dismiss.

  • May 09, 2024

    CAA Criminal Charges Can Be Issued For Engine Tampering, Wash. Federal Judge Says

    TACOMA, Wash. — The Clean Air Act (CAA) allows both civil penalties and criminal charges to be brought against individuals who tamper with pollution control devices within onboard diagnostic systems of motor vehicle engines, a Washington federal judge found in denying a motion to dismiss criminal charges filed by a woman who was indicted for such tampering.

  • May 09, 2024

    United States Tells Supreme Court It’s Not Liable For World War II Era Pollution

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its brief in opposition to a petition for a writ of certiorari filed in the U.S. Supreme Court by a group of oil and gas companies seeking contribution for cleanup costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, the United States says it’s not liable for environmental cleanup costs arising from petroleum production at refineries during World War II because it did not “operate” the refineries when it directed production of certain petroleum products at the facilities.

  • May 08, 2024

    COMMENTARY: A Primer On PFAS/Forever Chemical Claims: Regulation, Litigation, Large Losses & Insurance Coverage Issues

    By Scott M. Seaman and Gar N. Lauerman

  • May 07, 2024

    Pollution Exclusion Bars Coverage For Dust Emissions Suit, Insurer Says

    BROWNSVILLE, Texas — No coverage is owed to an insured for an underlying lawsuit stemming from dust emissions from the insured’s facility because the policy’s pollution exclusion bars coverage for the lawsuit, an insurer maintains in a complaint filed in Texas federal court.

  • May 03, 2024

    Creek Pollution Case Is Not Simple, Federal Judge Says In Denying Reconsideration

    COLUMBIA, Tenn. — In denying a motion for reconsideration of an order in which summary judgment was partly granted to a defendant landfill operator on claims arising from its alleged contamination of a creek, a Tennessee federal judge rejected the plaintiff property owner’s assertion that the core of the dispute, which has lasted more than a decade, is simple when stripped of its procedural complexity.

  • May 01, 2024

    Fact Questions Exist About Alleged Leachate Discharges At California Waste Facility

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — There are genuine questions of material fact about whether the operator of a recycling and waste facility violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) and California law by discharging stormwater-contaminated leachate into a wetland preserve and, eventually, the Sacramento River because there is no definitive evidence that the stormwater that entered the river contained the leachate, a California judge found in partly granting the nonprofit plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment.

  • April 29, 2024

    Plaintiffs Seek Approval Of $600M Settlement Of Train Derailment Lawsuit In Ohio

    YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The co-lead counsel for plaintiffs filed a brief in Ohio federal court on April 26 supporting a motion for preliminary approval of a $600 million settlement to resolve the class action against Norfolk Southern Railway Co. and Norfolk Southern Corp. (Norfolk Southern, collectively) pertaining to alleged injuries from the release of toxic chemicals at the 2023 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio; a third-party lawsuit among Norfolk Southern and railcar companies continues.

  • April 29, 2024

    California Federal Judge Refuses To Bifurcate Landfill Contamination Case

    SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge refused to bifurcate claims arising from contaminated groundwater near a new development into separate trials for equitable and legal claims because the evidence on record is relevant to all the claims.

  • April 26, 2024

    EPA Announces 4 Final Rules Aimed At Reducing Power Plant Pollution

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a press release issued April 25, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it has finalized a set of four rules that will reduce pollution from fossil fuel-fired power plants by updating standards for coal combustion residual (CCR) storage, heavy metal emissions, wastewater discharges and coal ash storage.

  • April 26, 2024

    Chemical Producer Fails To Invoke Federal Jurisdiction In Statewide Pollution Row

    TRENTON, N.J. — Federal jurisdiction is not proper over claims brought by the New Jersey attorney general and a state agency against a chemical producer for its alleged contamination of the state’s natural resources with carcinogenic chemicals because the claims are based exclusively on state law, a New Jersey federal judge found in remanding the case to state court.

  • April 25, 2024

    Pollution Exclusion Bars Coverage For Claims Based On Release Of Pollutants

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify its insured against underlying counterclaims in an environmental contamination coverage dispute because the policies’ pollution exclusion clearly bars coverage for the counterclaims, which are based on the release of threatened release of pollutants as defined in the policies at issue, a West Virginia federal judge said in granting the insurer’s motion for summary judgment.

  • April 24, 2024

    Panel: Environmental Agency May Sue For Water Pollution Despite Prior Agreement

    TRENTON, N.J. — In an unpublished opinion, a state appellate panel in New Jersey reversed and remanded a groundwater contamination case, ruling that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) did not forfeit its right to sue chemical companies as a result of a prior consent order to remediate the hazard.