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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Pollution Liability Legal News

LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Pollution Liability Legal News



Headline Pollution Liability Legal News from LexisNexis®



 



9th Circuit: Storage Of Hazardous Waste Is A Crime Of General Intent
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Idaho did not err when excluding a man's evidence pertaining to his diminished capacity, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 13, holding that the storage of hazardous waste in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act is a crime of general intent (United States of America v. Max Spatig, No. 15-30322, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17800).



Judge Denies Injunction In Groundwater Contamination Case Against GE
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Sept. 7 denied a motion for a mandatory permanent injunction sought by a company suing General Electric Co. for contaminating its groundwater (LAJIM LLC, et al. v. General Electric Co., No. 13-50348, N.D. Ill.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144704).



9th Circuit Reverses Ruling Finding Government Owes Nothing For Cleanup Costs
PASADENA, Calif. - A federal judge in California erred when finding that the federal government does not have to contribute toward the cleanup of a 44-acre site used by a military contractor hired to manufacture aircraft and aircraft parts, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 4, holding that the judge misapplied two earlier rulings that addressed how cleanup costs between military contractors and the government (TDY Holdings, LLC v. United States of America, No. 15-56483, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19371).



Judge Approves $10.32M Deal Between EPA, Smelter Operators To Pay Cleanup Costs
TULSA, Okla. - A federal judge in Oklahoma on Sept. 26 approved a consent decree in which two companies will pay a combined $10,323,727 to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Oklahoma for remediation costs associated with lead and zinc contamination of soil and groundwater (United States of America, et al. v. Doe Run Resources Corporation, et al., No. 15-CV-0663-CVE-TLW, N.D. Okla.; 2017 U.S. LEXIS 157505).



Judge Awards Property Owner $391,719 To Clean Up Contamination, Limits Fees
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on Sept. 28 granted a property owner's motion for default judgment and awarded it $391,719.74 to remediate contamination caused by a company that leased the land to operate a chemical etching business and found that the plaintiff was entitled to only $11,434.39 in attorney fees (Limo Company v. Chemical Milling International Corporation, No. 17-cv-02345-SVW-RAO, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161310).



Expert Qualified To Testify On Cleanup Costs' Reasonableness, Judge Says
SALT LAKE CITY - An engineer can proffer testimony that Chevron Pipeline Co. (CPL) spent approximately $4.4 million to $5.6 million in unnecessary costs when responding to two oil spills in 2010, a federal judge in Utah ruled Sept. 7, finding that he is qualified and that the methodology underlying his opinion is reliable (Chevron Pipeline Company v. Pacificorp, No. 12-CV-287, D. Utah).



Judge Refuses To Conduct 'Autopsy' Of Settlement Over Pipeline Spill
SALT LAKE CITY - A federal judge in Utah on Sept. 6 granted a motion for partial summary judgment filed by Pacificorp, doing business as Rocky Mountain Power, that precludes Chevron Pipeline Co. (CPL) from obtaining a portion of a settlement it paid to homeowners affected by a 2010 oil spill, finding that such relief would require the judge to perform an "autopsy" of the settlement (Chevron Pipeline Company v. Pacificorp, No. 12-CV-287, D. Utah, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144260).



Judge Refuses To Challenge Validity Of State Agency's Radon Emissions Findings
SALT LAKE CITY - A federal judge in Utah on Sept. 15 awarded summary judgment to a uranium mining company after refusing to challenge the validity of a state agency's findings that the company's radon emissions were excessive and in violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) (Grand Canyon Trust v. Energy Fuel Resources [U.S.A.] Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-243, D. Utah, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150279).



EPA Files Proposed Rule To Repeal Clean Power Plan
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Oct. 10 announced that Administrator Scott Pruitt has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which was unveiled by President Barack Obama in 2015 to reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse gas emissions.



5th Circuit Finds Tax Credit Company Ineligible To Receive BP Settlement Money
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 22 found that a film tax credit company is ineligible to receive funds from the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Class Action Settlement because it qualifies as a financial services business that is not included in the settlement agreement (Claimant ID 100153748 v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al., No. 16-31079, 5th Cir.).



Lack Of Expert Evidence Dooms Man's Injury Suit Over Oil Dispersant Exposure
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A federal judge in Alabama on Sept. 25 awarded summary judgment to BP Exploration & Production Inc. after finding that a man's failure to produce expert evidence linking his exposure to chemical dispersants used during cleanup activities following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that occurred after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon was fatal to his suit (Robert James Townsend v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc., et al., No. 16-CV-301, N.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156252).



Judge Finds Mining Company In Contempt Over Arsenic, Iron Discharges
BOISE, Idaho - A federal judge in Idaho on Sept. 15 ordered Atlanta Gold Corp. to pay $251,000 as a civil penalty for violating the Clean Water Act and pay $251,000 in sanctions for failing to comply with prior court orders requiring the company to limit the amount of arsenic and iron in discharges from its mining operations, finding that the company can find reasonable solutions to comply with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit (Idaho Conservation League, et al. v. Atlanta Gold Corporation, No. 11-cv-00161, D. Idaho, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150437).



Magistrate Judge Says Groups' Clean Water Act Suit Should Survive Dismissal
MIAMI - A lawsuit filed by three environmental groups over discharges from a nuclear power plant's facility should not be dismissed, a federal magistrate judge in Florida ruled Sept. 20, finding that the groups' allegations over violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) can be redressed if they prevail (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, et al. v. Florida Power & Light Company, No. 16-23017-CIV-GAYLES/OTAZA-REYES, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154361).



Judge Adopts Ruling Allowing Portland's Public Nuisance Claim Against Monsanto
PORTLAND, Ore. - A federal judge in Oregon on Sept. 22 adopted a magistrate judge's April 18 ruling allowing the city of Portland to pursue a public nuisance claim against Monsanto Co. over polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination, holding that the city is not required to own property to allege that it has suffered a special injury (City of Portland v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 16-cv-01418-PK, D. Ore., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156370).



Judge Allows Monsanto To Add Counterclaims In PCB Contamination Suit
SEATTLE - Monsanto Co.'s counterclaim for unjust enrichment against the city of Seattle over polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the Lower Duwamish River is not futile, a federal judge in Washington ruled Sept. 6 in granting the defendant company's motion to amend its answer and counterclaims (City of Seattle v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. C16-107RSL, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144382).



New York Federal Jury Finds Amtrak Is Owed $14.3M For Contamination Cleanup Claims
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A New York federal jury on Sept. 27 entered a $14.3 million verdict in favor of Amtrak and against its insurers after finding that the insurers owe coverage for environmental contamination cleanup costs incurred by Amtrak (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, et al. v. National Railroad Passenger Corp., et al., No. 14-4717, E.D. N.Y.).



Expert Testimony Excluded; Insurer Granted Summary Judgment On Pollution Exclusion
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Sept. 25 granted an insurer's motion on the applicability of the pollution exclusion after determining that testimony offered by the insured's expert on the contamination at two of the insured's sites must be excluded because the expert's testimony does not support the insured's argument that the contamination was sudden and accidental as required for coverage to exist under the policies at issue (Varlen Corp. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-5463, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162110).



Rhode Island Federal Judge: Effluent Is Not Excluded By Pollution Exclusion
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A Rhode Island federal judge on Sept. 26 rejected an insurer's argument that coverage for an underlying lawsuit alleging property damage as a result of the insured's impermissible drainage of water and effluent from an apartment complex is barred by a policy's pollution exclusion because the definition of pollution in the policy does not include effluent as an excluded pollutant (GeoVera Specialty Insurance Co. v. Kurt Poulton, No. 16-432, D. R.I., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165539).



Carrier Did Not Prove Omission Of Pollution Exclusion Was Mutual Mistake, Judge Says
ATLANTA - A Georgia federal judge on Sept. 19 rejected an insurer's argument that the omission of a pollution exclusion from its policy was a mutual mistake and found that the insurer owes coverage for contamination claims arising out of the operation of a battery plant because the insured met the policy's deductible (ACE American Insurance Co. v. Exide Technologies Inc., et al., No. 16-1600, N.D. Ga.).



Ohio Federal Judge Denies Motion To Dismiss, Says Release Was Pollution Incident
COLUMBUS, Ohio - An Ohio federal judge on Sept. 19 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss after determining that the insured sufficiently alleged facts to support its claim that the release of hazardous waste was a pollution incident under the terms of the policy at issue (Olymbec USA LLC v. Aspen Specialty Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-948, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152083).



9th Circuit Overturns Ruling Finding ASARCO's Cleanup Contribution Suit Untimely
SEATTLE - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 10 reversed a federal judge in Montana's ruling that a contribution lawsuit brought under Section 113(f) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act was barred by the statute of limitations, holding that American Smelting and Refining Co. LLC's (ASARCO's) claim did not arise until the entry of a 2009 consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (ASARCO v. Atlantic Richfield Company, No. 14-35723, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 14781).



Government's Ownership Of Reservation Triggers CERCLA Liability, Judge Finds
PRESCOTT, Ariz. - A federal judge in Arizona on Aug. 15 ruled that the federal government's fee title ownership of land in the Navajo Reservation that houses 19 uranium mines makes it an owner under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (El Paso Natural Gas Company LLC v. United States, No. CV-14-08165-PCT-DGC, D. Ariz., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129696).



Judge: Tire Companies Owe $11M For Selling Contaminated Buildings
DES MOINES, Iowa - A federal judge in Iowa on Sept. 5 ruled that two tire companies are liable for $11 million under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) for selling buildings on a Superfund site in the state that were contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (United States of America v. Dico, Inc., et al., No. 10-cv-503, S.D. Iowa).



6th Circuit Affirms Damages Awarded To Contractor For Site Cleanup
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 17 affirmed a federal judge in Tennessee's ruling awarding damages to a contractor that helped remediate the site of the Manhattan Project but found that the judge should recalculate the amount of interest owed to the contractor under the Tennessee Prompt Pay Act (Eagle Supply and Manufacturing, L.P. v. Bechtel Jacobs Company, LLC, No. 16-6428, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 15498).



5th Circuit Says Challenge To Emissions Rule Should Not Be Transferred
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 25 denied a request from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeking to transfer to a petition challenging its decision to limit emissions of sulfur dioxide from four areas in Texas to the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, holding that the decision was only regionally applicable (State of Texas, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 17-60088, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16329).



9th Circuit Upholds Agreement Extending Deadlines For EPA's Emission Designations
SAN FRANCISCO - A 2-1 panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 28 affirmed a federal judge in California's ruling approving a settlement between two environmental groups and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that extended the deadline for which the agency must make designations on an area's emissions of sulfur dioxide, holding that the extension of the deadline does not adversely impact claims brought by states saying the agency's delay in making those decisions is harmful (Sierra Club, et al. v. North Dakota, et al., No. 15-15894, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16400).



En Banc D.C. Circuit Will Not Rehear Methane Rule Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The en banc District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 10 refused to grant a petition for rehearing en banc sought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that challenged a split panel decision that found that the EPA did not have the authority to stay the agency's rule on fugitive methane emissions (Clean Air Council, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, et al., No. 17-1145, D.C. Cir.).



Parties Agree To Move Storage Of Spent Nuclear Fuel To Off-Site Location
SAN DIEGO - Parties in a dispute over a permit that allowed an energy company to store spent nuclear waste at the site of a decommissioned power plant in California on Aug. 25 agreed to resolve the lawsuit in a stipulation in California state court, wherein the owner of the facility agreed to move the spent nuclear fuel for off-site storage (Citizens Oversight Inc., et al. v. California Coastal Commission, et al., No. 37-2015-00037137-CU-WM-CTL, Calif. Super., San Diego Co.).



Cleanup Company's Claims Against Gas Station Barred By Arbitration, Judge Says
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - An environmental remediation company's counterclaims against the owner of a gas station for breach of a fixed price remediation agreement (FPA) were dismissed by a federal judge in New York on Sept. 5 after the judge ruled that the claims were previously litigated during an arbitration proceeding (Plumbing Supply, LLC v. ExxonMobil Corp., et al., No. 14 CV 3674, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142747).



Groups Seek Summary Judgment Ruling That Company Violated Law In Groundwater Case
PITTSBURGH - Two environmental groups on Aug. 15 filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania seeking a summary judgment ruling against PPG Industries Inc., arguing that it is liable under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for groundwater contamination from PPG's glass-manufacturing operation (PennEnvironment, et al. v. PPG Industries Inc., et al., No. 12-342, W.D. Pa.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8683).



Judge Limits Experts' Testimony On Migration Of Metals To River
TRENTON, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Aug. 16 granted in part NL Industries Inc.'s motion to exclude testimony from two experts for an environmental group accusing the company of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), finding that portions of each expert's testimony was unreliable (Raritan Baykeeper Inc., et al. v. NL Industries Inc., et al., No. 09-4117, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131754).



Judge Suspends Clean Water Act Trial To Wait For 9th Circuit Ruling
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Sept. 5 suspended the upcoming trial date for a lawsuit accusing a scrap metal company of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA), agreeing with the defendants that the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' upcoming ruling in U.S. v. Robertson could alter the standard for what constitutes a navigable waterway of the United States (California Sportfishing Protection Alliance v. Chico Scrap Metal Inc., et al., No. 10-cv-01207-GEB-AC, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143342).



Fabric Maker's Request To Appeal Denial Of Dismissal Motion Rejected By Judge
MACON, Ga. - An interlocutory appeal of an order denying a protective fabric maker's motion to dismiss a suit accusing it of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) would not ultimately advance the litigation, a federal judge in Georgia ruled Aug. 15, finding that discovery is needed to determine if wastewater from the company's facility is being discharged into navigable waterways of the United States (Flint Riverkeeper, Inc. v. Southern Mills Inc., No. 16-CV-435, M.D. Ga., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129430).



Monsanto: Town, School Failed To Meet Burden Of Proof; PCB Case Properly Dismissed
BOSTON - Monsanto Co. on Aug. 22 filed a brief in the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that a district court properly ruled that a town and school district failed to meet their burden of proof regarding alleged contamination from polychlorinatedbiphenyls (PCBs) that were manufactured by the company and are present in plasticizers that were used in the construction of a school building (Town of Westport, et al. v. Monsanto Company, No. 17-1461, 1st Cir.).



10th Circuit Affirms Owned-Property Exclusion Clearly Precludes Coverage
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 25 affirmed a district court's dismissal of an insured's complaint in an environmental contamination dispute after determining that the owned-property exclusion clearly precludes coverage for the cleanup of the environmental contamination (Taos Ski Valley Inc. v. Nova Casualty Co., No. 16-2118, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16254).



Question Of Fact Exists As To Whether Pollution Exclusion Bars Coverage For Oil Leak
CAMDEN, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 17 partially denied two insurers' motions for summary judgment on the applicability of their policies' pollution exclusions after determining that a question of fact exists as to whether the leakage of heating oil from an underground storage tank constitutes "traditional environmental pollution" that is precluded under the exclusion (Nimrod Benjamin, et al., v. State Farm Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-4123, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131078).



Insurers' Contribution Suit Barred Under Oregon Law, Appeals Panel Affirms
SALEM, Ore. - A group of insurers is not permitted to seek contribution from insurers that settled claims with the insured for environmental contamination cleanup costs because the contribution action is barred pursuant to amendments issued in 2013 to the Oregon Environmental Cleanup Assistance Act, the Oregon Court of Appeals said Aug. 16 in affirming a trial court's dismissal of the suit (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London, et al. v. Massachusetts Bonding and Insurance Co., et al., No. A156649, Ore. App., 2017 Ore. App. LEXIS 983).



Motion To Remand Pollution Dispute Denied; Claims Against Adjuster Fail, Judge Says
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Aug. 10 denied a motion to remand by insureds seeking coverage under a pollution liability policy after determining that the insurer's adjuster was fraudulently joined to defeat diversity jurisdiction (Waste Management Inc., et al., v. AIG Specialty Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-3676, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126880).



10th Circuit: Government Can Be Liable For Some Mining Cleanup Costs
DENVER - A 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 19 ruled that the federal government can be liable for some cleanup costs at a New Mexico mine as an owner under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) because it owned a piece of national forest that was used to dump mine tailings (Chevron Mining Inc. v. United States, et al., No. 15-2209, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12959).



Relocation, Investigation Costs Recoverable Under CERCLA, Judge Finds
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - A federal judge in Indiana on July 26 ruled that the costs of investigating the levels of lead and arsenic contamination emanating from a Superfund site near a housing complex as well as the costs the complex's residents incurred in relocating from the property are recoverable under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), but dismissed a proposed class' claims for nuisance against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. and the Chemours Co. (Lerithea Rolan, et al. v. Atlantic Richfield Company, et al., No. 16-CV-357-TLS, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117437).



Judge: City's Operation Of Wastewater Treatment Site Triggers CERCLA Liability
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Aug. 2 denied a motion by the city of Pasadena, Texas, for partial summary judgment, finding that it could face liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) because it owned a wastewater treatment plant for 50 years where spills of hazardous waste occurred (USOR Site PRP Group v. A&M Contractors Inc., et al., No. 14-CV-2441, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121386).



Judge: Disputes Exist As To Whether Company Dumped Grease At Site
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on July 21 denied a defendant company's motion for partial summary judgment in a suit over cleanup costs at a Superfund site, finding that genuine disputes exist as to whether the company disposed of grease on the property (USOR Site PRP Group v. A&M Contractors, Inc., et al., No. 14-CV-2441, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114531).



ASARCO's Contribution Suit Stayed By Judge Pending Cleanup Plan's Approval
SALT LAKE CITY - A federal judge in Utah on July 11 stayed a lawsuit brought by American Smelting and Refining Co. LLC (ASARCO) seeking contribution toward $8.7 million it has spent remediating a former mining site near Park City, Utah, pending the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's approval of a cleanup plan (ASARCO LLC v. Noranda Mining Inc., No.12-cv-527 DN, D. Utah, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107957).



Court Orders EPA To Explain Use Of Surrogates For Emissions Standards
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on July 18 ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to explain to two environmental groups why the agency relied on surrogates to determine maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards for emissions of three hazardous air pollutants when implementing a final rule entered in June 2015, after denying the agency's motion to dismiss the groups' petition as untimely (Sierra Club, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 15-1246, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12842).



Judge: Court, Not Jury Will Decide Penalty For Violating Clean Air Act
PEORIA, Ill. - A federal judge in Illinois on July 18 denied a request by defendant companies seeking to have a jury decide if they should pay a civil penalty for violating the Clean Air Act (CAA), finding that the statute specifically states that the court will assess what penalty should be imposed (Natural Resources Defense Council, et al. v. Illinois Power Resources LLC, et al., No. 13-CV-1181, C.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111556).



Groups: EPA Should Be Ordered To Respond To Petition Regarding Permit Opposition
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A collection of environmental advocacy groups on July 20 filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt pursuant to the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq., contending that the agency should be ordered to reply to the groups' petition concerning Texas refinery permits (Environmental Integrity Project, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, No. 17-1439, D. D.C.).



16 Attorneys General Sue EPA Over Delay In Clean Air Standards
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The attorneys general for 15 states and the District of Columbia on Aug. 1 filed a petition for review in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, contending that the court should review the final action of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that extended the deadline for promulgating initial area designations for the 2015 ozone national ambient air quality standards (State of New York, et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 17-1185, D.C. Cir.).



Chemical Maker To Pay $950,000 Fine Over Clean Air Act Violations
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Kansas City, Kan.-based chemical manufacturer on July 31 entered into an agreement with the government in Kansas federal court in which the company agreed to pay a $950,000 civil penalty and remedy its risk management program to resolve allegations that it violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) (United States v. Harcros Chemicals Inc., No. 17-cv-02432, D. Kan.).



5th Circuit: Business Owners Cannot Seek Lost Wages Under BP Settlement
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 19 affirmed a federal judge's ruling to uphold an appeal denying individual economic loss (IEL) claims submitted by three corporate officers of an architectural firm to the Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP) for the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Class Action Settlement, finding that the terms of the agreement do not allow for double recovery because the officers' business and economic loss (BEL) claim had previously been approved (In re: Deepwater Horizon [Lake Eugene Land & Development, Inc., et al. v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc., et al.], No. 16-30457, 5th Cir.).



Pipeline Owner Can Seek Contribution Under Oil Pollution Act, Judge Rules
SALT LAKE CITY - The owner of a pipeline that leaked crude oil after it was struck by an electrical arc from another company's transition station can seek contribution under the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) for approximately $30 million in costs it incurred in remediating the spill, a federal judge in Utah ruled Aug. 4 (Chevron Pipeline Company v. Pacificorp, No. 12-CV-287, D. Utah, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123447).



N.J. Township Can Pursue Claims Against Du Pont Employee; Judge Remands Case
CAMDEN, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on July 26 remanded a township's lawsuit accusing E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co.'s Director of Corporate Remediation of violating the New Jersey Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA) by misleading the state's environmental agency about transfers of property to prevent the company from paying remediation costs in excess of $1 billion, finding that the employee was not fraudulently joined for the purpose of defeating diversity jurisdiction (Carneys Point Township v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, et al., No. 17-cv-00264-NLH-JS, D. N.J., 2017 U.S .Dist. LEXIS 117459).



Judge Remands Washington's Suit Against Monsanto Over PCB Contamination
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on July 28 granted the state's motion to remand a suit against Monsanto Co. over polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the state's water, land and wildlife, rejecting the company's argument that it manufactured the chemicals at the request of the federal government (Washington v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 17-cv-53, W.D. Wash.).



Judge Stays Cities' Suits Against Monsanto To Exhaust Administrative Remedies
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Aug. 4 stayed three lawsuits filed by cities seeking to recover damages from Monsanto Co., Solutia Inc. and Pharmacia Corp. for increased costs the cities have incurred to maintain compliance with permits for discharges of stormwater containing polychlorinated biphenyls, finding that the cities need to exhaust all administrative remedies before their federal lawsuit can proceed (City of San Jose v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-cv-03178, City of Oakland v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-cv-5152, City of Berkeley v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-cv-00071, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123673).



2nd Circuit Denies Companies' Motion For Rehearing In MTBE Litigation
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 11 denied a motion filed by oil companies seeking a rehearing regarding a June 12 ruling in which the appeals court reversed a summary judgment ruling in favor of the companies on the ground that a lawsuit brought by the Orange County Water District (OCWD) was not barred by the doctrine of res judicata (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation: Orange County Water District v. Texaco Refining and Marketing Inc. n/k/a TMR Company, No. 15-3934, 2nd Cir.).



Judge Denies Salvage Yard's Motion To Dismiss Group's Clean Water Act Suit
BOSTON - A federal judge in Massachusetts on Aug. 7 denied a salvage yard's motion to dismiss a suit brought by an environmental group accusing it of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA), ruling that the group has jurisdictional standing and that its allegations were sufficient (Clean Water Action v. Searles Auto Recycling Corp., No. 16-12067-NMG, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124207).



Magistrate Says Termination Of Permit Does Not Render Discharge Claims Moot
OAKLAND, Calif. - A federal magistrate judge in California on July 24 refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought by an environmental conservation group against the owner of a site that allegedly discharges excessive levels of polluted storm water, holding that the owner's decision to terminate a general permit does not render the group's claims moot (California Sportfishing Protection Alliance v. Shiloh Group, LLC, et al., No. 16-cv-6499-DMR, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115209).



Judge Strikes Some Of City's Defenses To Allegedly Illegal Wastewater Discharges
TAMPA, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Aug. 3 struck five affirmative defenses raised by a city accused of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) by discharging wastewater that contained excessive amounts of partially treated sewage into the Gulf of Mexico, finding that the city failed to successfully plead a defense of uncertainty and that the city could not rely on defenses for indemnification, act or omission of a third party, an act of God or war, and failure to state a claim (Suncoast Waterkeeper, et al. v. City of Gulfport, Miss., No. 17-cv-35-T-24 MAP, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122361).



Judge Limits Amount Of Attorney Fees Groups Can Recover From Railway
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on July 25 ruled that environmental groups that successfully resolved a lawsuit accusing BNSF Railway Co. of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) by allowing coal dust from railcars to migrate into waterways could recover $298,331.14 in costs but limited the amount the groups could recover for fees their attorneys charged for block billing and for litigating claims against non-BSNF parties (Sierra Club, et al. v. BNSF Railway Company, No. C13-0967-JCC, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116442).



EPA: Pharmaceutical Company To Pay $35,000 For Improper Storage Of Waste
PHILADELPHIA - A regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced July 13 that Jubilant Cadista Pharmaceuticals Inc. has agreed to pay a $35,000 penalty for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by improperly storing lab solvents and corrosive cleaner waste at its Salisbury, Md., facility.



2nd Circuit Panel Remands Judgment In Contamination Dispute For Proper Allocation
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 18 vacated and remanded a judgment entered against an insurer in an environmental contamination coverage dispute after determining that the damages must be allocated in accordance with the all sums, vertical exhaustion method outlined in a 2016 decision by the New York Court of Appeals (Olin Corp. v. OneBeacon America Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-2047, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12939).



Federal Judge Denies Insurer's Motion To Dismiss Contamination Coverage Suit
TACOMA, Wash. - A Washington federal judge on July 25 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss after determining that the insured's complaint seeking a coverage declaration for an underlying environmental contamination suit has stated a coverage claim against the insurer that is appropriate for resolution in the federal court (USNR LLC v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co., et al., No. 16-5879, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116463).



New Jersey Federal Magistrate Consolidates 2 Environmental Contamination Lawsuits
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal magistrate judge on July 14 granted an insured's motion to consolidate a subrogation lawsuit filed by a property owner against an insured and an insurance coverage lawsuit filed against the insured after determining that the suits involve common questions of law regarding subrogation of costs and coverage for a property contaminated with mercury (BRG Harrison Lofts Urban Renewal LLC v. General Electric Company, et al., and Evanston Insurance Co. v. Accredited Environmental Technologies Inc., et al., Nos. 16-6577, 17-1584, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109447).



New York Justice Finds Insurers Were Not Timely Notified Of Contamination Claim
ALBANY, N.Y. - A New York Supreme Court justice on July 11 granted a motion for summary judgment filed by two insurers in an environmental contamination suit after determining that the insurers were not timely notified of the claim filed against their insured and that no reasonable explanation was provided for the more than three-year delay in notifying the insurers of the claim (State of New York v. Diana L. Flora et al., No. L61-13, N.Y. Sup., Albany Co.).