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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.).



High Court Denies New Mexico's Request To Sue Colorado Over Mine Spill
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court voted 7-2 on June 26 to deny New Mexico's motion for leave to file a bill of complaint against Colorado over the Aug. 5, 2015, Gold King Mine disaster, which resulted in the release of more than 3 million gallons of toxic mine sludge and wastewater into the Animas and San Juan rivers (New Mexico v. Colorado, No. 220147-ORG, U.S. Sup.).



Judge: Successor To Operator Of Zinc Smelter Can Face CERCLA Liability
TULSA, Okla. - A federal judge in Oklahoma on June 20 ruled that the successors to the owner of a former zinc smelting facility can face liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act for fugitive air emissions that resulted in contamination at a nearby town (Cyprus Amax Minerals Company v. TCI Pacific Communications, Inc., No. 11-CV-0252-CVE-PJC, N.D. Okla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94682).



Judge Dismisses Monsanto's Amended Counterclaims Seeking Cost Recovery
SPOKANE, Wash. - A federal judge in Washington on July 10 dismissed amended counterclaims asserted by Monsanto Co., Pharmacia Corp. and Solutia Inc. (collectively, Monsanto) seeking cost recovery from the city of Spokane for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the Spokane River, finding that the new allegations did not remedy the deficiencies in the original counterclaims (City of Spokane v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-CV-00201-SMJ, E.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106136).



Judge: Petroleum Exclusion Does Not Apply To Oil In Wastewater
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on June 29 denied a defendant company's motion for summary judgment and awarded summary judgment sua sponte to a plaintiff group seeking cost recovery and contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), after finding that the act's petroleum exclusion does not apply to oil that becomes mixed with other substances in wastewater (USOR Site PRP Group v. LEI Rone Engineers Ltd., et al., No. 14-cv-2441, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101418).



Judge: Limestone Seller Is Not Corporate Successor To Mining Company
ROANOKE, Va. - A federal judge in Virginia on June 9 awarded partial summary judgment to a limestone seller after finding that it is not a corporate successor to a mining company under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (Dixon Lumber Company v. Austinville Limestone Company, Inc., No. 16-cv-00130, W.D. Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88642).



Judge Finds Land Owner Liable For Groundwater Contamination
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on July 6 found that the owner of a site in Elmira, Calif., was jointly and severally liable for groundwater contamination under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and that damages should be awarded at a later date (California Department of Toxic Substances Control v. David Van Over, No. 14-0595, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106814).



Judge Approves Settlement For Cleanup Of Contaminated Sites In California Port
SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on June 20 granted a motion filed by two companies accused of contaminating two sites in the San Diego Port to approve a settlement to resolve claims brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) seeking to recover response costs incurred in investigating and remediating the properties (San Diego Unified Port District v. General Dynamics Corporation, No. 07-cv-01955-BAS, San Diego Unified Port District v. Lockheed Martin Corporation, No. 16-cv-02026-BAS, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95076).



High Court Refuses To Review Ruling On Emissions Standards During Malfunction
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 26 refused to review a ruling by a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel that affirmed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision to not implement emissions standards for periods when a point source is malfunctioning but granted requests from the Washington Legal Foundation and Southeast Legal Foundation to file amicus curiae briefs (American Municipal Power v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 16-1168, U.S. Sup.).



4th Circuit: Judge Lacked Jurisdiction Over Coal Jobs Loss Suit
RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 29 ruled that a federal court in West Virginia lacked jurisdiction over a lawsuit brought by coal companies contending that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had failed to undertake a nondiscretionary duty under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to evaluate how the statute was affecting jobs in the industry, finding that a "court is ill-equipped to supervise this continuous, ongoing process" (Murray Energy Corp., et al. v. Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, No. 16-2432, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11612).



States Seek To Intervene To Override EPA Stay Of Methane Emissions Rule
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The attorneys general for 14 states and the attorney for the city of Chicago on June 20 moved in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to intervene in a lawsuit brought by environmental advocacy groups against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in connection with the EPA's announcement that it is reconsidering rules on the fugitive emissions of methane (Clean Air Council, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, et al., No. 17-1145. D.C. Cir.).



Judge Adopts Recommendation To Dismiss Landowner's Suit Over Neighbor's Emissions
DENVER - A federal judge in Colorado on June 7 adopted a magistrate judge's recommendation to dismiss a couple's claims that the emissions from a neighbor's coal-fired boiler located on the Southern Ute Tribal Reservation violated the opacity standards of the Clean Air Act (CAA) after overruling the plaintiffs' argument that the statute sets those standards (Karen Nakayama, et al. v. Jennifer L. Sanders, et al., No. 17-cv-0285-WJM-NYW, D. Colo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87031).



Federal, State Agencies Sue Company For Emissions Of Volatile Organic Compounds
DENVER - The U.S. government and the state of Colorado filed a lawsuit in Colorado federal court on June 26, alleging that a power company is in violation the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. 7401, and other statutes with regard to the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (United States of America, et al. v. PDC Energy, Inc., No. 17-1552, D. Colo.).



Colorado Bottling Company To Install Emission Controls To Resolve Violations
DENVER - A Colorado bottling company on June 26 entered into an agreement with the federal government and the state of Colorado in which it would install controls to limit emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide and pay a $475,000 civil penalty to resolve allegations that it was violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) (United States of America, et al. v. Rocky Mountain Bottle Company LLC, No. 17-cv-1554, D. Colo.).



D.C. Circuit Trims EPA Rule Regulating Sham Recycling
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A 2-1 panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 7 struck portions of a 2015 rule implemented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designed to cut down on "sham recycling," a tactic some companies claim to use to say that materials actually get discarded, finding that some parts of the rule were "draconian" (American Petroleum Institute, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 09-1038, consolidated with 15-1083, 15-1085, 15-1088, 15-1089, 15-1094, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12142).



3M Denies Groundwater Claims, Even As It Maintains That No Response Is Needed
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - 3M Co. on June 14 filed a brief in Alabama federal court denying liability for groundwater contamination and contending that the claims brought against it under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), 42 U.S.C. 6901et seq., for "imminent and substantial endangerment" do not require a response, but if it were to respond, the company denies the allegations (Tennessee Riverkeeper Inc. v. 3M Company, et al., No. 16-1029, N.D. Ala.).



5th Circuit Denies BP's Request For En Banc Review Of Methodologies
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 21 denied BP Exploration & Production Inc.'s request for en banc review of a May 23 ruling that four Industry Specific Methodologies (ISMs) for calculating claimant compensation under the Court Supervised Settlement Program for the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Class Action Settlement are inconsistent with the agreement (In re: Deepwater Horizon, No. 15-30377, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11040).



D.C. Circuit Court Denies Gas Company's Appeal Over Agency's Delayed Decision
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 23 ruled that a gas company has no standing to appeal a New York agency's failure to address its application for a permit documenting that its pipeline will satisfy the standards of the Clean Water Act because the agency's delay has not caused the company to suffer an injury (Millennium Pipeline Company, LLC v. Basil Seggos, et al., No. 16-1415, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11157).



Judge Dismisses Property Management Companies' CWA Claims Against City
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Three companies that own, lease and manage properties on Crown Street in New Haven, Conn., cannot pursue claims that the New Haven Regional Water Pollution Control Authority (RWPCA) and the city of New Haven violated the Clean Water Act (CWA), a federal judge in Connecticut ruled July 11, holding that the plaintiff companies lacked standing (26 Crown Street Associates LLC, et al. v. Greater New Haven Regional Water Pollution Control Authority, et al., No. 15-cv-1439, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106989).



Judge Dismisses Group's Suit Over Company's Storm Water Discharges
BOSTON - An environmental group's Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit against a company that crushes brick, concrete and asphalt for construction projects was dismissed by a federal judge in Massachusetts on June 16 after he found that the group failed to allege how the company was illegally discharging storm water into the Bogastow Brook (Conservation Law Foundation, Inc. v. American Recycled Materials, Inc., No. 16-12451-RGS, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92803).



Judge Denies Man's Motion For New Trial Over Oil Discharges From Boat
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on June 19 denied a man's request for a new trial over his alleged violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA), finding that the prosecution did not engage in misconduct during closing arguments and that the evidence supported the jury's verdict (United States of America v. Bingham Fox, et al., No. 16-cr-100-RSL, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93985).



Home Builder Agrees To Pay Penalty, Obtain Permits For Storm Water Discharges
NEWARK, N.J. - NVR Inc., doing business as Ryan Homes, on June 15 agreed to pay a $425,000 civil penalty and agreed to obtain National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits to resolve allegations from the federal government that the home builder was violating the Clean Water Act (United States of America v. NVR, Inc., No. 17cv4346, D. N.J.).



Panel Reverses, Remands MTBE Case; Requirements Of Res Judicata Not Met
NEW YORK - A panel of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 12 vacated and remanded a summary judgment ruling in a groundwater contamination lawsuit brought by a California water district against oil and gasoline companies on grounds that a district court's res judicata ruling was not appropriate because privity was not established (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation: Orange County Water District v. Texaco Refining and Marketing Inc. n/ka TMR Company, No. 15-3934, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10412).



Companies Seek Rehearing Of MTBE Ruling In 2nd Circuit, Say Reversal Was Incorrect
NEW YORK - A group of oil and gasoline companies on June 26 filed a petition in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking rehearing of a case in the multidistrict litigation for methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), arguing that a lower court's res judicata ruling was appropriate and that privity had been established between two California state agencies (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation: Orange County Water District v. Texaco Refining and Marketing Inc. n/ka TMR Company, No. 15-3934, 2nd Cir.).



2 Shipping Companies Agree To Pay $1.9M Over Illegal Discharges Of Oily Water
BEAUMONT, Texas - Two international shipping companies pleaded guilty in Texas federal court on June 20 to counts of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and obstruction of justice for covering up the illegal dumping of oil-contaminated bilge water and garbage from one of their ships into the sea and agreed to pay a $1.9 million penalty (United States of America v. Thome Ship Management PTE, Ltd., et al., No. 17cr75).



6th Circuit Majority Says Settlement Agreement Applies To Only 1 Battery Plant
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority on June 30 reversed a district court's finding that a 1989 settlement agreement regarding environmental cleanup costs bars all potential claims for environmental contamination arising out of two of the insured's battery plants after determining that the settlement agreement pertains only to coverage for one of the battery plants (Employers Insurance of Wausau, et al. v. McGraw Edison Company, No. 16-1264, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11773).



Insurer Owes Defense To Insureds For Environmental Contamination Suit, Judge Says
HOUSTON - An insurer has a duty to defend its insureds in an underlying environmental contamination suit because the policy's exclusions for pollution and use of an auto do not apply to bar coverage, a Texas federal judge said July 7 in granting the insureds' motion for summary judgment (USA Environment, L.P. et al., v. American International Specialty Lines Insurance Co. n/k/a AIG Specialty Insurance Co., No. 16-2216, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104962).



Federal Judge Says Claims Related To Environmental Remediation Not Timely Filed
BECKLEY, W.Va. - A West Virginia federal judge on July 7 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment in an environmental remediation coverage suit after determining that the insured's claims for breach of contract and bad faith were not filed within the applicable statute of limitations (R.T. Rogers Oil Company Inc. v. Zurich American Insurance Company, No. 16-1390, S.D. W.Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105150).