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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).



2nd Circuit Refuses To Overturn Ruling That Lessees Were Not Site Owners
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 11 refused to overturn the ruling in Commander Oil Corp. v. Barlo Equip. Corp., 215 F.3d 321, 329 (2000), which sets out when a lessee can be considered an owner of a property under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) to reverse a federal judge in New York's decision to award summary judgment to defendant companies accused of contaminating a property with perchloroethylene (PCE) (Next Millenium Realty, LLC, et al. v. Adchem Corp., et al., No. 16-1260-CV, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8476).



9th Circuit Upholds Ruling Finding Government Did Not Arrange Waste Disposal
SEATTLE - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 25 affirmed a ruling that the federal government could not be held liable as an arranger under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) for the disposal of hazardous waste at a former mining site in Idaho, holding that while the government knew that hazardous substances were being stored on the property, it did not intend for them to be disposed of (United States of America v. Federal Resources Corporation, et al., No. 15-35192, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9151).



Judge Says Agreements Barred Greyhound's CERCLA, Toxic Control Act Claims
PHOENIX - A federal judge in Arizona on May 30 ruled that agreements between Greyhound Lines Inc. (GLI) and the seller of a property in Seattle barred the bus company's claims for damages under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and Washington's Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) and that GLI failed to ask the seller to contribute to the remediation of contamination caused by leaks from underground storage tanks (USTs) in a timely manner (Greyhound Lines, Inc. v. Viad Corporation, No. CV-15-01820-PHX-DGC, D. Ariz., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84657).



Judge: Site Owner Can Seek $2M In Damages For Contamination Cleanup
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The current owners of a steel manufacturing site in Fort Wayne can attempt to recover $2 million in cleanup costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), a federal judge in Indiana ruled May 12 following phase I of a trial over remediation of the property (Valbruna Slater Steel Corporation, et al. v. Joslyn Manufacturing Company, et al., No. 10-cv-44-JD, N.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73188).



Residents: Groundwater Case Against Fire-Suppressant Foam Makers, Sellers Valid
PHILADELPHIA - A group of Pennsylvania residents on May 22 filed a brief in Pennsylvania federal court arguing that their groundwater contamination lawsuit against a group of chemical companies should not be dismissed because their claims are "proper" and are not barred by the doctrine of primary jurisdiction (Hanah Bates, et al. v. 3M Company, et al., No. 16-4961, E.D. Pa.).



5th Circuit: Some Methods Of Calculating Claims Are Inconsistent With Agreement
NEW ORLEANS - 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, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 22, finding that the methods allow the claims administrator to remove revenue from the requested compensation period and spread it throughout noncompensation months (In re Deepwater Horizon: Lake Eugene Land & Development, Inc. et al. v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc., et al., No. 15-30377, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8915).



5th Circuit: Shrimp Processor Was A Failed Business, Should Repay $1M Payout
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 12 affirmed a federal judge in Louisiana's ruling ordering a shrimp-processing company to repay more than $1 million it received from the Deepwater Horizon Economic Claims Center (DHECC), finding that the company misrepresented that it was not a failed business in order to receive the payout (In re Deepwater Horizon: Crystal Seafood Company, Inc. v. Patrick A. Juneau, No. 16-30717, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8463).



5th Circuit: Administrator Did Not Misapply Agreement When Denying Grocer's Claim
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana did not abuse his discretion when refusing to review the denial of a food grocer's claim for $2.4 million under the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Class Action Settlement, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 18, holding that the claims administrator did not misapply or contradict the terms of the settlement by allowing program accountants to calculate the grocer's monthly profits and losses (Claimant ID 100217021 v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc., et al., No. 16-30930, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8770).



EPA Says Court Did Not Err When Denying Emissions Standard Challenge
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on May 23 told the nation's high court that a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel properly deferred to its expertise as an agency when denying a group's challenge to a rule that does not set emissions standards for periods when a source is malfunctioning (American Municipal Power, Inc. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 16-1168, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs 1743).



D.C. Circuit Court Says EPA Correctly Withheld Records Obtained From Power Plants
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 30 ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency properly withheld production of financial records obtained from a number of power plants in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from three environmental groups, finding that Exemption 4 of the FOIA supersedes a provision of the Clean Water Act (CWA) that would allow disclosure of the information (Environmental Integrity Project, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 16-5109, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9332).



Man Sufficiently Alleged Injury In Suit Over Pesticide Use, Judge Says
TOLEDO, Ohio - A federal judge in Ohio on May 30 denied a motion to dismiss a man's Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit over a sanitary district's use of mosquito-killing pesticides, finding that while his notice of intent to sue was deficient, he sufficiently alleged an injury-in-fact and redressability (Matt Cooper v. Toledo Area Sanitary District, No. 16-cv-1698, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82193).



Judge Finds Some Discharges From Mining Company Violated Permits
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on May 26 ruled that environmental groups sufficiently showed that a mining company's discharges of ionic pollution into two waterways violated the narrative water quality standards allowed by permits issued to the company under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and that the company's discharges into a larger waterway were legal (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Fola Coal Company, LLC, No. 15-1371, S.D. W.Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81593).



Group, Nearby Residents Sufficiently State Claims Over Discharges, Have Standing
MACON, Ga. - An environmental group and individuals owning property near a facility operated by a protective fabrics manufacturer sufficiently stated claims that the company's use of a land application system (LAS) to treat industrial wastewater is in violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and have standing to bring a citizen suit under the statute, a federal judge in Georgia ruled May 12 in denying the company's motion to dismiss (Flint Riverkeeper, Inc. v. Southern Mills Inc., d/b/a Tencate Protective Fabrics, No. 16-CV-435, M.D. Ga., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72574).



Judge Stays Clean Water Act Suit Pending Hearing Board Proceedings
SEATTLE - An environmental group's Clean Water Act lawsuit claiming that a cargo terminal and distribution facility is discharging excessive amounts of pollutants into waterways in Tacoma, Wash., was stayed May 18 by a federal judge in Washington, who found that a proceeding involving the defendant company and the Washington Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) could impact the case (Puget Soundkeeper Alliance v. APM Terminals Tacoma, LLC, No. C17-5016 BHS, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74653).



Magistrate Recommends Approving Settlement Of Suit Over Stormwater Discharges
NEW YORK - A federal magistrate judge in New York on May 30 recommended approving a settlement of a lawsuit between an environmental group and defendants accused violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) by discharging stormwater without a permit, finding that the agreement furthers the objectives of the statute (Raritan Baykeeper, Inc. v. Flag Container Services, Inc., et al., No. 16-CV-4634, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83426).



ConocoPhillips To Pay $39M To Settle MTBE Lawsuit
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on May 23 approved a $39 million settlement deal under which ConocoPhillips, a defendant in the multidistrict litigation for groundwater contamination from methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), will be released from the litigation (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation, No. 00-1898, MDL 1358, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Atlantic Richfield Company, No. 08-0312, S.D. N.Y.).



Judge Says Former Gas Station Operator Can Sue Estate For Cleanup Costs
TACOMA, Wash. - Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) can file a third-party complaint against the estate of a man who formerly owned the site of a gas station he and his wife leased to the company so it can seek a claim for contribution under the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) because it does not need to incur costs for remedial actions before filing suit, a federal judge in Washington ruled June 7 (Wakefield Family, LLC v. Atlantic Richfield Company, No. C17-5114-RBL, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87520).



Panel Partially Reverses, Says Groundwater Claim Valid Against Northrop Grumman
SAN DIEGO - A California appeals panel on June 1 reversed a ruling on groundwater contamination liability and concluded that it was "undisputed" that manufacturing sites operated by Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. contributed to groundwater contamination in a lawsuit brought against multiple defendants by a California municipal water authority (Orange County Water District v. Alcoa Global Fasteners Inc., et al., No. D070771, Calif. App, 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 503).



Consumers Sue GM, Parts Maker Over Emissions Defeat Device
DETROIT - Consumers of diesel-model Silverado and Sierra trucks made by General Motors LLC from 2011 to 2016 filed a class action May 25 in Michigan federal court against the automaker and the manufacturer of a part that allegedly allows the vehicles to cheat emissions tests, claiming that the car maker misrepresented the vehicles' fuel economy and emission levels (Andrei Fenner, et al. v. General Motors, LLC, et al., No. 17-cv-11661, E.D. Mich.).



6th Circuit Majority Says Agreement Barred Future Claims For Cleanup Costs
CINCINNATI - The majority of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 1 affirmed a district court's ruling that a 1994 settlement agreement bars coverage for any future claims arising out of coverage for environmental cleanup costs incurred by the insured at a Superfund site in Texas (Arrowood Indemnity Company v. Lubrizol Corporation, No. 16-3463, 6th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9854).



New Jersey High Court Remands Environmental Coverage Dispute
TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Supreme Court on May 19 remanded an environmental contamination coverage case to allow the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division to reconsider its ruling regarding a successor company's rights under its predecessor's insurance policies in light of the high court's February 2017 ruling in a similar environmental contamination suit that also addressed the assignment of policy rights (Haskell Properties LLC v. The American Insurance Co., et al., No. 078210, N.J. Sup.).



Insurer Must Pay For Remediation Services Rendered On Behalf Of Its Insured
OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma federal judge on May 12 entered judgment against an insurer after determining that the insurer is required to pay for remediation services rendered on behalf of its insured and may seek reimbursement from its insured if it believes the services are not covered under the policy at issue (Environmental Cleanup Inc. v. Ruiz Transport LLC, et al., No. 15-867, W.D. Okla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72707).