News & Analysis as of

Time-Barred Claim . . . Or Is It? Supreme Court Agrees To Review Fourth Circuit State Statute of Repose Case

As reported on the Ogletree Deakins Environmental Law blog in July of 2013, a divided panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERLCA or...more

The New Environmental Due Diligence Standard Saga Continues

To supplement our prior blog posts with respect to this issue, on December 30, 2013, the USEPA published a final rule (“Final Rule”) adopting the ASTM E1527-13 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments, Phase I...more

Texas Environmental Update - January 2014

We are pleased to provide you with this issue of Bracewell's Texas Environmental Update, offering the latest news about permitting, enforcement, regulatory developments, and other matters of interest to the regulated...more

The Emerging Non-Expansive View of CERCLA Liability: The Decline of Tanglewood East

The specter of environmental harm used to frighten courts and spawned a generation of decisions extending Superfund liability to virtually any party with a nexus to a site that was contaminated. One case that signaled just...more

Revised Phase I Environmental Assessment Standard Issued

On November 6, 2013, ASTM International issued its revised Phase I Environmental Assessment Standard, E1527-13, “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process.” Perhaps...more

EPA Approves New Assessment Standards For CERCLA Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser Defense

On December 30, 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule relating to the bona fide prospective purchaser defense to CERCLA. EPA has authorized prospective purchasers of real estate to...more

EPA Calls for New “Completion Strategies” at Contaminated Groundwater Sites

October 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its draft “Groundwater Remedy Completion Strategy – Moving Forward with Completion in Mind,” which would establish a recommended strategy for an adaptive...more

Be Careful What You Look For: EPA Updates “All Appropriate Inquiries” Environmental Diligence Standard

On December 30, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) amended its “All Appropriate Inquiries” rule, which sets out the standard for environmental due diligence in commercial and industrial property...more

EPA Recognizes New Standard for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments in Real Estate Transactions

Effective December 30, 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has amended its regulations for site assessments in real estate transactions to add a new standard, ASTM E1527-13, as satisfying the agency’s requirements...more

Enforcing CERCLA’s Three Year Statute of Limitations for Removal Actions

Although courts are sometimes reluctant to enforce them, there really are hard stops in CERCLA, particularly the three year statute of limitations for recovery of costs incurred in a removal action. ...more

EPA Announces Approval of New Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Standard

On December 30, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that, effective immediately, it was amending the rule impacting the type of due diligence necessary to avoid Superfund liability as a prospective...more

EPA Amends All Appropriate Inquiries Rule To Clarify Best Practices

The EPA has amended its "All Appropriate Inquiries" Rule (AAI Rule) to reference the recently published ASTM International E1527–13 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment...more

EPA Issues Rule Approving New ASTM E1527-13 Standard For All Appropriate Inquiries

On December 30, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its final rule approving the use of ASTM International’s revised “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site...more

EPA Rule Adopts Revised ASTM Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Standard as Alternative Means to Conduct All Appropriate...

The United States Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule on December 30, 2013, endorsing ASTM E1527-13, “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process,” as an...more

North Carolina Statute of Repose Preempted by Superfund Discovery Rule

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Court recently ruled that North Carolina’s statutes of repose and limitations is trumped by Superfund’s discovery rule, under which the limitation period for filing a...more

When Is An Arranger Not An Arranger? When It Sells Some Good Stuff Along With The Junk

As Superfund lawyers know, the Supreme Court decision in Burlington Northern required proof of an intent to dispose hazardous substances as a prerequisite to imposition of arranger liability. While lower courts have often...more

House Subcommittee Approves Coal Ash Legislation And Proposals To Modify Superfund

The Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy of the Energy and Commerce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation on June 6, to direct the regulation and management of coal combustion ash...more

What To Do When You Are Issued A CERCLA Injunction To Perform A $1.5 Billion Cleanup — Lower Fox River Superfund Update

In a 78 page decision in the Lower Fox River Superfund case issued last month, the federal court issued an injunction against NCR Corp. and three other PRPs requiring them to perform a $1.5 billion remedy. No company ever...more

Which Is Worse? EPA Oversight or Citizen Oversight?

Everyone who represents PRPs in Superfund settlements has his or her own horror stories regarding the scope of EPA’s oversight cost claims. We all know that oversight costs can end up as an appreciable percentage of total...more

Fourth Circuit Brownfields Decision Stops Short Of Worst-Case Outcome

In a closely watched Superfund case decided April 4, 2013, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals interpreted the scope of landowner liability protections Congress put in place in 2002 to "promote the cleanup and reuse of...more

PCS Nitrogen Inc. v. Ashley II of Charleston: Required Reading for Superfund Lawyers

The Fourth Circuit handed down a primer on CERCLA liability last week in PCS Nitrogen Inc. v. Ashley II of Charleston. It should be required reading for Superfund lawyers. The facts in the case are worthy of a law school law...more

CERCLA’s Act of War Defense — Potential Collateral Damage

For the first time in CERCLA’s history, a court has concluded that a Superfund claim was barred by the ”act of war” defense. In that case, In Re September 11 Litigation, the judge ruled that a property owner a block from...more

Rhode Island Cleans Up Problematic Superfund Precedent That Undermined Federal Settlements

The U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island has vacated its 2010 summary judgment decision in Ashland Inc. v. GAR Electroforming, 729 F. Supp. 2d 526 (D.R.I. 2010), just days after receiving an amicus memorandum...more

Unstated Rule on Superfund Liability for Sale of a Usable Product — One Year Later

Exactly a year ago, I posted a blog that argued that the decisions on Superfund liability for the sale of usable product could be distilled down to an ”unstated rule” — a party will be held liable as having intended to...more

EPA Lifts Threat of CERCLA Liability for Some Tenants of Brownfields

Tenants who lease currently or formerly contaminated property can now benefit from protections from cleanup liability that were once available only to purchasers of such property. EPA announced its new policy in a December...more

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