News & Analysis as of

Is Superfund a Machine for Manufacturing Tea Party Members?

A group of PRPs received an oversight cost bill pursuant to a CERCLA consent decree. (The following details are intentionally vague to protect both the innocent and the guilty.) The bill was for several hundred thousand...more

CERCLA Statute of Limitations Applies To Contribution Claims By A Party to a Private Settlement

Sometimes cases seem to be deciding issues that are so obvious it’s hard to figure out why they get any serious attention from the courts. One such case is ASARCO, LLC v. Celanese Chemical Company recently decided by the...more

EPA Takes Positions on Vapor Intrusion

In a busy day for vapor intrusion, last week the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency made several announcements about vapor intrusion. First, it announced it had submitted a draft rule to the White House OMB seeking to...more

Superfund Divisibility Defense Gets New Life

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund, is a federal law under which contaminated sites are identified and evaluated by the Environmental Protection...more

PRPs May Want To Dig In With Divisibility Defense

In a victory for potentially responsible parties at multiparty contamination sites, a federal district court in U.S. v. NCR Corp., No. 10-C-910 (E.D. Wis. May 15, 2015), held a PRP established that environmental harm at a...more

District Court Imposes Divisibility Cap on Superfund Liability

A Wisconsin district court has ruled that NCR Corporation’s liability for contamination in the Fox River is limited to NCR’s share of contamination contributed to the river....more

Dividing CERCLA Site Just Won't Cut It On Liability

In an order on March 3, U.S. District Judge William C. Griesbach, who is presiding over the long-running Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act litigation concerning the Lower Fox River and...more

CERCLA’s Confusion Between Section 107 and Section 113

Over a decade after the Supreme Court’s decision in Cooper Industries v. Aviall, the divide between CERCLA Section 107 cost recovery claims and Section 113 contribution claims remains unsettled. PRPs incurring response costs...more

Is It Too Late to Just Throw Superfund to the Curb?

Last week, Judge Paul Borman of the Eastern District of Michigan, allowed a motion by the United States for judgment on the pleadings, dismissing a third-party complaint brought against the United States by Michigan...more

CERCLA Cost Recovery v. Contribution Again: It’s Still Unfair

Parties in CERCLA cases continue to deal with the consequences of the Supreme Court decisions in Aviall and Atlantic Research which essentially created two classes of PRPs: (1) PRPs who entered into CERCLA settlements with...more

Superfund Rant For a New Congress

So the new Congress will be controlled by the GOP. The House and Senate will consider various bills to reign in EPA authority. Here’s one relatively modest suggestion for congressional consideration: amend CERCLA to limit...more

CERCLA Preempts Local Cleanup Bylaws; PRPs Everywhere Breath a Sigh of Relief

In an important decision yesterday, Judge Douglas Woodlock of the District of Massachusetts confirmed that CERCLA preempts local cleanup bylaws. The case involved one aspect of the cleanup of the W.R. Grace Superfund Site in...more

Importance of Judicial Approval of CERCLA Settlements

Before a Superfund settlement becomes enforceable, it must be reviewed by a federal court to confirm that it is fair, reasonable, and consistent with CERCLA’s objectives. This judicial review is at the heart of CERCLA’s...more

Oregon’s Statute of Repose May Block Common Law Environmental Claims

Oregon’s 10-year statute of repose may now play a bigger role in environmental lawsuits in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA),...more

Is Death A Defense To CERCLA Liability?

In contrast to the early days of Superfund when no argument for extending CERCLA liability was too far-fetched, the Second Circuit recently rejected one of the all-time “Hail Mary” passes for CERCLA contribution. The case,...more

EPA Proposes Clarification on CERCLA’s “All Appropriate Inquiry” Standard

Step by step, inch by inch. Slowly but diligently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been working to clarify what standards and practices may be used for conducting “all appropriate inquiries” (AAI) under the...more

US Appeals Court Lights A Match On Issue Of Government Reimbursement For WWII Aviation Gasoline Waste Disposal

Two weeks ago the United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit re-opened the door to recovery of Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA") cleanup costs under contractual provisions...more

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 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

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