News & Analysis as of

Environmental Claims: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Asarco LLC v. Goodwin, 756 F.3d 191 (2nd Cir. 2014) – A reorganized company (Asarco) sought contribution for payment of environmental claims from beneficiaries of trusts created under John D. Rockefeller’s will. The...more

PADEP Proposes Tough New Policy for Enforcing Oil and Gas Violations and Responding to Water Contamination Complaints

On October 3, 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“PADEP”) unveiled a new draft policy that would strengthen its compliance and enforcement protocols for both unconventional and conventional oil and...more

Studies Identify Flawed Well Construction (not Fracturing) as Source of Gas Contamination: More Questions Posed for Further...

For the past several years, the rapid growth of oil and natural gas production from shale and other unconventional sources has prompted vocal and often sensationalized concerns regarding the potential for migration of gas...more

Is Selenium the Coal Industry’s Kryptonite? Citizen Groups Obtain Summary Judgment Based on Water Quality Criteria Exceedances

Last week, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and other NGOs obtained summary judgment that Alex Energy had violated both its NPDES permit and its Surface Mining Permits due to exceedances of the West Virginia water...more

Chemical Safety Board investigator outlines discoveries from West Fertilizer, Charleston water incidents

A fertilizer plant surrounded by homes, schools, and a hospital. A chemical tank that was externally examined but not drained of liquid for a more thorough inspection. These were some of the factors that contributed to two...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

The Complexity Associated with Setting Non-cancer Indoor Air Remediation Goals for Trichloroethylene Based on Short-term Exposure...

Over the last few years, there has been increasing consideration of vapor intrusion in groundwater investigations, groundwater remedy selection, periodic reviews of the continued safety of already implemented groundwater...more

Oil and Gas Companies Ask Colorado Supreme Court to Approve Trial Court Order Requiring Plaintiffs to Present Preliminary Evidence...

On June 18th, Antero Resources Corp., Antero Resources Piceance Corp, Calfrac Well Services Corp, and Frontier Drilling LLC filed their Opening Brief before the Colorado Supreme Court in a “toxic tort” case concerning...more

Mainebiz Real Estate Insider – ABC 123: DEP Says You’re A PRP – How to avoid becoming an environmental acronym casualty

In Maine, anyone who has owned or operated an uncontrolled hazardous substance site from the time a hazardous substance was first deposited up to the present is considered by the Maine DEP to be a potentially responsible...more

Recent Cases of Note

District of New Jersey Denies Class Certification in Title Insurance Case on Grounds of Ascertainability - In the latest in a series of decisions from courts in the Third Circuit regarding ascertainability of a...more

Toxic Tort and Environmental Litigation: Third Department Clarifies Scope of Recoverable Medical Monitoring Damages in Waterborne...

On the heels of the Court of Appeals’ landmark decision rejecting an independent cause of action for medical monitoring in Caronia v. Phillip Morris USA, on February 20, 2014, the Third Department decided Ivory v. IBM. Ivory...more

What Defense Counsel Can Learn From The W.Va. Spill

For the companies and their lawyers, the headlines were awful and kept getting worse: 300,000 people suffering without drinking water; changes in corporate ownership just days before the chemical spill; and accusations that a...more

City Not Required to Analyze Impacts of Existing Soil Contamination

In Parker Shattuck Neighbors v. Berkeley City Council, the Court of Appeal determined that impacts from existing soil contamination on a project’s construction workers or future occupants was not an environmental impact under...more

Contaminated but Remediated Soil and Cortese Listing Does Not Compel Preparation of EIR

As 2013 came to a close, the California court of appeal in Parker Shattuck Neighbors v. Berkeley City Council (1st Dist., Div. 4, 12/30/13, A136873) ___Cal.App.1st___, 2013, upheld the City of Berkeley’s decision not to...more

West Virginia Chemical Spill Likely to Bring Oil and Chemical Inspections and Perhaps Regulatory Changes for Facilities with Large...

Last Thursday residents of Kanawha County reported a foul licorice odor in the air. State and local officials traced the smell to a leak from a 35,000-gallon above ground storage tank along the Elk River. The chemical had...more

First District “Doubts” CEQA Operates In Reverse, Upholds Mitigated Negative Declaration For Urban Infill Project Despite Soil and...

In an opinion recently ordered published, the First District Court of Appeal extensively reviewed the relevant case law and expressed skepticism that CEQA would operate in reverse to require analysis of potential impacts on a...more

Ninth Circuit Opinion Highlights Vapor Intrusion Risks and Challenges Faced by Brownfields Developers and Their Lenders

A recent ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit illustrates the challenges faced by developers of contaminated properties and their lenders, as well as the extraordinary risks associated with...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - July 25, 2013

Environmental and Policy Focus: Interior Chief defends federal hydraulic fracturing regulations -- Bloomberg - Jul 18: Interior Secretary Sally Jewell drew on her experience as a former oil-industry engineer to defend...more

Time-Barred Claim? Fourth Circuit Invalidates State Statute of Repose in Contamination Cases

On July 10, 2013, a divided panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERLCA or Superfund), the federal law redressing disposal of...more

Missouri To Pilot Reforms To Corrective Action Clean-Up Program

Businesses involved in clean-up of environmentally contaminated sites often face a time-consuming and expensive process. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency will pilot reforms...more

Q&A With Bilzin Sumberg's Howard Nelson

Originally Published in Law360 on March 28, 2013. Howard Nelson, chairman of the environmental practice group at Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP, has experience in environmental and land use law and zoning and...more

EPA Revises Guidance Regarding Tentants As Bona Fide Prospective Purchasers

On December 5, 2012, EPA issued new guidance discussing the potential applicability of the bona fide prospective purchaser (BFPP) protection to tenants....more

EPA Revised Guidance Encourages Renewable Energy and Other Industry Development on Contaminated Properties

On December 5, 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued revised guidance regarding whether lessees of contaminated or formerly contaminated property may claim protection from liability under the...more

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