News & Analysis as of

Contaminated Properties Superfund

Superfund Changes Afoot

Since taking over as EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt has made it clear that he intends to focus on—and overhaul—the Superfund program. Calling the program “at the center of the Agency’s core mission”, Pruitt has put in place...more

Cleaning Up the Cleanup Process? Administration’s Power Shift Increases Uncertainty to Superfund

In May, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took several steps that are likely to refocus the Agency’s attention from greenhouse gas emission reductions and other novel uses of existing environmental laws to more...more

A New Budget, a New EPA Administrator, and New Uncertainty for Superfund Cleanups

by Miles & Stockbridge P.C. on

When Scott Pruitt took over the post as Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), he made it clear that one of his top priorities was to expedite cleanups at contaminated sites across the...more

Superfund Reform, Part 2: Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Last week, I offered less than fulsome praise of EPA Administrator Pruitt’s announcement that he was taking control of remedial decision for big Superfund sites. Now, he’s followed up with a memorandum announcing...more

EPA Centralizes CERCLA Remedy Selection Authority

by WilmerHale on

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt last week issued a memorandum revising the existing delegations of authority related to implementation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response,...more

How to Effectively Manage Vapor Intrusion Risks When Acquiring and Developing Property

With increasing concern and attention being raised by regulatory agencies and the public on protecting building occupants from exposure to vapor intrusion (VI)-related contaminants, parties acquiring and developing property...more

Environmental Notes - December 2016

by Williams Mullen on

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) has clarified its approach to issuing “no further action” letters (“NFAs”) for sites with both petroleum and non-petroleum contamination. This clarified approach will...more

GAO Audits EPA’s Management of Superfund Sites

by Miles & Stockbridge P.C. on

In May 2015, U.S. Senators Rounds and Inhofe of the Committee on Environment and Public Works submitted a request to U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) to “review EPA’s efforts to clean up sites with contaminated...more

EPA Eases Path to Superfund Listing: Vapor Intrusion Component Added to the Hazardous Ranking System

by Seyfarth Shaw LLP on

Seyfarth Synopsis: With the EPA adding the consideration of vapor intrusion in its Superfund site investigations, hundreds of sites that previously would not rank high enough to qualify for listing on the National Priorities...more

Due Process Required for Environmental Remedy Selection: Appellate Division Rules NYSDEC Must Afford Responsible Parties an...

by Hodgson Russ LLP on

Hodgson Russ LLP and Greenberg Traurig LLP successfully challenged the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (NYSDEC) ability to implement a remedy without first providing a party an opportunity for a...more

Ninth Circuit Rejects CERCLA Liability for Air Emissions

by Morrison & Foerster LLP on

Do air emissions of hazardous substances create a cleanup liability under the Superfund? In the closely watched case of Pakootas, et al. v. Teck Cominco Metals, Ltd., the Ninth Circuit said, “no,” becoming the highest court...more

EPA Region III Assesses Largest Superfund Stipulated Penalty Ever

by Williams Mullen on

The Rodale Manufacturing facility in Emmaus, Pennsylvania was added to the National Priorities List in 1991 after more than 50 years of electrical component manufacturing. Operations at the facility included electroplating,...more

Texas Court of Appeals Issues Important State Superfund Order

In a “case of first impression,” U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit,texascapitol sitting in Austin, in TCEQ v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., issued an important decision interpreting the scope of the Texas Solid...more

Selling Property “As Is” Won’t Protect Seller From Superfund Liability

by Williams Mullen on

Everyone is familiar with the two little words - “as is” - that pop up in real estate contracts. The “as is” clause is a means of allocating risk between seller and buyer. Generally, a seller who sells property “as is” will...more

EPA Seeks to Add Subsurface Intrusion to CERCLA Hazard Ranking System

by Williams Mullen on

The National Priorities List (“NPL”) is EPA’s list of the most contaminated sites in the country that warrant cleanup under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, (“CERCLA” a/k/a...more

Stop the Presses. Superfund is Stupid.

I know that pointing out CERCLA’s stupidity has something of a dog bites man quality, but sometimes Superfund’s stupidity bears repeating. Today’s exhibit? New York v. Next Millenium Realty, in which Judge Feuerstein held –...more

EPA Proposes to Add Vapor Intrusion Pathway Assessment to Superfund Listing System

Last week, we wrote about an audit that MassDEP is conducting of previously closed sites to look for high concentrations of TCE in soils and groundwater. The intent of the audit is to address potential vapor intrusion. The...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - January 2016

by Allen Matkins on

Environmental and Policy Focus - Gov. Brown declares state of emergency over natural gas leak - San Diego Union Tribune - Jan 6 - California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Wednesday over a...more

Superfund Divisibility Defense Gets New Life

by Robinson & Cole LLP on

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

by Blank Rome LLP on

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

Court at the Fox River Site Opens Door to Superfund Divisibility

by Davis Wright Tremaine LLP on

On May 19, a district court ruled that a company had established divisibility for its liability at a major downstream segment of the Fox River mega-site in Wisconsin, capping its liability for that segment at 28%. This same...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

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

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 New Environmental Due Diligence Standard Saga Continues

by Cole Schotz on

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

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