Contamination

News & Analysis as of

The EPA, H20, and Fracking: An EPA study of drinking water and hydraulic fracturing could have far-reaching implications for...

As many who work in the oil and gas industry are aware, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is pressing forward with a multiyear Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources. On...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

Supreme Court Rules CERCLA Does Not Preempt State Statute of Repose

In CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, 13-339, 2014 WL 2560466 (U.S. June 9, 2014), the United States Supreme Court held that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, also known as Superfund)...more

Absolute Pollution Exclusions Are Absolute When There Has Been Pollution

Pollution exclusions first became routine in liability policies in the early 1970s. After a decade of often unsuccessful litigation trying to enforce those exclusions, insurers introduced a so called “absolute” pollution...more

Food and Beverage News and Trends

FDA clarifies its stance on cheese making. On June 13, the FDA issued a clarification stating it “does not have a new policy banning the use of wooden shelves in cheese-making, nor is there any requirement in effect...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

EPA Proposes to no Longer Accept 2005 Version of ASTM Standards and Practices for Environmental Site Assessments as Basis for...

On June 17, 2014, EPA published a Proposed Rule to no longer acknowledge the 2005 version of ASTM International’s recently updated version of its standard for environmental site assessments – Standard 1527-13 – to meet the...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

EPA Proposes Change to Environmental Due Diligence Rule For Property Transactions

For the second time in a year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to amend the “all appropriate inquiry” rule under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). ...more

EPA Proposes to Delete Reference to Superseded 2005 ASTM Standard from “All Appropriate Inquiry” Rule

On June 17, 2014, the United States Environmental Protection Agency published a proposal to delete reference to the 2005 version of the ASTM Phase I environmental site assessment standard from the federal “all appropriate...more

Washington Court of Appeals Holds No Duty to Defend: An Invitation to Initiate Cleanup Is Not A Suit

On June 2, 2014, the Washington State Court of Appeals issued a published opinion regarding what constitutes a “suit” in the context of environmental liability claims under the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA). The court held...more

Washington Court Rules Insurer’s Duty to Defend Environmental Liability is Triggered by Agency’s Explicit or Implicit Threat of...

A party faced with strict liability under the Washington Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) for the costs of cleaning up environmental contamination often has insurance that might apply, but a lingering question has been at what...more

Insurance Coverage Newslettter: Transport Inc. v. Superior Court

Vulcan Materials Corp. manufactured and sold PCE, a pollutant used by dry cleaners. R.R. Street & Co. was a distributor for Vulcan, and an additional insured under an umbrella policy issued by Transport Insurance to Vulcan....more

CERCLA’s Statutory Liability Defenses — How Strict Is CERCLA Liability?

It was no surprise that the Second Circuit in In re September 11 Ligitation recently affirmed the lower court’s ruling that contamination caused by the 9/11 attacks was within CERCLA’s “Act of War” defense. Although CERCLA...more

Hexavalent Chromium: Is the Maximum Contaminant Level a Done Deal?

The California Department of Public Health Submits Its Final Regulation Package on Hexavalent Chromium: Is the Maximum Contaminant Level a Done Deal?...more

A "Diesel Fuel" by Any Other Name – EPA Narrows Definition of "Diesel Fuel" in Revised Hydraulic Fracturing Guidance

On February 12, 2014, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued long-awaited final guidance on permitting the use of diesel fuels in hydraulic fracturing operations. This guidance is important because any...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

Draft Regulations Released for Deposits of Deleterious Substances under the Fisheries Act

One of the most significant provisions in the federal Fisheries Act is the prohibition in section 36(3) against releasing deleterious substances into waters frequented by fish. This prohibition has been interpreted broadly by...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

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

EPA Releases Revised Guidance on Use of Diesel Fuels in Hydraulic Fracturing Operations

On February 11, 2014, the EPA released its long awaited revised permitting guidance for wells that use diesel fuels during hydraulic fracturing activities. The guidance details the EPA’s view on how to implement provisions of...more

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