Discharge of Pollutants

News & Analysis as of

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standard

Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Michigan v. EPA, a Clean Air Act case involving hazardous air pollutant regulations, with implications for fossil fuel-fired power plant owners and operators in...more

EU Court limits the scope of environmental liability for new owners of polluted land

The Court of Justice of the European Union (the “CJEU”) has shed light on the application of the “polluter pays” principle in the context of the EU’s Environmental Liability Directive. The judgment, handed down on 4 March...more

General Permit Shields Mining Company from Liability for Selenium Discharge

In Sierra Club v ICG Hazard , LLC, 2015 WL 643382, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that a Kentucky coal mining company could not be sued by an environmental group for discharging selenium into...more

Beware of Citizen Suits for Storm Water Violations

In recent months several private organizations have sent letters to California businesses informing them that they are in violation of their storm water permits and threatening to sue them under the citizen suit provision of...more

A Federal Court Rules that Increased Conductivity Impairs a Stream — How Shocking!

On Tuesday, Chief Judge Robert Chambers ruled that Fola Coal Company violated the Clean Water Act by discharging mine waste with sufficiently high levels of conductivity to cause or materially contribute to impairment of...more

Wisconsin Supreme Court: Pollution Exclusion Bars Coverage for Well Contamination Resulting from the Application of Manure and...

In Wilson Mutual Ins. Co. v. Robert Falk and Jane Falk, 2013AP691 & 2013AP776, and Preisler v. Kuettel’s Septic Serv., 2012AP2521, the Wisconsin Supreme Court sought to resolve conflicting court of appeals’ decisions on...more

NJ Spill Act Contribution Rights in Jeopardy Under Proposed Bill: Points to Consider - M&E Environment & Energy Alert

A bill (A-3880/S-444) recently introduced in both houses of the New Jersey legislature would prevent companies and private individuals from exercising their existing contribution rights under New Jersey’s Spill Act to recover...more

Kentucky Federal Court Holds Tort Claims Not Preempted by Clean Air Act

State common law tort claims based on air emissions from a power plant are not preempted by the federal Clean Air Act (CAA), according to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. The court agreed to...more

New York Supreme Court Pro Rata Allocation for MGP Sites on Long Island Clarifies Self-Insured Periods

A New York State trial court judge applied a pro rata time on the risk allocation for pollution from manufactured gas plants on Long Island. Keyspan Gas East Corp. v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc.,Index No. 604715/1997,...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - October 2014 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Environmental groups fight Southern California tar sands oil project: Courthouse News Service - Oct 13: Kern County illegally approved expansion of a local refinery that will let it...more

EPA Draft Ruling Could Mean Significant Changes to How Stormwater Systems are Categorized

The last thing that public agency leaders want to hear is that looming changes may make operating and building new public infrastructure more challenging and expensive. Unfortunately, proposed changes by the Environmental...more

Pierce Atwood Environmental Regulatory Compliance Calendar (RCC)

Army Corps Drops Regional Permit - The Army Corps has announced that it has abandoned the idea of establishing a regional general permit for the New England states. The proposal would have replaced the individual...more

In BP Gulf Oil Spill Litigation, the District Court Decided Important Legal Questions that will Likely be Appealed, including the...

On September 4, 2014, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier issued findings of fact and conclusions of law for the trial of the MDL of the Gulf Oil Spill, which included findings that the oil spill was the result of BP Exploration...more

Kansas Appellate Court Disallows Strict Liability Claims for Refinery’s Alleged Discharge of Pollutants

In City of Neodesha v. BP Corporation North America, Inc., 2014 WL 4116576, which involved BP’s successful defense of claims relating discharges from its refinery, the Court of Appeals of Kansas affirmed the denial of the...more

Significant Victory for Defendants in Sierra Club Pollution Suit

In Sierra Club v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. W-12-CV-108 (W.D. Tex. August 29, 2014), a Texas federal judge recently awarded $6.4 million in attorneys’ fees and costs to the defendants in a pollution suit brought by...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

Be Careful With Pollution Insurance Coverage Disclosures – How Conditions Actually Disclosed Were Deemed Not Disclosed

A Massachusetts company learned the hard way that you need to pay close attention to policy endorsements when you negotiate them. In Market Forge Industries, Inc. v. Indian Harbor Insurance Company, the Appeals Court of...more

NPDES Permits Are Construed Narrowly Against the Permittee

In July, we noted that the Clean Water Act’s permit shield defense would be construed narrowly, applying only where a permittee had clearly disclosed that the relevant pollutant to the agency. This week, in Alaska Community...more

EPA Guidance on Pesticide Drift Will Affect Product Registrations

How to address and manage potential risks posed by pesticide “drift” -- the unintentional movement of some level of pesticide outside of the intended area of application -- has long been a challenging, complex regulatory...more

EPA Is Holding Flare Users’ Feet To The Fire

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has warned industry using flaring for pollution control that it is targeting flaring violations nationwide to reduce the release of hazardous air pollutants. Originally...more

There is No Need To Be Alarmed By Alarmist Readings of New York’s Most Recent Ruling On Waiver of Notice Defenses

The New York Court of Appeals recently reversed and remanded a lower court’s ruling that insurers had waived their late notice defense by not raising the defense until years after they first received notice of a pollution...more

D.C. Circuit Defers to US Environmental Protection Agency's Decision to Retain Existing Acid Rain Standards In Light of Scientific...

On May 27, 2014 the D.C. Circuit upheld the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to retain its existing air quality standards for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) which address the...more

Insurance Recovery Law - May 2014

New York Court Strictly Applies Draconian Policy Language, Holding Excess Coverage Forfeited By Settling With Underlying Insurers For Less Than Policy Limits - Why it matters: A New York appellate court has...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

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