Discharge of Pollutants

News & Analysis as of

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

Supreme Court Affirms DEP Decision on Narrative Water Quality Standards

The West Virginia Supreme Court has affirmed a decision by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) regarding interpretation of narrative water quality standards. The Supreme Court affirmed a lower...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

Eighth Circuit Holds Pollution Exclusion Applicable to Sealant Fumes

In its recent decision in United Fire & Cas. Co. v. Titan Contrs. Serv., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 8879 (8th Cir. May 13, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, applying Missouri law, had occasion to...more

Federal Court Of Appeals Strikes Down A Portion Of The EPA’s Rule Limiting A Court’s Authority For Imposing Civil Fines For...

Federal Court of Appeals strikes down a portion of the EPA’s rule limiting a Court’s authority for imposing civil fines for equipment failures. While upholding portions of EPA’s new rules for air toxic emissions for cement...more

U.S. Fifth Circuit: The CWA and OPA Preempt State Law Claims for Pollution Incidents on the OCS

Offshore exploration in the Gulf of Mexico implicates maritime law, federal law, and the different laws of five coastal states. The manner in which these different substantive laws interact is often a critical, but unclear,...more

Chemical Purchasers May Be Operators and Liable for Releases That Occur During Shipment

Any company that purchases chemical products should be aware that it could potentially be liable for releases that occur during the shipment of the purchased products. In a recent New York District Count case, Kemira Water...more

D.C. Circuit Upholds Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxics Standards

The D.C. Circuit has upheld a 2012 EPA rule limiting air toxics emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants. The rule, commonly known as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, or “MATS,” requires new and existing coal-...more

Colorado Supreme Court Grants Petition to Consider Use of Lone Pine Orders in Toxic Tort Case Involving Hydraulic Fracturing

On Monday, the Colorado Supreme Court granted a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in Antero Resources, et al. v. Strudley, et al. The Strudley case involves claims relating to alleged injuries from natural gas drilling...more

Ohio Imposes New Fugitive Emissions Rules on Horizontal Drillers

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) has announced new requirements for horizontal drillers aimed at reducing air pollution from so-called “fugitive emissions,” which are generally caused by leaking valves or...more

BP Updates for 2014: Second Oil Spill in Lake Michigan and DWH Settlement Recap

The claimant eligibility for the DWH settlement agreement reaches just under the $5 billion mark this month, meanwhile BP’s Indiana based Whiting Refinery leaks an estimated 1600 gallons of crude oil into Lake Michigan. BP...more

Coal Companies, Don’t Look Behind; EPA May Be Gaining on You

As the lawyers among our readers know, the denial of a certiorari petition does not establish precedent. However, that doesn’t make it unimportant. Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied cert. in Mingo Logan Coal Co. v. EPA. ...more

Wisconsin Court Holds Gas Line Explosion Not Covered Under CPL Policy

In its recent decision in Acuity v. Chartis Specialty Ins. Co., 2014 Wisc. App. LEXIS 201 (Wisc. App. Mar. 12, 2014), the Court of Appeals for Wisconsin, District Two, had occasion to consider whether damages resulting from a...more

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