Superfund

News & Analysis as of

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

Proposed Rule Adding Vapor Intrusion Component to Hazard Ranking System Will Likely Appear in Federal Register This Month

A proposed rule that would add a vapor intrusion component to the Hazard Ranking System (“HRS”), the primary screening tool for the CERCLA National Priorities List (“NPL”), is scheduled for publication in the Federal...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

EPA Plans to Ease Path to Superfund Listing: Vapor Intrusion Component to be Added to the Hazardous Ranking System

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just announced a proposed rule to add a subsurface intrusion (SsI) component to the Superfund Hazard Ranking System (HRS). Addition of a Subsurface Intrusion Component to...more

How Should You Respond to EPA Information Requests? Very Carefully.

You're looking through your mail one morning when you see it: a certified letter from EPA. The letter requests information about your company's operations over the last 20 years. It includes paragraph-after-paragraph of...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - January 2016

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

Can Air Emissions Result in CERCLA Liability?

Liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) results from “releases” of hazardous substances. The term “release” is usually used in the context of something spilled or...more

Determining An Intent To Dispose Under CERCLA Remains a Puzzlement

Determining when a person has “arranged” for the disposal of a hazardous substance has long been difficult. The Supreme Court brought some clarity to the issue in Burlington Northern, when it said that...more

JOIN THE CLUB: EPA Sizing Up Hackensack River for Superfund Listing

The Hackensack River may be joining the likes of the Passaic River, the Hudson River, Gowanus Canal, Newtown Creek, Fox River, the Eighteen Mile Creek, and other waterways that have been placed on the Superfund National...more

While The Outcome In the Lower Fox River Case Continues to Change, The Legal Standard For Apportionment Is The Same

In 1832, Abraham Lincoln said that ” it is better to be only sometimes right, than at all times wrong, so soon as I discover my opinions to be erroneous, I shall be ready to renounce them.” Judge Greisbach of Eastern...more

North Dakota Saltwater Disposal Enforcement Actions Highlight Key Legal and Social License Risks

Spills or improper disposal of oilfield produced water—which can be more than 10 times saltier than seawater and may also contain heavy metals and other chemicals—can turn even staunchly pro-oil and gas residents against...more

Is Superfund a Machine for Manufacturing Tea Party Members?

A group of PRPs received an oversight cost bill pursuant to a CERCLA consent decree. (The following details are intentionally vague to protect both the innocent and the guilty.) The bill was for several hundred thousand...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - August 2015 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - 15 states sue to block enforcement of Obama administration climate change rules: Bloomberg - Aug 13: Fifteen states led by coal-rich West Virginia – but not including California - asked...more

Who Can Sue Polluters? New Texas Law HB 1794 Stirs Debate

A perspective on new Texas legislation HB 1794 by Gerald Pels one of the leaders of the Texas environmental legal community for over 30 years....more

CERCLA Statute of Limitations Applies To Contribution Claims By A Party to a Private Settlement

Sometimes cases seem to be deciding issues that are so obvious it’s hard to figure out why they get any serious attention from the courts. One such case is ASARCO, LLC v. Celanese Chemical Company recently decided by the...more

EPA Takes Positions on Vapor Intrusion

In a busy day for vapor intrusion, last week the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency made several announcements about vapor intrusion. First, it announced it had submitted a draft rule to the White House OMB seeking to...more

Superfund Divisibility Defense Gets New Life

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

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

District Court Imposes Divisibility Cap on Superfund Liability

A Wisconsin district court has ruled that NCR Corporation’s liability for contamination in the Fox River is limited to NCR’s share of contamination contributed to the river....more

Court at the Fox River Site Opens Door to Superfund Divisibility

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

Is the Shrinking Availability of Joint And Several Liability In Superfund Cases A Good Thing?

Although it has taken a surprisingly long time, the holding in Burlington Northern which greatly lowered the standard for apportionment in Superfund cases is finally being embraced by lower courts. Last fall I blogged about...more

The SJC Walks Back the GE Decision; State Agencies Can Protect Work Product

In its 1999 decision in GE v. DEP, the SJC surprised most Massachusetts lawyers by ruling that the Commonwealth’s Public Records Act (our version of FOIA) did not have an exemption for work product materials and that it had...more

Dividing CERCLA Site Just Won't Cut It On Liability

In an order on March 3, U.S. District Judge William C. Griesbach, who is presiding over the long-running Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act litigation concerning the Lower Fox River and...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - March 2015 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus: California renewable energy zone plan gets revamp after criticism: Reuters - Mar 10: An ambitious plan to put California's renewable energy projects in areas where the environment will...more

CERCLA’s Confusion Between Section 107 and Section 113

Over a decade after the Supreme Court’s decision in Cooper Industries v. Aviall, the divide between CERCLA Section 107 cost recovery claims and Section 113 contribution claims remains unsettled. PRPs incurring response costs...more

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