Superfund

News & Analysis as of

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

Is It Too Late to Just Throw Superfund to the Curb?

Last week, Judge Paul Borman of the Eastern District of Michigan, allowed a motion by the United States for judgment on the pleadings, dismissing a third-party complaint brought against the United States by Michigan...more

DTSC’s Lien Procedure Found to Violate Due Process

In Van Horn v. Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”), a California Court of Appeal found that DTSC’s procedure for imposing liens on property under the California “Superfund” law violates due process of law....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

Superfund Rant For a New Congress

So the new Congress will be controlled by the GOP. The House and Senate will consider various bills to reign in EPA authority. Here’s one relatively modest suggestion for congressional consideration: amend CERCLA to limit...more

The Expanding Availability of Apportionment To Limit Liability in Superfund Cases

In Burlington Northern in 2008, the US Supreme Court ruled that Superfund liability could be apportioned whenever there was a reasonable basis for showing that the harm was divisible, such as by considering the length of time...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

EPA's Concern Over TCE Vapor Intrusion Is Misguided

On July 9, 2014, the Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund Division in Region 9 issued a memo to staff setting an “operational framework” to address “inhalation exposures [to trichloroethylene] in...more

Importance of Judicial Approval of CERCLA Settlements

Before a Superfund settlement becomes enforceable, it must be reviewed by a federal court to confirm that it is fair, reasonable, and consistent with CERCLA’s objectives. This judicial review is at the heart of CERCLA’s...more

Oregon’s Statute of Repose May Block Common Law Environmental Claims

Oregon’s 10-year statute of repose may now play a bigger role in environmental lawsuits in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA),...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

EPA Proposes Clarification on CERCLA’s “All Appropriate Inquiry” Standard

Step by step, inch by inch. Slowly but diligently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been working to clarify what standards and practices may be used for conducting “all appropriate inquiries” (AAI) under the...more

US Appeals Court Lights A Match On Issue Of Government Reimbursement For WWII Aviation Gasoline Waste Disposal

Two weeks ago the United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit re-opened the door to recovery of Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA") cleanup costs under contractual provisions...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

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