Tag Archives: CERCLA

What You Need to Know About the Superfund Task Force’s Recommendations

There are over 1,300 sites listed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priorities List of contaminated sites that require cleanup, over a hundred of which are located in Pennsylvania. In May, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt promised to get “hands-on” with the Superfund program in order to expedite the cleanup of contaminated sites around the country, … Continue Reading

EPA Seeks to Impose Financial Responsibility Requirements on Hardrock Mine Operators

On Dec. 1, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator signed a proposed rule, “Financial Responsibility Requirements under CERCLA § 108(b) for Classes of Facilities in the Hardrock Mining Industry,” which would impose new financial responsibility requirements for current owners and operators of hardrock mines, including numerous metal mines in the western United States. Federal Register … Continue Reading

Massachusetts High Court Rules Leaded Gasoline is Not “Oil” Subject to Less Stringent Cleanup Requirements

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) upheld a statutory interpretation by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) that the statutory definition of “oil” does not include leaded gasoline. As a result, contamination from leaded gasoline released from a gas station was not eligible for less stringent remediation standards applicable to “oil” releases.  Based on … Continue Reading

GT Philadelphia at the PA Environmental Law Forum

Recently, lawyers from Philadelphia’s Environmental Practice Group attended the Pennsylvania Environmental Law Forum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Organized by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the annual Forum includes educational presentations by experienced practitioners along with networking events. Jillian Kirn gave a presentation on cooling water intake structures commonly used by industrial facilities, such as power plants, and the … Continue Reading

CERCLA Statutes of Limitations Confusion in Administrative Settlements

When a private party enters into a CERCLA section 113(f)(B) administrative settlement, it may subsequently pursue the costs incurred under that administrative settlement against other PRPs. However, whether the settling party may bring a section 107 cost recovery claim or a section 113 contribution claim depends on the language of the settlement. A court’s interpretation … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Won’t Consider What Level of Deference States Should Be Given Under CERCLA

As noted previously, the Ninth Circuit found, in Arizona v. City of Tucson, 761 F.3d 1005 (9th Cir. 2014), that state government agencies are not afforded the same level of deference as EPA on the question of whether a CERCLA consent decree is fair, reasonable and consistent with CERCLA.  Arizona filed a petition for writ … Continue Reading

Government Access to Contaminated Sites

Regulators need access to environmentally contaminated sites.  They have to study them to determine whether the contamination requires a cleanup, they have to choose a cleanup, they have to conduct or direct implementation of that cleanup, and then they have to provide for its monitoring and maintenance.  But when the contaminated property is not the … Continue Reading

CERCLA Preemption of State Law Contribution Claims under Pennsylvania HSCA

The federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) allows private parties that incur cleanup costs to reallocate those costs to others through a cost recovery claim under section 107(a)(1-4)(B) or a contribution claim under section 113(f)(1) or (3)(B).  So do some state statutes and state common law.  There can only be one allocation … Continue Reading

Thinking About Natural Resource Damages

My column this month in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly considers natural resource damages and their measurement.  NRDs are available under a number of federal programs.  To my knowledge, however, Pennsylvania state trustees have only sought to recover NRDs twice. We have to think about whether that might change.  The Supreme Court’s plurality opinion in Robinson … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Examines Collateral Source Rule in CERCLA Cost Recovery and Contribution Case

On September 11, 2014, the Second Circuit issued its decision in New York State Electric & Gas Corp. v. FirstEnergy Corp., No. 11-4143, a CERCLA cost recovery and contribution case arising from the cleanup of coal tar contamination at sixteen manufactured gas plants in New York.  New York State Electric & Gas Corp (“NYSEG”) filed a … Continue Reading

Charities, Donated Land and Environmental Liability

This month’s column in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly addresses the contamination risk faced by charities that accept donated land.  I particularly treat the problem of charities whose very purpose calls for them to accept environmentally suspect property.  Perhaps it has been a vacant lot subject to fly dumping.  Perhaps the charity is specifically intended to locate in … Continue Reading

Institutional Controls and Pre-enforcment Review in Cleanup Cases

  My October Environmental Practice Column in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly considers issues presented by the intersection of the bar on pre-enforcement review and reliance on “institutional controls.”  These issues come up in federal Superfund matters under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 9601-75.  However, the discussion was motivated by a  September 4 ruling by … Continue Reading

CERCLA Updates

Hamilton Hackney discusses two recent CERCLA cases, which address, respectively (1) the constitutionality of unilateral adminstrative orders (UAOs), and (2) who has authority to recover penalties for alleged violations of UAOs. … Continue Reading
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