Month: December 2011

No Administrative Claim For Hotel Damaged By Methane from Bankrupt Landfill Operator

It seems like there were a lot of cases in 2011 involving commercial properties impacted by methane gas from former landfills. A recent case involved a novel question if the owner of a hotel damaged by methane gas migrating from a landfill could seek administrative claim status in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case. In the …

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Tenant Not Liable For Inactive UST Shared With Adjacent Property

We have discussed in prior posts that New York courts have broadly construed the definition of a “discharger” under the New York Navigation Law. Even owners of property with inactive underground storage tanks (USTs) have been held liable as “dischargers” despite the fact they may have not known about the tank much less exercised any …

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Recent EPA PPAs Require Financial Assurances

EPA recently published notice of two proposed prospective purchaser agreements (PPAs) . PPAs had been a critical tool for brownfield development prior to the 2002 CERCLA amendments that added the bona fide prospective purchaser (BFPP) defense. Following the 2002 amendments, EPA issued guidance that indicated that the agency would only issue PPAs in special circumstances since the BFPP was …

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A Lawyer, an Underwriter and an Appraisor-An Update

The title of this post sounds like a teaser to a bad joke but unfortunately it refers to the latest round of motions in two sprawling lawsuits involving a defunct planned community that was to be developed on what proved to be a part of a world war 2 bombing practice range. The defendants include …

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NY High Court Upholds State Superfund Regs

The New York State Court of Appeals (New York’s highest court) rejected a challenge that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) exceeded its authority when it promulgated regulations requiring state superfund sites to be remediated to “pre-disposal” conditions when feasible. In the Matter of New York State Superfund Coalition v New York …

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Ct Upholds Limitation of Liability in Consultant Negligence Case

When retaining environmental consultants, one of the key issues to review in the consultant’s standard terms and conditions is the limitation of liability (LOL) clause. This clause frequently seeks to cap the consultant’s liability at the amount of its fees. Because consultants are usually expected to carry at least $1MM in liability coverage,  clients often want consultants to be liable …

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Federal Ct Says NY Waited Too Long to File Cost Recovery

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York dismissed a cost recovery action filed by the State of New York because the state waited too long to file its complaint. The outcome hinged on whether construction of wellhead treatment constituted a remedial action or removal action. This case is significant because New York …

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An Unusual Wetlands Case

In most wetlands cases, landowners are challenging determinations by the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) that wetlands are present on their property. However, in Deerfield Plantation Phase II-B Property Owners Association v Army Corps of Engineers , 2011 U.S.Dist. LEXIS 75766 (D.S.C. 7/12/11), the plaintiffs argued that the Corps improperly determined that only a fraction of …

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Why Property Owners Should Consult Lawyers Before Signing Gas Leases

We have been sharing and commenting on articles discussing how lenders are becoming increasingly concerned about borrowers who lease their property to allow hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). The operations permitted by the leases on what is typically rural or agricultural land include storage of hazardous substances and wastewater that likely would constitute defaults under the mortgages. …

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