Month: March 2012

Texas Supreme Court Rules Injection Well Permit Not Shield To Tort Actions

In FPL Farming Ltd v Environmental Processing Systems, L.C., 54 Tex. Sup. J. 1744 (2011), the petitioner FPL Farming (FPL) owned two tracts of land that it used for rice farming. In 1996, Environmental Processing Systems (EPS) applied for a permit to operate two Class III injection wells on land adjoining one of FPL’s tracts. …

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5th Circuit Says OPA Third Party Defense Does Not Apply to Indirect Fueling Arrangements

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently had the opportunity to explore the scope of the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) third party defense  in Buffalo Marine Services, Inc. v. United States, 663 F.3d 750 (5th Cir. 2011). While the OPA third party defense set forth at set forth at 33 U.S.C.S. …

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Migratory Bird Treaty Act Held Not To Apply To Reserve Pits Used in Oil and Gas Operations

As North Dakota has become a leader in hydraulic fracturing, the state has also begun to generate some interesting caselaw. Though not specifically a fracking case, a recent decision discusses the liability of drillers under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) for birds who die because of exposure to reserve pits. This MTBA makes it …

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11th Circuit Rules Parties To Consent Decree Limited to Contribution Claim

The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit joined the 2nd,3rd and 8th Circuits in holding that a PRP that incurs response costs pursuant to a consent decree may only recover its costs through a section 113(f) contribution action and may not bring a 107 cost recovery action. In Solutia v McWane, 2012 U.S.App. LEXIS …

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Ct Says Federal Statute of Limitations Bars New Source Review Violations

In US v Ameren Missouri, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152426 (E.D.Mo. 1/27/12), the federal government alleged that the defendant had violated the Clean Air Act and the State Implementation Plan (SIP) when it performed major modifications for a coal-fired power plant without first undergoing new source review (NSR) for prevention of significant deterioriation (PSD). EPA …

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Deepwater Horizon Ct Clarifies Liability of Responsible Parties

In the most recent ruling from the court involving 2010 Gulf Oil Spill, the federal district court held that Transocean as owner of the mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) was only liable for removal costs incurred by the government for discharges of oil that occurred on the surface  while BP and Anadarko were jointly liable …

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Two NY State Courts Uphold Zoning Ordinances Banning Fracking

Two New York State trial courts have upheld town zoning ordinances that prohibit fracking operations. In Anschutz Exploration Corp. v Town of Dryden, 2012 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 687 (Sup Ct-Tomkins Cty 2/21/12) and Cooperstown Holstein Corporation v Town of Middlefield, No. 2011-0930 (Sup. Ct-Otsego Cty. 2/24/12), the plaintiffs argued that the state Oil, Gas and …

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Owner Incurs $1MM On Cleanup But Ct Says No “Due Care”-Owner Waited Too Long to Act

The second our series of recent cases involving the due care element of the CERCLA third party defense is State of New York v Adamowicz, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102988 (E.D.N.Y. 9/13/11) where a property owner was unable to establish that it exercised due care despite spending over $1MM addressing environmental concerns at its site. …

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Reports of the Demise of CERCLA “Arranger” Liability Proving to Be Premature

In Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. United States, 129 S.Ct. 1870 (2009), the United States Supreme Court held that to establish that a defendant is a CERCLA “arranger” or generator under § 9607(a)(3), a plaintiff must  establish that the defendant intended to dispose hazardous substance. The court said that while an entity’s knowledge that a product …

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