CERCLA

Appellate Court Restricts NYSDEC Ability to Spend Superfund Money

A legal maxim is that  bad facts often make bad law. It appears that complex facts may have confused an Appellate Division court in In the Matter of FMC Corporation vs New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 2016 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6785 (App. Div.-Third Dept. 10/20/16) where the three judge-panel appeared to rule …

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NY Court of Appeals Finds PRP Letter Triggers Contractual Indemnification

The New York State Court of Appeals held that a PRP letter issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) was sufficient to trigger an indemnity obligation under a purchase and sale agreement. While lower courts have found PRP letters to constitute “suits” within the meaning of  a Comprehensive General Liability policy …

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Lender that Sold Contaminated Property Agrees to $1.4MM Settlement

We have previously reported on instances where banks have incurred cleanup costs in connection with properties they have sold.  For some examples, click here, here, here, here and here The latest installment of this saga involves Bank of America (BOA) which agreed to pay $1.4MM as part of a settlement involving a dry cleaner property that a …

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Do Clients Have To Complete Consultant Questionnaires To Comply With AAI?

The short answer is no. Environmental consultants routinely submit environmental questionnaires to property owners and their clients as part of the phase 1 process. Some consultants tell their clients that they are obligated to complete the questionnaire to be able to comply with EPA’s All Appropriate Inquires (“AAI”) rule. A few go as far as …

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Does A Phase 1 Have To Be Issued To The Person Seeking To Comply With AAI?

Purchasers who want to be able to assert the CERCLA Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser (BFPP), Innocent Landowner (ILO) or Continuous Property Owner (CPO) landowner liability protections (LLPs) need to conduct a pre-acquisition investigation that complies with EPA’s All Appropriate Inquires (AAI) rule. A question that is surfacing with surprising frequency is if the phase 1 …

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McDonald’s Labor Case May Have Environmental Law Implications

Labor rulings have in the past served as precedent for eroding traditional corporate law doctrines and expanding liability of corporations. For example, the doctrine known as either Continuity of Enterprise or Substantial Continuity was used in the 1990s to impose successor liability for environmental contamination originated with a line of labor law cases dating back to …

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OER Grants Available for Petroleum Assessments But Need to Move Quickly

The NYC Office of Environmental Remediation just announced that it has a little over $100K to award for petroleum assessments this summer. The source  of the grant money is the brownfield revolving loan fund that was awarded by EPA to OER under section 104(k) of CERCLA. The federally-funded grant may be used for phase 1 or …

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Problems Emerge with New CREC Definition

After a little more than six months after ASTM issued its new E1527-13 Phase 1 standard practice, problems are emerging over the new definition Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition (CREC) definition. The difficulties are related to the definition itself and differences among state environmental programs. Before discussing the CREC problems, a little background might be helpful …

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EPA Issues Administrative Order for Gowanus Remedy Design

EPA issued a unilateral administrative order (UAO) under section 106 of CERCLA to implement a remedial design (RD) for the Gowanus Canal. EPA took this action after negotiations with responsible parties bogged down. The agency wants the RD fieldwork to commence this spring. Back in September 2013, EPA issued a Notice for the Commencement of …

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EPA Recognizes E1527-13 But Preamble Raises Specter of Retroactive LIability For Past Phase 1 Reports that Did Not Assess Vapor Intrusion

On December 30th, the  federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule in the Federal Register  (78 FR 79319) recognizing the new ASTM E1527-13 phase 1 standard practice as an approved method for complying with the All Appropriate Inquires (AAI) rule. As explained below, while the preamble to the final rule is an improvement to …

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