Hazardous Waste

Obamacare Survives But Will CERCLA or RCRA?

A majority of justices found that the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act violated the Commerce Clause  of the U.S. Constitution in National Federation of Independent Businesses v Sebelius. The Commerce Clause is the underpinning for the jurisdiction of the federal government to enact and enforce environmental laws such as CERCLA and RCRA. Thus, …

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District Ct Holds Vapor Intrusion Is Imminent and Substantial Endangerment

The recent decision in Sisters of Notre Dame De Namur v. Mrs. Owen J. Garnett-Murray, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78747 (N.D. Cal. 6/6/12) is the latest example of how vapor intrusion has become a game changer for toxic tort and RCRA litigation. Vapor intrusion was the only potential exposure pathway since groundwater was not used …

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Contamination at Heart of Litigation Over Failed Subdivisions

The Great Recession caused hundreds of residential development projects to ground to a halt. Not surprising, these failed projects have spawned lots of litigation. An interesting Maryland lawsuit involves allegations of fraud and misrepresentation of environmental issues at a development site, and has ensnarled a foreclosing lender. In U.S. Home v Settler’s Crossing, 2010 U.S. …

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Environmental Saga Involves Successor Liability, Bankruptcy and Environmental Justice

The most recent decision in Flake v. Schrader-Bridgeport Int’l, Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30372  (M.D. Tenn., Mar. 23, 2011) is just another chapter in this long-running environmental saga involving a successor liability, bankruptcy, toxic tort and environmental justice issues along with a piece of American automotive history. This well-traveled case began in a Tennessee county …

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Claim For Contaminated Fill Barred By Statute of Limitations

The movement and disposal of fill material from demolition sites tends not to be well-regulated. During the real estate bubble when demand for aggregate was at a premium, unsavory actors in the industry exploited the regulatory gaps. These companies would charge clients to dispose of contaminated fill, pocket the fees and then sell the materials …

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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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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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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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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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NY Court of Appeals Hears Challenge to State Superfund Regulations

The New York Court of Appeals heard oral argument on November 14th on whether the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)  exceeded its authority when its set a goal of cleaning hazardous sites to “pre-disposal conditions” in its superfund regulations. After the NYSDEC revised its Part 375 regulations in 2006, the New York …

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