oil spills

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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Abandoned USTs Continue To Haunt Landlords With Old Leases

Many commercial properties are subject to old leases that were originally negotiated prior to the advent of environmental laws. These leases not only do not address environmental issues but also may contain clauses that can create liability for landlords when the property contains USTs. One of the more problematic clauses in old leases are those …

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Court Interprets Scope of Indemnity Clauses Involving Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill

As the trial date for the sprawling Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill litigation date rapidly approaches, the federal district court has been busy issuing decisions to help refine the issues. Two of these opinion involved interpreting the scope of contractual indemnities-one of our favorite topics. The first opinion involved cross-motions for partial summary judgment filed …

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NY Ct Says Former Tenant Liable For Abandoned Tanks As Trade Fixtures

Federal and state underground storage tank (UST) programs impose closure obligations on the owners or operators of USTs that are taken out of service. If the tanks are to be inactive for a short period of time (the time period varies depending on the state), the tanks must comply with temporary closure requirements. Owners or …

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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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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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New Damages Trial Ordered For Vapor Intrusion

In Sunrise Harbor Realty LLC v 35th Sunrise Corp, 2011 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 5834 (App. Div-2nd Dept 7/12/11), the plaintiff owned a commercial building in Copiague, New York. The plaintiff contemplated purchasing the adjacent property that contained a gas station to expand its building. A phase 2 detected petroleum-contaminated groundwater migrating onto the plaintiff …

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NY State Court Affirms Broad Liability for Owners of Property With Old USTs

Article 12 of the New York State Navigation Law imposes strict liability on “dischargers” of petroleum. The term “discharger” has been broadly construed so that it can encompass owners of property with abandoned or inactive underground storage tanks (USTs) even where the owners never used the tanks. A recent New York State appeals court illustrates …

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NY Ct Upholds Oil Spill Lien Procedures

Under article 12 of the New York State Navigation Law (Oil Spill Act), “dischargers” of petroleum are strictly liable for cleanup and removal of petroleum spills. To ensure that petroleum spills are promptly remediated, the Oil Spill Act created the State Environmental Protection and Spill Compensation Fund (Oil Spill Fund) to finance state cleanups when …

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Court Allows Claims To Proceed Despite NFA Letter

No Further Action (NFA) letters have become an important tool in transactions involving contaminated properties. Contracting party often use issuance of an NFA letter has the mechanism for establishing that a party has satisfied its obligations under an agreement. Issuance of an NFA letter often also operates as a release of statutory liability and may …

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