Underground Storage Tanks

NYC OER Issuing Comfort Letters To Facilitate Real Estate Transactions

EPA and some state environmental agencies may occasionally issue “comfort letters” to facilitate a particular brownfield project to assuage concerns of developers or lenders about their potential liability. However, regulators have made it clear that they do not have the resources to review conclusions in phase 1 or phase 2 reports generated during routine real …

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NYSDEC To Receive Full Delegation from EPA for RCRA Program

EPA proposed to approve final authorization to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to administer the state hazardous waste program in lieu of the federal RCRA program. 78 FR 15299 (3/11/13). The authorization will become effective on May 10, 2013 unless EPA receives adverse written comment by April 10, 2013. The NYSDEC hazardous …

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1600 Homes Suffered Oil Spills Following Superstorm Sandy

According to representatives of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), approximately 1600 residential properties suffered oil spills following Superstorm Sandy. Most of the spills were the result of damaged heating oil tanks. More than 3000 oil spills were reported following Sandy for all categories of properties. NYSDEC performed emergency response such as …

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EPA Guidelines on Building Debris and Demolition Following Natural Disaster

Cleanup activities related to homes and businesses damaged by hurricanes or other natural disasters can pose significant health and environmental challenges. Immediate and life-threatening conditions may arise from  leaking natural gas lines, and carbon monoxide poisoning from using un-vented fuel-burning equipment indoors. However, there are other serious hazards that are not immediately life threatening but …

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Trio of NJ Cases Are Cautionary Tales For Home Heating Oil Tanks

We have previously discussed the risks posed by residential heating oil tanks in a number of posts covering cases in New York , New Jersey , Oregon, Washington, Mass and Canada. Three recent cases in New Jerseyall involve claims of inadequate disclosure of heating oil illustrate. In Dalton v Shanna Lynn Corp., 2012 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 874 (App. Div. 4/19/12) …

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State Appeals Ct Affirms Note Purchaser Cannot Bring Nuisance Action For Contamination

It is no secret that distressed debt investors are eagerly looking for opportunities to purchase defaulted or underwater loans. One strategy used by investors with a healthy risk appetite is to purchase promissory notes secured by contaminated property at deeply discounted pricing. The investor then brings an RCRA 7002 action seeking an order requiring the …

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Seller Allows Broker To Draft Environmental Condition and Then Loses Breach of Contract Case

Hager’s of Cohasset, Inc. v. Nelson, 2011Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 156 (Minn.Ct. App. Feb. 15, 2011) is yet another lesson from a long line of cases that illustrate the risks of not using counsel for commercial property transactions especially those have problematic environmental issues. In this case, the plaintiff operated a fuel-oil business. In October 2007, …

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California Appeals Court Rules Reopening of NFA Letter Does Not Trigger Contractual Indemnification

Anyone who has negotiated the purchase of a gas station is aware that these agreements are incredibly complex. The contracts have dense definitions, dependent and inter-related provisions, and grant broad discretion to the sellers in determining the scope and conduct of the cleanup. A buyer who does not retain an environmental attorney who has previously …

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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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Insurance Requirement Allows Voidable Indemnity Clause To Be Enforceable

Can a party be indemnified for its own negligence? In many states, such provisions are void as against public policy. Other some states allow enforcement of indemnification for the indemnitee’s own negligence when the clause expressly references “negligence.” Likewise, many states will enforce indemnities where the indemnified party is strictly liable because of its status …

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