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Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Analyzing the critical energy and environmental issues of the day

Category Archives: CERCLA

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The Yanomami Model for Superfund

Posted in CERCLA, Environmental Quality
In a recent editorial, the Wall Street Journal celebrates the new priorities being set by Scott Pruitt’s EPA.  Mr. Pruitt, in the Journal’s opinion, is properly elevating the “more immediate” problem of Superfund sites over the “religion” of climate change.  Sadly, it seems, the misguided and naïve Obama Administration preferred “symbolic” climate measures over the… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rejects Application of CERCLA to Aerial Emissions

Posted in CERCLA, Federal, Litigation
In the long-running saga of efforts by the State of Washington and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation to attach CERCLA liability to a smelter in British Columbia, the smelter owner, Teck Industries, won a significant ruling. In Pakootas v. Teck Cominco Metals, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected plaintiffs’ efforts to expand their… Continue Reading

Non-Settling CERCLA Defendants Beware: Ninth Circuit Provides Lower Courts with Discretion to Allocate Liability Using Equitable Factors

Posted in CERCLA, Litigation, Rulemakings
There is a split of authority on how credits for settlements under the Comprehensive Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) are allocated to non-settlors.  Some courts have applied the proportionate share approach, under the Uniform Comparative Fault Act (“UCFA”), and others have applied the pro tanto approach, under the Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act (“UCATA”).… Continue Reading

CERCLA Settlements Get a Different Look: the Ninth Circuit May Have Set a New Level of Scrutiny in State of Arizona v. Tucson

Posted in CERCLA, EPA, Rulemakings
The Ninth Circuit has further defined the level of scrutiny required by a court when evaluating settlements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).  In State of Arizona v. City of Tucson, the Ninth Circuit refused to defer to the settling state agency and required the lower court to independently scrutinize the… Continue Reading

Grant Recipients Likely to Accept a 50 Percent Share of Cleanup Costs Under New Washington Grant Funding Rule

Posted in CERCLA, Northwest
The new Department of Ecology (Ecology) grant funding rules, which are expected to go into effect in September 2014, will change the way grant recipients resolve contribution claims against other liable parties under the Model Toxics Control Act or CERCLA.  The new rule provides that grant recipients (e.g., cities, counties, Ports, etc.)  may use proceeds… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rejects CERCLA Settlement, Declines to Give Deference to State Agency

Posted in CERCLA, Litigation
On August 1, 2014, a divided panel of the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court’s approval of a multi-party settlement at an Arizona waste site.  State of Arizona v. Ashton Company Incorporated Contractors and Engineers, et al., No. 12-15691 (9th Cir. August 1, 2014).  The dissenting opinion noted that this is only the second time… Continue Reading

Statutes of Repose Unaffected by CERCLA Requirement that State Law Incorporate Discovery Rule in Statutes of Limitation

Posted in CERCLA, Federal
On June 9, in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, et al., No. 13-339, the U.S. Supreme Court held 7-2, that the Fourth Circuit erred in holding that CERCLA Section 9658 applied to the application of the North Carolina statute of repose, and held that the statute of repose barred state law nuisance claims.  The majority included… Continue Reading

The United States Allocated 40% of Liability for Contamination Caused by a Contractor’s Manufacturing Operations

Posted in CERCLA, Environmental Quality
From Lynn Manolopoulos of our Bellevue office and Scott Broadwell of our Anchorage office: A recent decision by a federal court in the Central District of California found the United States liable for 40% of the response costs related to contamination from the manufacture of ammunition and rocket motors for the United States under governmental… Continue Reading

Maximizing the Benefit of Appropriate Inquiry: CERCLA & Prospective Purchaser Considerations

Posted in CERCLA, Environmental Quality, Land Use
By: Larry Burke, Davis Wright Tremaine & John Foxwell, R.G., Ash Creek Associates As mentioned in Cheyenne Chapman’s Oregon State Bar Environmental and Natural Resources Section  E-Outlook article earlier this year (2012, Issue No. 3), Prospective Purchaser Agreements (“PPAs”) are an innovative approach to address barriers to the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated sites. According to… Continue Reading