Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Analyzing the critical energy and environmental issues of the day

Lynn T. Manolopoulos

Lynn Manolopoulos counsels a wide range of industrial, commercial, and individual clients in matters involving environmental state and federal laws and regulations. Her experience includes Brownfields development, environmental compliance and permitting and litigation involving storm water, hazardous wastes and substances, and Superfund. Lynn is a chemical engineer whose legal expertise covers a full spectrum of environmental issues, from cost recovery and contribution claims to contaminated property refinance and development.

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Trump Track: EPA Superfund Task Force – Will Anything Really Change?

Posted in EPA, Trump Track
The EPA Superfund Task Force was commissioned by then Administrator Scott Pruitt to develop recommendations for sweeping changes to the Superfund process to provide more clarity and efficiency to the process. The task force issued a long list of recommendations in July 2017 and EPA recently issued a report documenting the status of EPA’s implementation… Continue Reading

EPA’s Audit Policy eDisclosure: Electronic Self-Reporting for Environmental Violations

Posted in EPA, Rulemakings
Reporting uner EPA’s audit policy, which has provided relief from gravity-based penalties to those who self-report, is about to become much easier.  This fall, EPA expects to launch a centralized web-based “eDisclosure” portal that will make self-disclosure just a mouse click away.  The requirements of the audit policy remain unchanged (e.g., violations must be disclosed… 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

Model Remedies Under Washington’s Model Toxic Control Act – A Modest First Step for Impacted Soil Sites

Posted in Land Use
In December 2014, the Washington Department of Ecology (“Ecology”) issued a white paper discussing the status of its work toward developing “model remedies.”  In 2013, the Washington Legislature directed Ecology to establish these model remedies and the 2014 white paper discusses seven draft model remedies developed for sites with petroleum contaminated soil. Model remedies are… 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

Offers of Judgment – Can They Shift Fees?

Posted in Litigation, Natural Resources, Rulemakings
A recent Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) lawsuit may offer some additional guidance on when offers of judgment may cut off a party’s right to recover attorneys’ fees and costs under environmental laws.  Plaintiff National Exchange Bank and Trust (“National Exchange”) prevailed on its RCRA claim and was found to be entitled to litigation… Continue Reading

City of Seattle and King County Agree to Major Upgrades to Settle Discharge Violations

Posted in Environmental Quality, EPA, Northwest, Water Law
To settle an enforcement action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the State of Washington (“State”), King County and the City of Seattle have agreed to complete major upgrades to their local sewage and combined stormwater collection, piping and treatment systems to address allegedly illegal discharges.  In addition, the County and City have… Continue Reading

EPA Revises Guidance Regarding Tenants As Bona Fide Prospective Purchasers

Posted in EPA, Federal
On December 5, 2012, EPA issued new guidance discussing the potential applicability of the bona fide prospective purchaser (BFPP) protection to tenants.  This guidance discusses when tenants who lease contaminated property are BFPPs and provides new information on when tenants can expect EPA to exercise its enforcement discretion under the BFPP provisions of the Federal… Continue Reading

Washington Department of Ecology’s New Approach to Developing Fish Consumption Rates to Drive Water Quality Rulemaking

Posted in Northwest, Water Law
In a letter dated July 16, 2012, the Director of the Washington Department of Ecology announced that Ecology is modifying its approach to adopting fish consumption rates, which are rates that impact regulatory standards for the protection of surface water and sediment.  Ecology has been under pressure because both industry and environmental groups have been… Continue Reading

Future Use of Polluted Site May Affect Allocation of Clean-up Costs

Posted in Environmental Quality, Land Use
An owner who has incurred remedial action costs and then seeks to recover those costs from prior operators may not want to highlight its intended future use of the property.  In a recent environmental cost-recovery case, a Federal District Court assigned a 25 percent share to the owner, Yankee Gas, stating the most relevant consideration… Continue Reading