Permit Shield Does Not Apply to Non-Stormwater Discharges of Coal
The Ninth Circuit held that the owner and operator of a coal export terminal may be held liable under the CWA for non-stormwater discharges of coal into Resurrection Bay, Alaska. The facility is covered under the Multi-Sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity, but the plain terms of the permit do not shield the defendants from liability under the CWA for their non-stormwater coal discharges.
EPA entered into a proposed consent decree under the CAA in WildEarth Guardians v. McCarthy, No. 1:13-dv-02748-RBJ (D. Colo.), that establishes a deadline of November 15, 2014, for the Agency to take action on the failure of certain states to submit required SIPs regarding the NAAQS for nitrogen dioxide.
Court Issues Liability Findings in Deepwater Horizon Case
A district court issued its findings of fact and conclusions of law regarding phase one of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill trial, holding various companies liable for the spill. In the 150+ page opinion, the court determined that BP Exploration & Production, Inc., is subject to enhanced civil penalties under the CWA, concluding that the discharge of oil was the result of its gross negligence and willful misconduct. In addition, the oil company, a drilling contractor (Transocean), and an oilfield service company (Halliburton) were each liable under general maritime law for the blowout, explosion, and oil spill.
The September issue of ELR's News & Analysis looks at the CWA's definition of "addition", historic preservation easements for religious properties, and recent court decisions on climate change law. The issue also discusses how to measure environmental enforcement success, EPA's "all appropriate inquiries" rule, and EPA's penalty policy. The transcript to a recent ELI seminar on crude oil transport is also included.