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Weekly Cases Update Volume 45, Issue 10

Ameripride Services, Inc. v. Texas Eastern Overseas, Inc.

ELR 20066
12-17245 (9th Cir., April 2015)

The Ninth Circuit held that in allocating liability to a nonsettling defendant in a CERCLA contribution action, a district court has discretion to determine the most equitable method of accounting for settlements between private parties. Agreeing with the First Circuit and declining to follow...


Maple Drive Farms Ltd. Partnership v. Vilsack

ELR 20067
13-1091 (6th Cir., April 2015)

The Sixth Circuit held that USDA failed to comply with its own regulations when it determined a farm was ineligible for program benefits under the "Swampbuster" provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985. USDA determined the farm was ineligible for benefits because it converted two acres of...

Swampbuster program of 1985 Farm Bill

Conservation Council for Hawaii v. National Marine Fisheries Service

ELR 20065
13-00684 & 14-00153 (D. Haw., March 2015)

A district court held that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the ESA, and NEPA when it authorized the U.S. Navy to take large numbers of marine mammals, some of which are endangered or threatened, incidental to training and testing...

Jeopardize species/habitat, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Marine mammals

Beardslee v. Inflection Energy, LLC

ELR 20060
44 (N.Y., March 2015)

New York's highest court refused to extend hydraulic fracturing leases entered into between energy companies and landowners. The leases contained a "force majeure" clause, excusing the parties from nonperformance due to events outside their control, as well as "habendum clauses," establishing...

Hydraulic Fracturing

Murray Energy Corp. v. McCarthy

ELR 20067
5:14-CV-39 (N.D. W. Va., March 2015)

A district court held that coal companies have standing in their CAA lawsuit against EPA for failing to evaluate the potential for job losses stemming from the Agency's CAA regulation and enforcement efforts. The coal companies alleged that EPA's actions have had a coercive effect on the power...

Clean Air Act (CAA)

St. Marys Cement Inc. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

ELR 20059
13-3105, 14-3479 (6th Cir., March 2015)

The Sixth Circuit denied a cement company's petition to vacate an EPA rule requiring it to add more stringent air pollution controls at one of its portland-cement plants. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment had previously deemed the plant's pollution controls sufficient...

Clean Air Act (CAA)

Town of Westport v. Monsanto Co.

ELR 20061
14-12041 (D. Mass., March 2015)

A district court dismissed a town's Massachusetts Oil and Hazardous Material Release Prevention and Response Act claim against the corporate spinoffs of Old Monsanto, the sole manufacturer of PCBs in the United States between 1935 and 1979. After discovering PCBs in some of the area schools, the...

Hazardous, Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), State Oil and Hazardous Material Release Prevention Act

Consolidated Coal Co. v. Georgia Power Co.

ELR 20064
13-1603 et al. (4th Cir., March 2015)

The Fourth Circuit held that a public utility that sold used PCB-containing electrical transformers in the 1980s to a company for reconditioning and resale should not be held liable under CERCLA as an arranger. EPA added the site to the NPL in the mid-2000s, and the current owners of the site...


Northern States Power Co. v. City of Ashland

ELR 20063
12-cv-602 (W.D. Wis., March 2015)

A district court held that a power company may seek contribution for some of the cleanup costs it incurred at a site adjacent to Lake Superior in Ashland, Wisconsin. The company's CERCLA §113 contribution claims stemming from a 2003 consent decree, and all its §107 cost recovery claims, are time...

Contribution, Owners and operators

Pine Creek Watershed Ass'n v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

ELR 20062
14-1478 (E.D. Pa., March 2015)

A district court held that EPA does not have a mandatory duty to review an amendment to the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act under the CWA. The amendment allows the use of certain on-lot sewage systems to satisfy the state's antidegradation requirements. An environmental group claimed the...

Review and revision, §303(c)