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Weekly Cases Update Volume 50, Issue 27

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. American Thermoplastics Corp.

50 ELR 20210
18-2865 and 19-2243 (3d Cir., September 2020)

The Third Circuit held that a PRP's settlement with New Jersey resolving its state-law liability in connection with contamination at a municipal landfill did not protect the party from lawsuits seeking contribution toward expenditures made by EPA on the same site. The district court had...

Claims not barred

Nanouk v. United States

50 ELR 20208
19-35116 (9th Cir., September 2020)

The Ninth Circuit vacated dismissal of a Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) lawsuit brought against the U.S. government concerning pollution from an abandoned military facility in Alaska. A resident argued that her property was contaminated by hazardous chemicals negligently released from the...

Discretionary function exception

New York v. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

50 ELR 20207
19-2395-ag (L) and 19-2508-ag (CON) (2d Cir., August 2020)

The Second Circuit vacated a final rule published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that reversed the agency's 2016 civil penalty increase for noncompliance with Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. States and environmental groups argued NHTSA erroneously...

Civil penalties

Weymouth, Town of v. Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

50 ELR 20213
19-1794 (1st Cir., August 2020)

The First Circuit amended a previous ruling vacating an air permit issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) for a proposed natural gas compressor station that is part of a pipeline connecting the northeastern United States and Canada. The court had found that...

Air (generally)

Sierra Club v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

50 ELR 20209
1:20-CV-460-RP (W.D. Tex., August 2020)

A district court denied a motion to preliminarily enjoin further construction of a 429-mile natural gas pipeline in Texas. An environmental group sought to halt work on the pipeline at 129 water crossings, arguing the Army Corps of Engineers authorized construction at those crossings in...

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

Protecting Our Waters and Environmental Resources v. Stanislaus, County of

50 ELR 20212
S251709 (Cal., August 2020)

The California Supreme Court held that a county's policy of approving permits for new water wells without environmental review violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Conservation groups argued that issuances of the permits were discretionary, not ministerial, projects and thus...

Environmental Assessment/Impact Statement

White Plains Housing Authority v. BP Products North America Inc.

50 ELR 20211
17-cv-6250 (NSR) (S.D.N.Y., August 2020)

A district court held that an oil company was liable for a plume of gasoline beneath a former gasoline station that was migrating toward nearby housing units in White Plains, New York. A housing authority brought claims under RCRA, arguing its property was contaminated by discharges of gasoline...

Imminent and substantial endangerment, §7002(a)(1)(B)