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Yankee Gas Servs. Co. v. UGI Utils., Inc.

ELR Citation: 39 ELR 20116
Nos. No. 06-01369, (D. Conn., 05/22/2009)

A district court held that a utility company is not liable under CERCLA for the cost of cleaning up pollution at nine manufactured gas plants (MGPs) in Connecticut owned by its former subsidiary. The former subsidiary sought to impose liability on the utility for pollution that occurred at the plants between 1884 and 1941. But the subsidiary failed to prove that the utility operated the MGPs or that it was involved in some sort of joint venture with the subsidiary. The utility was a vigilant parent that conducted detailed—yet not eccentric—oversight of the operations in Connecticut. And while it is true that, consistent with its status as a corporate parent, the utility provided assistance when requested and carefully oversaw the subsidiary's operations, that assistance and oversight is a far cry from managing, directing, or operating the facilities in the stead of the subsidiary or in some sort of joint venture with it. Hence, the MGPs in question were operated by the subsidiary and its employees. The court also found, in the alternative, that the subsidiary's cost recovery actions are time barred with respect to two of the sites.