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Power Authority of New York v. Bouchard

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20185
Nos. 19-1140-cv, (2d Cir., 07/30/2020)

The Second Circuit vacated and remanded a lower court ruling in a lawsuit concerning the discharge of thousands of gallons of oil from a submarine cable into Long Island Sound. A state public power utility company sought to recover costs for containing and remediating the discharge pursuant to the OPA, arguing that a barge caused the discharge by rupturing the cable when it dropped anchor. The lower court concluded that the cable was not a "facility" as defined by the OPA because it was not "used for" one of the statutory definition's enumerated purposes, and granted summary judgment to the barge owners. On appeal, the court found that the cable system was used for at least one of the enumerated purposes—"transferring" dialectric fluid—and thus that the lower court erred in concluding the system was not a facility on that basis. It therefore vacated the lower court ruling and remanded for further proceedings.